courtesy Gregg Deal

The Last American Indian on Earth: Public Displays of Nativeness


There's an Indian on the loose in Washington, DC -- and he just might be the Last American Indian on Earth.

Artist Gregg Deal of Modern Bird Studios (see our previous story on him here) has taken his creativity into the genre of performance art, and his project The Last American Indian on Earth is gaining attention. The concept is simple: Deal, who is of the Pyramid Lake Paiute, walks around in public wearing a feather headdress and buckskin. Some of Deal's actions are mundane: He eats in a diner, visits Starbucks, checks his text messages, or peruses produce in a grocery store. Other times he is more provocative, holding signs that refer to "white guilt" or Johnny "Tonto" Depp. Like all good performance art, it's not just about what Deal is doing -- it's also about the reactions he's provoking. And there have been a variety of those, everything from children's wonderment to bigoted taunting from adults. In addition to the photos Deal is posting to his blog,, and his Instagram page, he is shooting short video clips (posted to Vimeo) that look like this:

Deal hopes to gather enough compelling footage for a film to be submitted to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. In the meantime, he'll be posting many more pictures (like the below) of his alter ego's adventures in the public square. The Last American Indian on Earth has already caught the eye of the Huffington Post.

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chahta ohoyo's picture
chahta ohoyo
Submitted by chahta ohoyo on
NOT funny...dont know where you're coming from with this, but wish you would cut your losses and go back...

wayneclark's picture
Submitted by wayneclark on
I thought I was finally getting a handle on the headdress thing. Why is it ok if he wears one? He's native, but not (so far as I know) a chief or someone who has "earned" a headdress. This is very confusing to white people trying to understand! Any help out there?

Opichi's picture
Submitted by Opichi on
"Performance art" has always been a powerful way to communicate. This particular performance takes a lot of wit and courage. I hope it makes it to film.