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Saturday, November 19, 2022


by Ron Riekki

Sacheen Littlefeather

“Indigenous identity is complicated. 

What I do know is that the impact that Sacheen had on myself was very real” 

Devery Jacobs 


“The Sacheen Littlefeather controversy highlights a 

debate over what it means to be Native American,” CNN, November 5, 2022


“I like you the way you are” 

—Avril Lavigne, 


Sacheen Littlefeather’s sister says that Sacheen 

talked about being native in order to get fame. Yet 

her sister is having no trouble denying being native 

in order to get fame. Why wait until someone is dead 

to have the conversation about their identity?… I know 

someone who’s native. Her brother denies being 

native. & in his denial, it furthers his belief that 


he’s not native. Whereas, his sister—who is native— 

goes to native events, is deep friends with native 

people, & so she learns more & more about her

native heritage, but when she tries to explain 

those connections to her brother, he has no 

interest… If Sacheen Littlefeather’s sister 

wanted to understand her sister, then she 


would have needed to talk to her sister 

to find out what her sister knew, knows, 

will know. Native is narrative. It is 

the stories we unearth, how we grow 

by unravelling what is unknown. 

CBS News article I read on 

Sacheen Littlefeather said it 


reveals the reality of her her- 

itage, but it misspelled her 

name twice in the article, 

listing her as: Sacheen 

Littlefather & Sacheen 

Littlefield (since 

corrected), but it 


made me think 

how the cloud 

outside my 




is a 










Ron Riekki co-edited Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State University Press).