How Anthony Kiedis embodies the Modern Native American (2022)

Our ethnic identity is merely a reflection of our spirituality and our environment rather than a race category in the Census. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were a revolutionary punk band that combined rap, funk, rock, and an all around unique sound that made their listeners groove at shows or introspect on our excessive lives of sin during a long scenic route to Los Vegas. I want to focus on Anthony Kiedis and how he came to identify himself as Native American and why he chose to physically present himself as a stereo-typical tribal tattooed long haired “Indian.”

An important factor to remember about the era of The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s rise to fame was that it was during the time of generation X. Generation X was characterized as an individualistic, nonconformist, and uniqueness time for the younger crowd in nearly every cultural and lifestyle aspect. Cynthia L. Landrum posits that Anthony Kiedis helped revolutionize the way modern young Native Americans are viewed in society. Most Native Americans were still viewed in colonialist stereotypes. The prejudiced image of Native Americans were much like the Chinese vaudevillians in the sense that they were viewed as proverb quoting tipi dwelling folk whom will never assimilate into modern society. Most Native Americans get type casted into these roles in films in Hollywood today. Twilight is a perfect example.

“It is important that Native Americans get a chance to get their voices heard, because American Indians (as well as other people of color) have historically had their images distorted by those who oppressed them. As a result, so much of what is distributed about them is misinformed or distorted. So Native people owe it to themselves and their posterity to reclaim their images, stories, and perspectives (Landrum, 2012).”

My song and video of choice is Under the Bridge, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song consists of lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, now deceased guitarist, John Frusicante, bassist, Michael Peter Balzary (flea), and drummer, Chad Smith. The song is written 4/4 time in key of A major and shifts to E major after the introduction. The intro opens with a soft melancholic melody of Anthony Kiedis’ vocals and the electric guitar. The drums tune in with a soft ticking as the bass joins in as well. Kiedis continues on his vocal narration of loneliness in the “City of Angels.” The chorus is a rough harsh drop in with a high pitched funky chords on the guitar and bass which are both accompanied by Kiedis’ rough vocals: “And I don’t ever wanna feel like I did that day. Take me to the place I loooove. Take me all the way.” The chorus and versus carry on this way until the ominous chorus comes in and Kiedis sings along about his demise, Chorus: “under the bridge downtown” Anthony Kiedis: “I gave my life awayyyy.” One would infer a sad life and death of a heroin addict if the song were to be listened to independent of the music video.

The music video for Under the Bridge opens up with guitarist John Frusciante placed in front of a superimposed back drop of a desert and a sea of clouds. Frusicante is playing the guitar and wearing a chullo with wolves on it. The end of the video shows the detonation of the atomic bomb and Kiedis running from the superimposed video. One can only infer that the desert is a reference to the testing of the atomic bomb.

The video continues with Kiedis walking through the streets of either downtown Los Angeles or west Los Angeles greeting the marketers as he walks along. The camera follows Kiedis along the street and flashes indigenous faces of all of the people working in that particular area. The video ends with Kiedis running during the most ominous climax of the song. This combination of the ominous choir and Kiedis running for his life is defined as “parallelism,” by Keith Negus in his book, Poplular Music in Theory. Parallelism is used throughout the music video for Under the Bridge through Kiedis’ animation and in synchronicity with the music (Negus, 1997, 8).

Anthony Kiedis' running state is a reference to the film, The Last of the Mohicans and the dying of an American indigenous race. The atomic bomb is a reference to the massive genocide of Japanese people during WWII. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are subtly stating that people are merely trying to survive American genocide. This message collected with indigenous faces of a rougher part of Los Angeles is holding up a mirror to our society of a demographic that goes totally unrecognized in our media and in our Hollywood "American Image." Kiedis receives a lot of scrutiny and criticism due to his small percentage of Mohican blood. Low Times Columnist, Maggie Serota wrote a response to Kiedis’ autobiography, Scar Tissue:

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When he talks about his parents and their ethnic backgrounds (Lithuanian, Dutch, English, French…white, basically) he mentions how he recently discovered that he has “some Mohican blood.” This is his convenient excuse for his tacky detoxifications of Native American culture through corny tattoos and he even admits that this must explain his fascination with “Mother Earth.” It wouldn’t be surprising to find out he’s about as Mohican as Daniel Day-Lewis (Serota)."

Serota’s criticism of Kiedis isn’t completely unwarranted when one considers the fact that Kiedis’ back tattoo is of a Haidi Thunderbird, and the cover of Road Trippin Through Time is modeled from the Haidi sun. Neither of these symbols are Mohican in the slightest. It is, however, unjust to chastise Kiedis due to his personal choices during his spiritual journey to his Native American roots. Kiedis is an outlier case for the native American identity because he didn't really grow up on a reservation nor did he grow up around other native Americans. Kiedis grew up without a real culture outside of witnessing his father’s drug dealing and drug use. Perhaps his sudden cultural awakening was the only ethnic experience he could have given himself? This phenomenon isn't really discussed much amongst race and identity issues especially in academic discourse.

Children that have no real role models let alone a cultural upbringing can choose to find their heritage as adults later in life. There is no time limit to these types of matters. Adopted children or foster children probably encounter the same dynamic. Adopted children and foster children can choose

to adopt the culture that they were raised in, or they can make the choice to get in touch with the culture that is typical for their ethnicity. Many factors play a role into this: friends, classmates, personal

experiences, etc. This is in fact what determines your identity: where your spirituality and culture lies. The same can be argued for African Americans that don’t belong to a specific tribe, but find their identity in the Zulu nation. We live in such a mobilized and globalized society that issues of race

and culture will occur more often in the future than in the past when were all segregated in terms of our language, tribes, or national/cultural identities.

Native American identity is a delicate debate. Studies have been conducted to determine how and why biracial Native Americans choose to identify themselves as Native American. A study was conducted in Southern, Northern, and Central California in both rural and urban areas in 2008 to determine whether participating in Native American cultural rituals helps promote a sense of Native American identity. “California has the highest population of American Indians in the United States according to the 2010 U.S. Census (720,904) which is approximately 2% of the population (Scweigman 2013, 1).” Of the 945 Native Americans adolescents (416 male, 529 female) that were given the survey, those who participated in pow-wows, sweat lodge, drum group and roundhouse dance reported significantly higher Native American identity than those that did not take part in cultural rituals. These results only applied to urban youth. The results were not significantly different for reservation youth. A disparity is seen between reservation youth and urban youth due to the fact that reservation youth are surrounded by other Native Americans and Native American culture constantly, whereas city kids are not. The disparity in reports amongst urban kids that do attend cultural activities suggests that Native American identity is determined by exposure to cultural rituals, or it is perhaps determined by spiritual encounters during cultural rituals.

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Kiedis feels passionate anger for Native American underrepresentation throughout American history and demonstrates his anger in The Red Hot Chili Peppers, American Ghost Dance:

Oh give me a home

Where the buffalo roam

And the death of a race is a game

Where seldom is heard

A peaceable word

From the white trash

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Who killed as they came

Though these words dig deep

They offer no relief

God save the queen

I am an Indian chief

Although Kiedis has no record of having ever participated in Ghost Dance, he obviously

felt strongly enough to write strong lyrics about it. Kiedis brings to light many dark oppressive times for Native Americans that have been overlooked or rewritten in high school history classes. Kiedis describes the inception of the Ghost Dance when a prophet named, Jack Wilson, also known as, Wovoka, had a vision during a solar eclipse. Wovoka was a medicine man, had frequent visions, and was apparently excellent at rain dancing. Because of this many people followed his new transcendental rain dance. Wovoka’s vision consisted of God telling him that mankind must love one another, end all war, and that they must live in peace with white people. People should also stop stealing and stop

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any form of self mutilation practices. If God's warning is heeded, then all mankind will be reunited with their loved ones in the afterlife. Self mutilation practices were common practices in mourning the dead.

The American government viewed the Ghost Dance as a threat of rebellion and attempted to ban Ghost Dancing. When the Natives refused Sitting Bull was then arrested, confrontation broke out, and casualties occurred to both parties. This is an unforturnate event that is kept secretive in American History. Not only did the American government infringe on freedom to congregate and freedom of religious practices, but they continued this oppression with the massacre on Wounded Knee.

Unfortunately these events didn’t cause a change in prejudices towards Native Americans. We have never lost the deeply engrained belief that Native Americans are "others," or foreigners in their own land. We mockingly put them in media roles as feather toting savages.

Race is determined by our biological composition. Its the DNA code that has been passed down to

us from our parents and ancestors. Culture is the realm of social norms, language, beliefs, spirituality, food, and lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to and occasionally indoctrinated into.

We live in such a mobilized and globalized society that issues of race

and culture will occur more often in the future than in past times

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when were all completely isolated in terms of

our language and cultural identities.

Cultural identity is mostly a personal and spiritual decision. Debates on ethnic legitimacy are obsolete arguments because race is ultimately a social construct because no individual is 100% one race.


Does Anthony Kiedis have Native American heritage? ›

Anthony Kiedis

The lead singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers is said to be of Mohican ancestry on his mother's side.

Who is the most famous Native American today? ›

Here's a list of the most famous Native American actors:
  • Victor Aaron – Yaqui.
  • Chief John Big Tree – Seneca.
  • Benjamin Bratt – Peruvian Quechua Indian.
  • Adam Beach – Anishinaabe.
  • Gil Birmingham – Comanche.
  • Toklas Black Elk – Oglala, Lakota Sioux.
  • Moses Brings Plenty – Oglala Lakota.
  • Tonantzin Carmelo – Tongva.
Nov 25, 2021

What nationality is Kiedis? ›

Anthony Kiedis (/ˈkiːdɪs/ KEE-dis; born November 1, 1962) is an American singer and songwriter.

Why do Native Americans have long hair? ›

For Native Americans, long hair equates to POWER, VIRILITY, and PHYSICAL STRENGTH. Beliefs and customs do differ widely between tribes, however, as a general rule, both men and women are encouraged to wear their hair long. Long hair ties the people to Mother Earth, reflecting Her long grasses.

What is the richest tribe in the United States? ›

Shakopee Mdewakanton – Annual Revenue of $1 Billion

The Shakopee Mdewakanton are the wealthiest Native American tribe, going by the individual personal wealth. They are 480 members, and each member gets around $84,000 per month, as disclosed by a tribe member going through a divorce.

What was the most peaceful Native American tribe? ›

Prior to European settlement of the Americas, Cherokees were the largest Native American tribe in North America. They became known as one of the so-called "Five Civilized Tribes," thanks to their relatively peaceful interactions with early European settlers and their willingness to adapt to Anglo-American customs.

Who was the most vicious Native American tribe? ›

The Comanches, known as the "Lords of the Plains", were regarded as perhaps the most dangerous Indians Tribes in the frontier era.

What is the oldest Native American tribe? ›

The Hopi Indians are the oldest Native American tribe in the World.

What is a good Native American name for a boy? ›

Popular Baby Names, origin Native-American
Adrielbeaver, symbol of skillMale
AhanuHe laughs (Algonquin).Male
AhigaHe fights (Navajo).Male
63 more rows

What was the last Native American tribe to surrender? ›

This Date in Native History: On September 4, 1886, the great Apache warrior Geronimo surrendered in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, after fighting for his homeland for almost 30 years. He was the last American Indian warrior to formally surrender to the United States.

What kind of Native is Anthony Kiedis? ›

Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis is Mohican by way of his grandmother. You would be forgiven for thinking that he's actually Haida, as he has a large back tattoo of a Haida thunderbird.

Is Anthony Kiedis vegan? ›

It's official—pop princess Leona Lewis and red hot chili pepper Anthony Kiedis are the sexiest vegetarian celebrities alive! Kiedis recently went vegan after learning about the worldwide depletion of fish in the oceans and after a doctor recommended a healthy vegan diet for his son.

What is Anthony Kiedis tattoo? ›

Inca Aztec Falcon Tattoo

Anthony Kiedis's famous Inca Aztec falcon stretches across his entire back. There are other reports that claim it is a Haida thunder bird.

What are half Native Americans called? ›

Half-breed is a term, now considered offensive, used to describe anyone who is of mixed race; although, in the United States, it usually refers to people who are half Native American and half European/white.

Who was the first Native American actor? ›

On February 23, 1914, Lilian St. Cyr, performing under the name “Princess Red Wing,” became the first Native American actress to appear in a silent film. During her 15-year acting career, she performed in more than 70 films—both shorts and Hollywood features.

Why Native Americans are called Indians? ›

American Indians - Native Americans

The term "Indian," in reference to the original inhabitants of the American continent, is said to derive from Christopher Columbus, a 15th century boat-person. Some say he used the term because he was convinced he had arrived in "the Indies" (Asia), his intended destination.

Why can't natives grow facial hair? ›

The Indians' lack of body hair is attributed to their Asian ancestry. What little they had, they usually plucked. Some tribes wore wispy mustaches: Navajos, Utes, Cherokees and some Northwest Coast tribes and Inuits. For other tribes, body hair held cultural meaning.

Why is Indian hair so thick? ›

Indian women do a 'champi' every week (if not more often) to make their hair grow long, thick and strong. A champi is nothing but a hot oil massage. You have to warm up the oil on the stove for a few seconds, and then massage it into the scalp with firm circular strokes, using only your fingertips (not your nails).

Is Native American hair thick? ›

More than 90% of Han Chinese, 70% of Japanese and Thai people, and 60% to 90% of Native Americans carry the “thick hair" version of the gene. Meanwhile it's almost nonexistent in people of African and European descent.

Is there a Native American billionaire? ›

With a net worth of $6.9 billion, cyber security business tycoon Jay Chaudhry is the richest of all Indian American billionaires on Forbes 2020. IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal, who topped the list of wealthiest Indian-origin Americans in 2018 and 2019, has dropped to the fifth rank on Forbes 2020.

Do natives get free money? ›

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) does not disburse cash to individuals, and contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government does not mail out basic assistance checks to people simply because they are Native American.

Can you buy land on an Indian reservation? ›

Indians can't own land, so they can't build equity. Reservation land is held “in trust” for Indians by the federal government. The goal of this policy was originally to keep Indians contained to certain lands.

What Indian tribe scalped the most? ›

Apache and Comanche Indians were both popular with scalp hunters. One bounty hunter in 1847 claimed 487 Apache scalps, according to Madley's article. John Glanton, an outlaw who made a fortune scalping Indians in Mexico, was caught turning in scalps and ran back to the U.S. before he was caught.

Who was the greatest American Indian warrior? ›

Sitting Bull is one of the most well-known American Indian chiefs for having led the most famous battle between Native and North Americans, the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.

What percentage of Native Americans were killed due to disease? ›

When the Europeans arrived, carrying germs which thrived in dense, semi-urban populations, the indigenous people of the Americas were effectively doomed. They had never experienced smallpox, measles or flu before, and the viruses tore through the continent, killing an estimated 90% of Native Americans.

Which Native American tribes were cannibals? ›

The Aztecs were notorious for ritual cannibalism (warriors would eat a strip of flesh from enemies they had slain in combat).

Why is alcohol illegal on the Navajo reservation? ›

Indian reservations were established, and U.S. military personnel were tasked with keeping peace between white settlers and Native Americans. The Native American alcohol prohibition was part of this patronizing peacekeeping effort.

Which state has most Indian tribes? ›

Though Alaska is home to nearly half of the country's 574 federally recognized tribes, the Last Frontier is home to just one reservation. Nearly one in six Alaskans is Native American, the highest proportion of any U.S. state.

What blood type are Native American? ›

All major ABO blood alleles are found in most populations worldwide, whereas the majority of Native Americans are nearly exclusively in the O group. O allele molecular characterization could aid in elucidating the possible causes of group O predominance in Native American populations.

Where does Native American DNA come from? ›

Previous genetic work had suggested the ancestors of Native Americans split from Siberians and East Asians about 25,000 years ago, perhaps when they entered the now mostly drowned landmass of Beringia, which bridged the Russian Far East and North America.

What did Native Americans call America? ›

Turtle Island is a name for Earth or North America, used by some Indigenous peoples, as well as by some Indigenous rights activists. The name is based on a common North American Indigenous creation story and is in some cultures synonymous with "North America."

What is a Native American girl called? ›

In most colonial texts squaw was used as a general word for Indigenous women.

What is the Native American name for beautiful girl? ›

Nizhoni is a Native American girl's name meaning “beautiful.”

How do you say handsome in Native American? ›

Huritt. Huritt is a Native American Algonquian boy name that means “handsome.”

What Indians never surrendered? ›

It is a land well worth visiting to learn about its people and its history, because among the 566 Native American tribes recognized by the United States government, the Seminoles claim a unique distinction: Unconquered. They never surrendered, never signed a peace treaty.

When did America stop fighting Indians? ›

For the most part, armed American Indian resistance to the U.S. government ended at the Wounded Knee Massacre December 29, 1890, and in the subsequent Drexel Mission Fight the next day.

What Indian tribe never signed a peace treaty? ›

Although Osceola died in prison in 1838, other Seminole leaders kept the battle going for a few more years. In 1842, a nominal end to the hostilities arrived, though no peace treaty was ever signed.

Does Anthony Kiedis have Native American heritage? ›

Anthony Kiedis

The lead singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers is said to be of Mohican ancestry on his mother's side.

Who is the most famous Native American singer? ›

Mato Nanji and Indigenous. Jim Pepper (Kaw/Creek)(1941-1992) is one of the greatest Native American musicians who ever lived. His tenor saxophone is in a glass case at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C. He was known for fusing traditional Native American music with experimental jazz.

Are there any celebrities that are Native American? ›

More than 5 million Native Americans are celebrating this November, including such famous actors as Wes Studi, Graham Greene and Adam Beach, along with writers Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo and Sherman Alexie. While you might recognize those names, take a look at celebrities you never knew were part of a tribe.

Is Zendaya vegan? ›

Zendaya is a vegetarian and does not eat beef, chicken, or fish. Zendaya, who became conscious after the incident with her father at the age of 11, switched to a fully vegetarian diet after watching the documentary Glass Walls.

Is Leonardo DiCaprio vegan? ›

Leonardo DiCaprio's vegan investment

As a passionate environmentalist, DiCaprio uses his celebrity status to bring awareness to the negative environmental impact of animal agriculture.

Is Johnny Depp a vegetarian? ›

Johnny Depp has been a vegan for 2 YEARS NOW! One more reason to love him!

What does the RHCP asterisk mean? ›

According to Anthony Kiedis, the symbol, which was drawn by him (in 1984) on a whim when asked by early record label executives to create a band logo has no specific meaning or representation, but has been referred to as the "Star of Affinity" (stands for chaos) and "Angel's Asshole".

What does the Red Hot Chilli Peppers logo mean? ›

Label management asked the group to produce a logo, and Kiedis sketched the eight-pronged asterisk that fans associate with around the globe today. Kiedis didn't have any specific reasoning or meaning behind the asterisk at the time, but it's since gone on to be one of the most iconic band logos in music history.

How rich is Anthony Kiedis? ›

Anthony Kiedis Net Worth
Net Worth:$155 Million
Date of Birth:Nov 1, 1962 (59 years old)
Height:5 ft 8 in (1.75 m)
Profession:Songwriter, Actor, Singer-songwriter, Lyricist, Musician
1 more row

What kind of Native is Anthony Kiedis? ›

Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis is Mohican by way of his grandmother. You would be forgiven for thinking that he's actually Haida, as he has a large back tattoo of a Haida thunderbird.

What was Elvis's ethnicity? ›

Presley's father, Vernon, was of German, Scottish and English origins. Presley's mother, Gladys, was of Scots-Irish with some French Norman ancestry. His mother and the rest of the family believed that her great-great-grandmother, Morning Dove White, was Cherokee.

Are the Mohicans a real tribe? ›

The Mohican (/moʊˈhiːkənz/ or /məˈhiːkənz/, alternate spelling: Mahican) are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe that historically spoke an Algonquian language.

What ethnicity is John Frusciante? ›

They are of Italian descent. Frusciante's family moved to Tucson, Arizona, and then Florida, where his father served as a Broward County judge until October 2010. His parents separated, and he and his mother moved to Santa Monica, California.

What is the richest tribe in America? ›

1. Shakopee Mdewakanton – Annual Revenue of $1 Billion. The Shakopee Mdewakanton are the wealthiest Native American tribe, going by the individual personal wealth. They are 480 members, and each member gets around $84,000 per month, as disclosed by a tribe member going through a divorce.

Who was the greatest Indian Chief of All Time? ›

Sitting Bull is one of the most well-known American Indian chiefs for having led the most famous battle between Native and North Americans, the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.

Who is the most famous Native American singer? ›

Mato Nanji and Indigenous. Jim Pepper (Kaw/Creek)(1941-1992) is one of the greatest Native American musicians who ever lived. His tenor saxophone is in a glass case at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C. He was known for fusing traditional Native American music with experimental jazz.

How did Elvis mother get hepatitis? ›

By the beginning of 1958 she was suffering with (undiagnosed) hepatitis, brought on by alcoholism. She told her cousin she was “the most miserable woman on earth”. When Elvis was inducted into the army in March 1958, it was the beginning of the end for Gladys, especially when she learned he would be posted to Germany.

What was Elvis natural hair Colour? ›

At the base of the staircase in the entrance hall hangs a portrait of The King with his natural blonde hair. Angie shared: “Elvis was born blonde-haired, blue-eyed. He dyed his hair black as he thought it brought out his facial features better on film.

Does Mohawk mean man eater? ›

The name Mohawk comes from a name their enemies called them, meaning “man-eaters.” The term man-eaters does not really mean that they ate people. It means that they were fierce warriors. The Mohawk's name for themselves means “people of the flint.” Mohawks were members of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Are there any Mohicans still alive? ›

Today, there are about 1,500 Mohicans, with roughly half of them living on a reservation in northeastern Wisconsin. The link between the modern inhabitants of the town of Bethlehem and the descendents of its ancient people was made through physical objects.

Are Mohawk and Mohican Indians the same? ›

There is no difference between Mohawk and Mohican in the form of a hairstyle. What is Mohawk in US becomes Mohican in British English. Mohawk refers to a hairstyle that requires sides of the head to be shaved while a strip of area is left with long hair in the middle of the head.


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