Skip to main content

10 Outrageous (and Mostly True) Quotes on Native Americans by Famous People

Outrageous and mostly-true thoughts on American Indians from Miles Davis, Nicolas Cage, Stephen Hawking, William S. Burroughs, John Wayne and others.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Everybody, it seems, has an opinion on American Indians, and precious few of them actually know what they're talking about. Over the years, many of those who've given the matter some thought have formulated unpopular opinions about the series of injustices and brutality that constitutes American History with respect to the Natives of Turtle Island. And when a celebrity says something, it's news.

From basic acknowledgements of fact to opinions on what ought to be done, nine of these statements have the ring of truth, even if America has turned a deaf ear. On the other hand, there are the callous sentiments of Mr. John Wayne, from a 1971 Playboy interview.

10 Outrageous (and Mostly True) Quotes on Native Americans by Famous People

"The white people should go back to Europe, and the country should be returned to the American Indians. This is the future I would like to see for the so-called United States."

—Bobby Fischer

"It’s like, how did Columbus discover America when the Indians were already here? What kind of shit is that, but white people’s shit?"

—Miles Davis

"The American Indians were Communists. They were. Every anthropologist will tell you they were Communists. No rich, no poor. If somebody needed something the community chipped in."

—Pete Seeger

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from [Indians]. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."

—John Wayne

Scroll to Continue

Read More

"The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits."

—William S. Burroughs

"We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn't think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre."

—Dick Gregory

"So the American government lied to the Native Americans for many, many years, and then President Clinton lied about a relationship, and everyone was surprised! A little naïve, I feel!"

—Eddie Izzard

"I always see America as really belonging to the Native Americans. Even though I'm American, I still feel like a visitor in my own country."

—Nicolas Cage

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans."

—Stephen Hawking

"We owe an historic debt to American Indians. They have a unique set of concerns that haven't been addressed, and I'd like to stand with them. Also, I'd like to get their views on immigration."

—Al Franken