The quiz craze has caught social media by storm with quizzes like “What State Should You Live In?” and “What’s Your Mental Age?”
But lately, quizzes themed around this country’s first peoples have started popping up. These quizzes have no basis in reality, and add to the many misconceptions about Native Americans that mainstream America already has. Here are five we found:
What Is Your Native American Name?
This quiz from Playbuzz.com has quiz takers answer basic questions, like are you a girl or a boy? And what would you do if you saw a fight happening? It comes complete with racist and stereotypical caricatures and images of Native Americans.
Apparently, a quiz taker who enjoys hiking, is a leader and would try to resolve conflicts, their name would be “Takoda,” which according to Playbuzz translates to “friend to everyone.”
A post to BabyCenter.com says “Takoda” is a Lakota Sioux name, but is it really? Native-Languages.org points out that names that are touted as Native American rarely are, and almost never have the meaning websites say.
“I found that there are dozens of ‘American Indian baby name list’ sites on the Internet repeating the same list of 50-70 supposedly Native American girls and boys names... of which very few are genuine,” says the Native-Languages site. “No, Chenoa does not mean ‘white dove’ in Cherokee, and Aiyana does not mean ‘blossom’ or ‘eternal bloom.’ Kaya does not mean ‘little sister’ in Hopi. Nadie does not mean ‘wise’ in Algonquin. These and many other translations are flatly false and we have no idea where they came from.”
What Native American Animal Are You?
This quiz from AlltheTests.com aims to determine which Native animal you are. One of the questions asks quiz taker’s favorite aspect of the sky: the moon, the sun, the stars, or the clouds. It also asks quiz takers to choose a sound between crickets, falling pebbles, rumble of thunder, whisper of trees, or howling wind. And according to this quiz, what you notice first about the opposite sex has some bearing on which animal you’ll get.
The quiz is even full of romanticized images, like the one below. Quiz results can include the bear, eagle, deer, stallion, and wolf.
A screen grab of one of the questions from AlltheTests.com
What Totem Animal Are You?
Another similar quiz to the animal one above, this one, also from AlltheTests.com aims to determine what totem animal quiz takers are. Apparently the quiz makers can determine this by knowing things like favorite season and subject in school, and even political views. Even the introduction to the quiz asks “Do you have Native American roots? Take this quiz to find your Native American totem animal!” The animal totem results can be an eagle, wolf, bear or deer.
What Native American Tribe Are You?
No need to research that ancestry, just take this quiz from ProProfs.com. Okay, that’s not true at all, but this quiz says it will determine which tribe quiz takers are best suited to be in. And it can do so in seven questions, one of which is “How should a tribe be governed?”
The most worrisome thing about this quiz is its assertion that Caribs were cannibals and the Blackfoot are “bloodthirsty.” Assertions that the Caribs were cannibals were a form of imperial propaganda and taken as fact without question.
“Such accusations were made against many independent Amerindian groups, at least until their conquest had been achieved,” says Neil L. Whitehead in his article Carib Cannibalism. The Historical Evidence. “Similarly many such accusations must be judged as simply self-serving since the legal position of any Amerindians considered to be cannibals was such that they were liable to arbitrary enslavement.”
One of the answers to “What is the most effective way to get food?” is actually “eat dried limbs of enemies.” And as an option for “The white men arrive. What do you do?” quiz takers can choose to “use them as a source of ritual cannabalism,” “go talk to Geronimo,” “they’ve brought a horse, let’s see if they’ll have a bargain,” or “either fight, or migrate.”
This is the main image from the What Native American Tribe Are You? quiz on ProProfs.com.
What’s Your Hawaiian Name?
Similar to the Native American name quiz, the names offered at Survley.com are not in fact Native Hawaiian names. It asks quiz takers if they’ve “ever wanted an exotic Polynesian name?” And asks simple personality questions like “Are you an optimist, pessimist or a realist?” and “Are you relaxed and easy going?” to determine the quiz takers Native Hawaiian name.
Quizzes such as these propagate a negative and stereotypical view of Native Americans, and makes it easier for mainstream America to avoid learning anything true about Indian country.
Commenters on the Native Hawaiian name quiz are fed up. Hazel Kupihea-Lotu said: “I thought ‘Hanohano’ meant noble an[d] ‘Nalani’ meant the heaven, stop giving the wrong meanings to such beautiful names. Take this crap off or do it properly, with the correct meanings. We here in Hawaii take our culture very, very seriously. So give us some respect!!”
Another commenter, Pauline Pilialoha Yap is mad about the appropriation: “What a bunch of BS. I hate it when haole misappropriate our language and culture and worse—they make it all up. Nalani means ‘serenity of the skies,’ Akela means, ‘noble, strength, refinement, sophistication,’ Keani means ‘waves and breezes,’ Kamea means, ‘precious one.’ WTF?!! You can make up names and meanings all you want, but don’t claim that it’s Hawaiian.”
Here’s to people appreciating Hawaii for it’s beauty and not misappropriating Native culture or making up fake Native Hawaiian names. This is a view of the N? Pali coast as seen from Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauai.