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As the Fourth of July approaches, there are a number of ways Natives might see the celebration. On the plus side, a day off is a day off. But admittedly for Native people it’s hard not to feel a bit of residual animosity during the celebration of the independence of a nation that continued to threaten our already free and independent nations.

However, who doesn’t love the fireworks? It’s easy to understand the pleasure of loud booms and explosions at the end of a day filled with warm weather, ice tea and barbecues. So, alright, we know we’re going to be subjected the same thing as last year. But this time, perhaps we can consider doing some celebrating of our own in a way that befits our histories.


Here are 7 Ways Native Americans Might Celebrate the Fourth of July.

Make beaded sparkler handles

Fourth of July beaded sparkler holders

Ok this might not really work with sparklers, but who’s to say we haven’t beaded everything else?

Tell the story of how Eddie lost his eyebrows to scare kids who love fire way too much

Fourth of July, fireworks

'Just so you know, Eddie's eyebrows never grew back...'

You know what we are talking about. Much like the lie about Santa Claus leaving coal for bad kids, we also can embellish a bit to scare those kids who love fire and fireworks a bit too much. “Yeah, Eddie was playing with firecrackers exactly like you are right now. They blew up and his eyebrows burned off. They never grew back.”

Use roman candles in lieu of feathers for Native decorations

Ok, this is a Native humor article; you are supposed to laugh at the silliness of such a thing. Do NOT do this.

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If there is any sort of colonial celebration, run around the crowd in regalia screaming, “We shouldn’t have signed anything!”

Colonial fife marchers, Fourth of July celebration parade

We all know we shouldn't have signed anything presented to us by someone with a white, curly wig.

Nothing says honoring the truth of history by running around people dressed in colonial garb marching to fife and drum followed by Indians warning of the atrocities that will soon follow. This may not go over too well, but it’s worth a shot.

If there is any sort of announcer at a public event, correct him consistently with a bullhorn and scream ‘Not my forefathers!”

Fourth of July

Oh Yeah? Not MY Forefathers!

Much like the previous way to celebrate this, too, may not go over very well…especially at a large gathering. Just ask Klee Benally.

At a large picnic, keep walking up to people’s spaces and claim it as your own land

This doesn’t need explanation. When you sit in the middle of people’s stuff say, “How is THIS for independence?”

Set off the fireworks display early in the day

Fourth of July, explosion


Use the bullhorn after. Then tell everyone, “This isn’t what you expected was it?” Well for Native people, you aren’t what we expected either! Happy Independence Day!

Follow ICTMN's A&E, Sports and Pow Wow's Editor Vincent Schilling on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

This story was originally published July 1, 2016.