Famous Native American Celebrities You Wouldn’t Have Guessed – PowWows.com

Famous Native American Celebrities You Wouldn’t Have Guessed – PowWows.com

Posted By PowWows.com October 1st, 2018 Last Updated on: May 18th, 2020


Native American culture and heritage lines spectrums from valleys to dense cities, and is prevalent in all walks of life—many musicians, CEO’s, and actors all have ties to the nation’s first people, and it’s not uncommon for some to find out their extraordinary lineage later in life.

Over 5 million people across the United States are of Native American descent, and many celebrities come from lines of deep Native American ancestry—and are especially proud of their heritage.

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Here are 8 stars you wouldn’t have thought harbored even a trace of Native American pedigree.

Jimi Hendrix

Rock n’ roll musician Jimi Hendrix had a swath of genealogical diversity—from slaves to slave owners—which included being a quarter Cherokee via his grandmother, Zenora “Nora” Rose Moore.

Carrie Underwood

Underwood, a Grammy winner and America’s darling, is listed as Creek Indian at the Five Civilized Tribe Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Underwood was an active participant in Native American groups in college.

Billy Bob Thornton

Mr. Thornton, who grew up in the backcountry of Arkansas with no running water or electricity, happens to be one quarter Choctaw Indian via his mother’s side, along with English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.

Benjamin Bratt

Born in Peru, Benjamin’s mother Eldy is a member of the Quechua, an ethnic group indigenous to South America. Eldy participated in Native American activism, including the groundbreaking takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969.

Elvis Presley

Even though the singer is 1/32nd Native American, a full-blooded great-great-great grandmother named Morning White Dove links Elvis to the Cherokee tribe. Morning White Dove married an American settler in Tennessee in 1818.

Jessica Alba

The famed actress found out when interviewing on Lopez Tonight that she is 13% Native American via her mother’s Quebecois ancestry—a lesser number than she had originally anticipated.

Kristen Chenoweth

The Tony Award-winning actress was adopted and grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and is one-quarter Cherokee by her biological parents.

Anthony Kiedis

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer’s grandmother was part Mohican, and he honors his heritage with many of his tattoos pointing to his Native American ancestry, including a large Haida Thunderbird along his back.

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21 thoughts on “Famous Native American Celebrities You Wouldn’t Have Guessed – PowWows.com

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  2. For so long, mainstream America didn’t allow “black” people to acknowledge their Native American heritage. The U.S. census listed a lot of Native Americans as “white”, “black”, or “mulatto”. Native Americans pretty much lost their tribal identity when they left & stayed off the reservation. If they married a “black” person, the U.S. government & pretty much mainstream America said that they can’t be “Indian”, only “black” or “negro”. So there are a lot of people who are part Native American & can’t find out the tribe unless one of their elders told them before they died. I imagine there were a lot of people passing for all “white” who were part Native American, but wanted to live freely in mainstream America. A lot of our past is undocumented or purposely documented incorrectly. Just check the older U.S. census rules. This was done in some cases to steal land.

  3. Valerie J. Phillips says:

    Benjamin Bratt is obviously Native American and identifies as such. It is very odd that you include him in this group of people. His mother was an Aymara Indian and an activist in California.

  4. Garlynne says:

    The only people here with a significant percentage of Native DNA are Lou Diamond Phillips and Jessica Alba. Elvis was only 1/32 Native. I am certain the remaining 5 have none or less than 1/32. These claims of being part Native American is a big scam and lie people are claiming. Elizabeth Warren is among the thousands making these false claims. They don’t have the facial bone structure, skin tone or hair color to support it from the physical standpoint.

    • Christie Lundblade says:

      Look if they want too believe and can actually prove Indian descent then who are you to judge?

    • David Rosoff says:

      1. If you’d bothered to read the article (plus the comments), you’d know that most of these celebrities are 1/4 Indigenous. Carrie Underwood is both listed as Creek at an Indigenous museum, AND was active in Native American groups in college.
      2. Indigenous people come in all colors, shapes, & sizes. Between the kidnapping & brainwashing of so many indigenous children, the coercion of so many indigenous individuals & families to abandon indigenous life & move to cities (to then be abandoned & left to become impoverished), & just natural intermingling of peoples over hundreds of years, not all indigenous people fit your racist stereotype of what a Native American should look like.
      3. It is up to each nation (not you) to decide how much indigenous blood makes one a member of that nation.
      4. Elizabeth Warren DOES have a distant indigenous ancestor, just as her family lore said, & a DNA test proved. She doesn’t claim membership in any particular nation, which, without that nation’s approval, would be fraudulent.
      Maybe, if you actually took the time to learn something, you’d stop spouting false, racist garbage.

  5. David B says:

    Email code 7787, 23 May duplicate of a code previously used on the site.

  6. Deborah Collier says:

    The code here is from last year’s blanket. Does not accept it for this year’s blanket. The post was sent to me on May 17, 2020

    • If you have a problem please email us.

      The codes do work, check your entries and make sure you don’t already have credit for it.

  7. Kathy James says:

    Cher was born Cherilyn Sarkisian in El Centro, California, on May 20, 1946. Her father, John Sarkisian, was an Armenian-American truck driver with drug and gambling problems; her mother, Georgia Holt (born Jackie Jean Crouch), was an occasional model and bit-part actress who was Irish, English, German, and Cherokee ancestry

  8. There are so many who had tribal ancestors in their lineage. Roy Rogers, Kay Starr and Dennis Weaver had two tribes in their ancestry. John Phillips, (Mamas and the Papas) had a full-blooded Cherokee grandmother. Della Reese had a full-blooded Cherokee mother.
    Athletes of Native American ancestry would include some in baseball; football; hockey; gold; track and field, for a few. They were in dance, particularly the 5 ballerinas from Oklahoma, who were prominent in the ’40s and ’50s. Modern male ballet dancer, but recently retired, a Mr. Soto of Navajo/Puerto Rican background, who wrote an autobiography. These are a few.

      • Adalberto Massa says:

        I thought Benjamin Bratt was also part Puerto Rican, giving him Taino ancestors as well. Am i mistaken?

    • Everett Sena says:

      Thank You for your E-Mails. I’m so happy to reply to my Native brother & sisters . We must support each other& love one another. Peace with you one & all.

  9. Jai Kiera says:

    Alba is actually 1/4 native american. It was on finding your roots. She looks exactly like her grandmother who was half native american. Both gorgeous.

    • Joy Harmon says:

      The father on the Cosby show was Native as well, Earle Hyman and Stedman Graham is too.

  10. Yvonne D. Simmons says:

    I am seeking to find out the name of my great grandmother’s native American mother, who returned to the Cherokee Nation in the 1830s. There is a lot of information about our ancestors birth and ethnicity that is undocumented.

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