ICYMI: Marilyn Manson Claims ‘Sioux’ Ancestry in Rolling Stone Article

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown August 17th, 2015 Last Updated on: August 17th, 2015


This was all the buzz last week on social media. As we know, Hollywood does not typically have many roles for Native Americans in their films and when they do, they are unfortunately stereotypical and unflattering. So when there are actually scripts out there that call for a Native most folks would like to see an actual Native American in the part. So when it was announced by Rolling Stone last week that Marilyn Manson plays a Native American hitman in a new independent film, all hell broke loose.

As might be news to some folks (heck, even his die-hard fans), Marilyn Manson claims to have Native ancestry.

Aside from taking delight in horrific surroundings, Manson also identified with another trait of his character: “I am part Indian,” he says. The singer adds that he did not know Pope was Native American when he took the role because the script didn't specify it.

“I really didn't have to change too much about myself physically,” he says. “I already had just shaved my hair to a Mohawk and it's black already, so without being stereotypical, that seems like the character would have that if he was part Indian. I think originally they had envisioned someone with long black hair.”

Manson's heritage is Sioux on his mother's side – “her family was from the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia” – but other than taking part in a Native American–run program akin to Boy Scouts, that side of his family was not heavy on his upbringing. “They gave me one of those wooden, carved tom-tom drums and it was bound with animal hide and it was painted,” he says of his sole memory of the experience. “I just remember I ended up stealing the drum and never going back.” He laughs.

Here's the trailer in case you're curious:

So your thoughts? Should the directors of the film have actually cast a known Native American actor in the role instead of going for celebrity “star-power”? Can you think of any Native actors you'd rather see as the hitman?

UPDATE: ICTMN spoke with John Swab, co-director and co-writer of the film:

“I was actually surprised to see the headline that said ‘Marilyn Manson to Play Native American Hit Man,’ because I didn’t relay any information to Rolling Stone, and Manson and I had never had any conversation regarding him or his character being a Native, so I don’t know who got that wrong.

“Originally when we wrote the screenplay the character was supposed to be Native. I’m from Tulsa, I have a Native background, not much, but enough to be familiar with it, so I wrote a Native character.” Swab says he is not a tribal member, but he has “some Creek heritage.”

According to the article, Wes Studi and Gary Farmer were considered for the role when it was originally written as a Native part.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » ICYMI: Marilyn Manson Claims ‘Sioux' Ancestry in Rolling Stone Article

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Dina Herrington

because you ended up on the roles and others didn’t, that makes their heritage less legitimate? You claim native experience, but drink the colonialist Kool Aide and allow them to determine who is native and who isn’t. Many eastern natives who weren’t taken on the trail of tears never bothered to get on the “white” rolls, but you want them to get a DNA test? Did our ancestors ask each other for a card or DNA test? rediculous and impossible criteria for those not raised on the reservation. And what of those natives drug off to boarding schools? do they get a pass although many of them and their children took on white and Christian values to survive.

Kruacheh Oree

As a Mayan/Cherokee elder I am always amazed at people arguing over who is really Native American according to the federal government blood slicing cards which are usually incorrect in the amount of Native blood. I think Wes Studi would be good in the role as he is a real native American/Cherokee. Still I am tired of this arguing over who is real. It is not a native way to argue endlessly. Our way is to accept others for who they are and if they want to come to our spirituality then fine. We do not judge others spirituality or try to bring them to our spirituality. We all bleed red when creator cuts us. Our Cherokee roles were taken by the Europeans no Natives and there were Cherokees on Choctaw roles and Choctaw on Cherokee roles. They changed names because they could not pronounce our Native names. They put wrong ages on the roles, wrong birth dates. Many Pure blood Cherokee never signed up on the Dawes rolls because they were killing Natives and burning their houses and taking their livestock and other items. Also many Cherokee Pure bloods were put down as half the blood they had and others pure bloods were lumped into the Freedmen because they had darker fingernails. So who is real? Are the government agents rolls correct?

Kemmeth Byrne

thank Raven i was born #Wylaki lol nobody ever claims to be Wylaki. its always Cherokee or Souix. how f..ing funny his hairstyle is Mohawk an that makes him Sioux,LMAO…N/As can not have jobs that might bring them out of poverty. under the equal opportunity law passed in the 60s that allowed Af/Ams to be on TV as news casters/talk show hosts/sports/U sould see N/As on Fox CBS news but Because the USSupremeCourt Classifies N/As as #Savage it is not necessary to hire a N/A like CBS has to have at least 1 Af/Am on the payroll. theres no such thing as #Racism against a N/A #REDSKINs because of the term #SAVAGE



pixie morrison

I think that anyone applying for roles for native American should verify with real documents that they do have native American in their history. My family also has native American heritage from my mom’s side, but that don’t give me a right to take roles,etc., from the known native Americans.

Matthew Benjamin

If he were truly native, he would not have referred to his heritage as “Sioux”. There is no such tribe.

Angie Esplana

I agree with Bruce Vaughan, (Above). My grandparents on my mom’s side were also Sioux, from the Colorado area and what’s with the haters from the Native American community when it comes to people claiming to have some Indian blood.
I came across an article a few week back where this Indian lady went off on this girl who was half & wanted to wear a feather at her graduation, she called her a half breed etc.
She was so hateful & mean it made me sick… If that’s the way they feel it’s to bad…


Hi all , I’m half Anishinabe’ from the Great Lakes. I’m documented and carry a card that I can use as a Passport in certain situations etc.. My personal impression is one must ingrain themselves into their Native community to understand and live it. Just saying you are this or that seems weak in the face of the genealogy and documentation. Most Nations in the States require you trace back to a particular Indian Census . No proof, No membership. If your ancestors did not sign into a census and cut the family line you are probably out of luck. This is my personal experience .

Chris Heintzelman

Have to laugh; Brian’s claim to Sioux heritage is uninformed. I am a third cousin of his through the Ferguson family who settled in Canton, Ohio having migrated from West Virginia. I have family photos of my father’s mother and her aunts, one of whom married into the Warner family. I’m just assuming here that most know “Marilyn Manson” is Brian Warner’s stage name. Mr. Warner was born and raised in Canton, Ohio as were all of my immediate realtives – mother, father, aunts, uncles, grandparents. My brother, sister and I were born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio so I never met Brian Warner. Oddly, though, he may actually be of Choctaw heritage. It is not uncommon to meet whites in Ohio who claim some blood ties with Cherokee, Choctaw, Shawnee(traditionally native to this region). White people making claims to red ancestry is very tricky business and it has only been through years and a little “luck” that I’ve been able to convince even myself of my father’s connection with the Choctaw people. That’s another story and I apologize that I can only allude to Mr. Manson’s possible connection with native peoples.

Senry Kiser

Well, unless he provides genealogy documentation and DNA to prove his native heritage then he probably shouldn’t be claiming it. Lots of movies are made with other than Native Americans playing those parts, but don’t go saying you are if there is no proof. Remember Rachel Dolezal and now Shaun King who “identify” as black?

cathy andersen

I would like to see maybe Chaske Spencer as a hitman, he has that bad boy look that would work for that kind of role.

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