Kaya Jones and a Pretendian ambassadorship

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Kaya Jones basically told Natives to ‘get over genocide’. In the same video, she complains about how Natives aren’t helping her in her ambassadorship, that slavery had to happen in this country and that if she were in redface, maybe Natives would accept her and then still asks Natives to contact her to help her… If you don’t want to endure the whole video, I transcribed the section about Native Americans. “Enjoy”. At the end is an open letter to Kaya Jones.

Viewer: “You are a Texan, correct?”
Kaya: Yes, my father was originally from Texas.
First of all. That doesn’t make you Texan. That’s not how this works. Texas might accept you though.

After much self promotion, let’s get to the Columbus Day point of her Periscope.

Kaya: I wanted to jump into, really quickly, a lot of people have had comments today about what I wrote about Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day – I just want to say cuz it’s actually really upsetting because I am Indigenous I’m sorry that I’m not dark enough for you [laughs] because my mother is half black and half German and so.

I thought she was black, white, Chinese and Jamaican, not necessarily black, Irish, Jewish, Spice Girl and what all. Suddenly mom is now half and half? Not what you’ve pitched us for months.

It’s also hypocritical of Kaya Jones to feel upset at all considering that when she first made her claim, Natives across social media rightfully questioned it. Rather than adhere to how Indigenous peoples identify as Native through genealogy, membership or enrollment, Kaya has solely placed her supposed Native identity on a DNA test that no tribe, including any Apache tribe, will accept as identification. When called out and questioned on that, Kaya’s primary response, to this day, is to block people.

Kaya: Literally that German gene is why I have dirty blonde hair I mean this is as light as I get I don’t know if you can see how dark my skin tone is. My skin is pretty dark. I don’t tan I mean when I do tan, I get very dark. Um. So it’s just really hurtful that people slander me–

Written is libel and only when it’s not true.

Few actually care about your skin tone. There are many white passing or white coded Indigenous peoples to nullify that (of many) victim card(s). The primary upset is the fact that Natives have pointed out for just about a year on how to identify as Native and Kaya’s sole claim is that fucking DNA test she waves as though every Native American tribe and people in the United States are wrong and she’s right.

Kaya: –and say hurtful things about my heritage cause they don’t– they shame me because I’m light skinned and uh try to discredit me when I’ve shown and proved my DNA which is more than Senator Warren has done considering she took uh a lot of money – three hundred thousand I think, what could have gone to an Indigenous boy or girl.

The supposed ‘leg up’ that Warren got was for a teaching position, not something a “boy or girl” would have qualified for in the first place. And as numerous reports have pointed out, that claim had nothing to do with her being offered a job.

Kaya: so I’ve asked her to show her DNA again and again and I’ve yet to see any.

If no tribe is accepting your Cracker Jack box DNA test, what makes makes you think they or we would for Warren?

Kaya: Um. I would love to hear more from all you Indigenous people in America that have issues that you feel are very important. [reading] you’re shameful for not knowing your history and culture[/]. Oh I know my history and culture.

Really? What Apache tribe do you supposedly belong to? You can never name it and so far, no Apache tribe claims you. It’s one of the many specific points that we have asked for about a year that you never answer.

Kaya: It’s just a shame that you guys don’t want to be inclusive in any way with this administration. I made it abundantly clear that I would speak and help in any way that I could using the platform that I’ve been given by the National Diversity Coalition for the president of the United States you guys have not wanted to have discussions with me.

Right. Because if you’re Native, you’re going to be able to prove it to other Natives. Not disregard how we identify and simply make a claim with zero respect for how we view and handle connections. You can’t expect our respect when you’ve yet to give us any in that regard. Why would we trust someone who doesn’t respect us and how we identify? Why would we trust someone who has proven she is not trustworthy?

You’ve also refused to listen to Natives who rightfully challenged your claims and block us when we do speak up. How about unblocking #NativeTwitter and then maybe some of us will talk.

If it’s your platform, why are we expected to do ALL the labor for you? You’ve done nothing in your position to outreach to tribes, establish communication or promote, beyond a random tweet or two, any Native issue.

Kaya: I’m supposed to be meeting with elders which is supposed to take place.

Right. You also said last year that you were meeting with every tribe. All 500+, or at least that’s what was implied.

Kaya: But again you know there are issues at hand that are very real and unfortunately you don’t want to send any my way [laughs] you want to make it as difficult as possible so unfortunately I can’t help in the manner I’d like to help I’d like to help more and I’d like to get the word out more.

I remember when you would RT any dissenting voice to focus attacks on Natives. Told us that we had ma*a fam coming and then you sicced them on us like your personal attack dogs; still do, in fact. You’re doing that now with this video, too. You invite that racism to us.

You are also doing jack shit about promoting or raising awareness about anything Native. Because it doesn’t fit your pro-trump rhetoric and doesn’t actually benefit you. We are just a digital costume to you.

Kaya: [reading] Abundantly clear – talking about my skin? [/] No, no I’m not just talking about my skin. I’m not just talking about my skin [sighs] but it would be nice to be able to have more discussions and to be able to hand over information to people who probably could help Indigenous people more but that would mean communicating with people that you clearly don’t like, like myself. Because of my skin or my hair or the fact that I wasn’t raised on a reservation. Doesn’t make me any less Native American.

No one trusts you because you haven’t proven your actual ancestry, not a toy box DNA test. How about listening to Natives and adhering to how we identify and stop hiding behind a fake DNA test. Show your genealogy if it isn’t the one that we’ve found of you. Share your membership. Specific culture. Enrollment, even.

Most Natives don’t live on reservations anymore either. How about learning something about us before spreading more false information.

Kaya: um. Furthermore, Columbus had to come here for us to create the country that we have. To keep harping on Columbus and [exasperated sigh?] what he did what he did….. SLAVERY had to happen. It’s a horrible thing that happened but it had to happen and we should learn from those mistakes and never allow them to happen again.

There is serious contradiction here. Calling slavery a mistake and also saying it was necessary is a bullshit argument. You’re trying to justify slavery, something that DIDN’T have to happen as something absolutely necessary, therefore, NOT a mistake. This was not an ‘oops my bad lol’ of this country’s foundation. It was calculated.

Columbus never set foot in what you lovingly call the United States. Yet you’re peddling it like he was around for Manifest Destiny, or in the time of Abraham Lincoln or Andrew Jackson or trump. You have suggested that the genocide of Native Americans and the institution of slavery were necessary. What a totally ignorant take on history.

Kaya: Um. Genocide happened in this country against Indigenous people and again learn from these mistakes so they never happen again.

Genocide wasn’t a mistake. It was a well thought out process intended on our complete annihilation. But we are still here. I’m surprised you didn’t say our genocide had to happen. Out loud.

Kaya: But living in a constant mindset of victim and um… not being present in the moment and not being forgiving with a forgiving heart is what’s keeping this country from uniting. It’s very upsetting actually ’cause it’s so unnecessary.

Victim? Says someone who has still, a year later, clung to a lie that she was at the Route 91 massacre when it happened. Plenty of people have called you out for not being there, showing where you were miles away and yet! Your followers don’t care as long as they see cleavage and guns. Which is why they also don’t care if you claim to be Native, Chinese, black or anything else. Because to them (and us) you’re still white and present as white no matter the claims you scatter at whim.

It was unnecessary to encourage hostility at Natives who called you out. That was not a mistake either. That was calculated. That is the tactic of your (white/non-Native) people.

Kaya: No matter how many tears we cry, it’s not gonna change the fact that 100 million Native Americans were slaughtered and killed during the time of this country being founded.

We don’t weep in the idea that it’ll somehow change history or change how our ancestors were brutally murdered in savage acts as well as those that were government led. If your ancestors were killed to the brink of annihilation, you might have some very strong feelings about it. But that doesn’t excuse or set aside the facts that we couldn’t practice our own religions and cultures till the 70s. Or that the last residential boarding school closed in the 90s. Or that this very government that you love so much is led by a man who thought a visual test was adequate to decide who was Native or not and, guess what, if people looked too ‘white’, trump didn’t consider them Native and Kaya, that would mean you too.

Kaya: It doesn’t mean that I don’t have regard for what happened to this country I also know that we don’t live there anymore we don’t live in that time anymore we can’t forget it we have to pass down the information for historical reasons but more than that, we can’t live in that mindset, it’s just not– it’s foolish it’s foolish to live in that mindset and in order to heal and move forward as a nation, we have to be open to discussion and more importantly, let go of the past and be cognizant to living in the present.

#KayaJoke just told us to get over it.

When the government, including this administrations, do things to threaten our sovereignty, remove protections for places like Bears Ears, and otherwise try shoving us under the carpet or bury us, it’s still a very real and ongoing struggle for us. If you knew anything about us, you’d know some of this.

Kaya: Yeah my mother is Jamaican her mother was Irish and German and her father was black, Spanish and Scottish.

That doesn’t add up to your mother being half German and black…

Kaya: and my father was Indigenous. That’s it you know I’m sorry that I don’t fit the narrative I’m sure if I dyed my hair dark dark dark and sat in the sun all day then maybe I’d be more reflective of what people would like to see as an Indigenous woman but I think I proved my DNA and uh–

Yeah, how many times do we have to repeat that no tribe accepts DNA results as a means of enrollment or membership. Seriously. It’s all in English.

Trump has said ‘they don’t look Indians to me’ and you’re here suggesting that if you were darker or had more features that might be considered Native then maybe you’d be accepted as Native, thus playing on and promoting the very stereotypical values. Dressing up in redface won’t make you any more Native, it’s only wearing us a costume.

Kaya: –that’s more than Senator Warren she hasn’t proved anything and no one is slandering her and they need to get on it already–

Are you seriously telling Indigenous people that we should be attacking Warren because you said so?

Kaya: –um anywho I do believe that we can live and co-exist with each other but we have to come with a humble heart and be more mindful to not be so hateful toward one another so those are my thoughts.

Haven’t you called Mexican kids gangsters? Didn’t you tweet a disparaging picture comparison about Maxine Waters? Tell women to stand together and make fun of others? Aren’t you obsessed with straws because you think it’s ‘owning the libs’? I could go on. You demonstrate a lot of hate and yet you preach against it.

Kaya: If you are Indigenous and you know of any issues that you think are important that this administration would like to hear about or that you think could be helpful, please email me.


Dear Kaya Jones,

Of nearly 600 federally recognized tribes, how many Apache nations accept a DNA test as valid proof of membership?

Your constant claim to nothing more than a DNA test is white privilege personified. You assert your idea of what it is to be Native with utter disregard for how WE view and accept identity. You put yourself above all of us in thinking that a DNA test “proves” your genealogy. It doesn’t. DNA isn’t genealogy. Genealogy and acceptance by your tribe and people are the standard, as is enrollment. In the last year, how many specific Apache tribes have accepted you and claimed you as a member? Spoiler alert: NONE.

How many tribes have reached out to you for exposure and assistance? Given this pathetic Periscope video, I’d wager the answer is: NONE.

Until you can identify as Native as how Natives identify as Native, or specifically, as whatever Apache tribe you make a claim to, you will never be seen as Native. Even if you were to someday smarten up and choose to connect to whatever tribe might claim you, it’s doubtful many, if any, would consider you an ally because you spent a year shitting on all of us and siccing your pack of maga family on us while screaming victim.

Pro-tip: If you claim to want to help Indigenous peoples and when no one else but self-proclaimed, and not culturally connected, Pretendians will support you, you aren’t Native.

Pro-tip#2: When, after almost a year, not a single self-respecting Native wants to work with you, it should send a clear message that you’re doing something wrong. Re-think, reflect — do better.

‘Give me your issues, your thoughts’…

Prot-tip#3: If you expect Natives to do all the labor for you and reap only social media “points”, don’t bother claiming to be Native, or suggesting that you’re an ally.

In conclusion, maybe do some actual work yourself and here’s a few things you can do to start:

Name the specific tribe to which you claim. There’s no such thing as a generic Native American tribe. There are more than one Apache tribe. Your vagueness in only claiming to be “Native American” tells actual Indigenous peoples that you aren’t. Most white people and non-Natives don’t care about that. No Apache tribe has come forth to claim you.

Stop blocking Natives. You put us all in some monolithic hive mind and don’t seem to consider that you’ve had hundreds of individuals in many different tribes, most of whom don’t even know each other, tell you and ask you the same thing over and over.

You have just claimed to know your history and culture, yet you’ve demonstrated zero of that knowledge or that you know an iota of any nation’s culture. If you were Native, you should be able to proudly name your people.

Stop playing victim. You have called your fans and followers against us and do nothing when they level racism against us. Does that behavior really seem appropriate for someone who wants to represent us? You act like you’re in junior high and incensed that you weren’t let into some afternoon club. Grow up.

Stop calling on your fans and followers to level racism at us for your actions and falsities. Correct them from using Pocahontas as a slur.

Bottom line is that all of this is up to you.


Oglala Lakota

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