Lakotaman1 – Fake Native or Fake Lakota

It’s not just a catchy title.

Disclaimer: I have pages upon pages of problematic tweets and reduced them down to what is included. Should the need arise, I will add another article with more of John Martin’s tweets.

For years, John Martin, aka Lakotaman1, has tweeted some very interesting takes when it comes to Lakota or any Native culture. The content is often based in ignorance, fetishizes Lakota and other tribes, he presents himself as some mystic or shaman while denying that he’s done so, and promotes a view of Indigenous cultures through a white lens of history. He is keen to extol our people as ‘brave warriors’ often, citing military photos as well as historic photos of our ancestors, while ignoring (or just not knowing) that we encompass so much more than that. This promotes the ‘merciless Indian savage’ viewpoint on us. It also pushes the idea of a savage people in historic context while ignoring the many reasons why there were conflicts between our people and the settlers in the first place. That’s only the beginning.

Let’s break this down into a few sections. I’d recommend screenshots as John often deletes problematic tweets. It helps avoid accountability where those of us calling him out can’t directly link to evidence. Even if he were to delete, the links showing they existed today will still be there to view.

  • Is John Martin/Lakotaman1 actually a Lakota? What’s his family?
  • What is with the obsession with presenting Lakota as violent and/or savage?
  • Clout chasing disguised as education
  • The Sitting Bull conundrum
  • Blocking when called out
  • Digital Scout

Is John Martin/Lakotaman1 actually a Lakota? What is his family?

For some time, John Martin had ‘Ista Ska/White Eyes’ in his Twitter bio. Sometime in 2018, I came across his profile and added him since I’m Lakota. It wasn’t immediate, yet there came a time where his style of tweets felt off and he seemed to play more for likes than educating. It was uncomfortable enough that I eventually blocked him as he didn’t seem to have a grasp of Lakota culture, but I didn’t have enough evidence to consider him a fake Native.

Fast forward to earlier this year when John’s claim to be of the White Eyes family came to a head. In short time, members of the White Eyes family in Pine Ridge called him out for claiming their family as his. His response was to ask his brother via text if they were related to the White Eyes and did proof exist. Acknowledging that he himself did not know. This was the screenshot that John Martin/Lakotaman1 shared to, and deleted from, his twitter account.

His bio now reads “enrolled in Pine Ridge” yet he’s never presented proof either by enrollment or traditional ties. This was after complaining about people using ‘colonized thinking’ when calling him out yet doesn’t understand that enrollment is a colonized construct that identifies us via terms and situations that aren’t ours. He does not identify with “his family” through traditional methods; only the white man’s way. Even then, I question why he’s making that claim given the following.

So who is his family? John Martin has active tweets that claim that his father is Melvin White Eyes. In more recent tweets, he calls him Melvin Martin. Why rename your own father in such a way when the tactic comes off as very deceptive. Did his father identify as Melvin White Eyes or did John rename him because “White Eyes” is more ‘impressive’ than “Martin”? Do an advanced Twitter search for the exact phrase “White Eyes” that mention Lakotaman1 and you’ll find plenty of replies to deleted tweets where people praise John’s father “Melvin White Eyes” as a veteran. There are also the following tweets. Screenshot it before it gets deleted.

I wonder if he gave his father this name “Ohiyesa”. Interestingly, long ago, there was a Santee by the name of Ohiyesa, whose English name was Charles Alexander Eastman.

Here is one where he claims White Eyes is his great grandfather.

It is interesting if not a little disturbing to be proud of an ancestor on a government hit list. Stranger that one would do so without even knowing that the individual was a relative. So now he has this proud post about a person he’s not even related to but had a bounty on his head.

Here’s what John Martin has claimed about his father’s past.

Yet another example of John Martin changing his father’s name to push the lie that he’s related to the White Eyes. 

Now let’s get into both of his parents.

I would love to hear his older sister corroborate this when public information that #NativeTwitter found indicates that Melvin Martin’s location of death was in the hospital.

Was housing free in Rapid City? Ever? Grandmother was dead or off doing who knows what while two teenagers lived in her house for seemingly years? Outside the Rez, housing does not pass from one generation to the next, or in this case, skipping a generation. This also poses the question as to how mom doesn’t know her family or background, but has a connection to a grandmother and not her own parents or family? While John claims that his parents were orphaned at a young age, Edna Powless’s father passed away in 1989 at the age of 83. Her mother passed away in 1945 at age 31. Melvin Martin Sr’s mother passed away in 1955 at the age of 57.

“After their boarding school internment…” This suggests that both children graduated or were otherwise released from school at 13 or 14 years old? Boarding schools were not of the ‘early release’ type of institutions. Because John claims that his parents were from Pine Ridge, that school would be the Holy Rosary Mission, or what is called Red Cloud School today. This is the school that my mother attended. Given the birth years of John’s parents, they weren’t that much older than my mother and she was the youngest of her siblings. Back then, students attended the school, but they went home on weekends. The days of abduction were in the past by then -at least in Pine Ridge to my knowledge- though the atrocities that occured in the boarding schools were very much alive. Boarding schools were meant to ‘kill the Indian, save the man’. They were missions and largely religious; they weren’t deep cover operatives brainwashing memories out of the children. I’ve heard quite a bit from ma and others older and younger than she who attended the same school and what it was like at Holy Rosary Mission; it does not match John Martin’s claims. There are survivors whose accounts can sometimes be found online today, too.

Why call his father abducted when he also admits that his parents met and fell in love at 14 in Rapid City, which is about 80 miles from Pine Ridge. “Abducted”, but mom lived with her grandmother in her house in Rapid City. This counters the claim that both parents ‘lost identity’. It comes off as exaggerating for the sake of seeming ‘more important’ or to, you know, trying to legitimize family lore. Abduction suggests that Melvin managed to lose every connection to his family despite being able to move freely about at the age of 14. What about mom at this point? She lived in grandmother’s house 80 miles from Pine Ridge at the age of 14, but needed to do “extensive research” for her genealogy? Anyone enrolled in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation can get their genealogy from the enrollment office, then and now. If John Martin is enrolled as he claims, this is a super easy process even today.

If grandma saved his mother, then grandmother would have been the one educating her grandchild about her family. Or did grandma not have a clue either? Somehow.

Yeah except it’s looking more and more that John’s not Oglala and sure, no one can make him stop making that claim. That’s true of every fake Native and fake Lakota like John Martin/Lakotaman1 and BubbaOtep; who also follows and replies to John’s posts. Fake Lakota uniting. When people really want that claim, they very rarely are able to let it go. I would wager it’s mostly the embarrassment factor of being called out and found out. Rather than apologize and learn, they dig in their heels even more.

John speaks often of his father in praise, but search his twitter history for his mother and there’s very little. Melvin White Eyes – I mean Martin – was a HERO. He’s someone that strangers need to PRAISE and often. By extension of using his father in this way, he’s gaining some of that praise for himself. Mom’s job is apparently to push tales that don’t match what has historically happened in boarding schools and to be the shield against John Martin’s lack of accountability.

The only person disrespecting Melvin Martin is John Martin.

John Martin’s father, Melvin Martin, passed away in 2003. His location of death is listed as ‘hospital’ and Los Angeles. John Melvin White Eyes passed away in 1999 and is buried in South Dakota. In his facebook profile, John Martin shared information on his siblings; or at least he did. If you visit his Facebook profile today, all information about his siblings and parents have been scrubbed. His twitter produces replies to deleted tweets. He’s been careful about removing any trails of who his family really is. Almost.

#NativeTwitter still found out plenty about John Martin’s family. So is he Lakota? 

Melvin Martin was born on July 21, 1934 and passed away December 21, 2003. Interestingly, the gravestone for Melvin Delmar Martin, SSGT US Air Force, is also noted as Santee Sioux – this would be a whole different tribe and a reservation that’s in Nebraska, not in Pine Ridge.

There is also a Lucy Manydeeds who seems to be Melvin’s mother. You’ll note that she was born in Santee, Nebraska, which makes sense that the headstone would read “Santee Sioux”.

If John Martin really wants to connect to his ancestors, it seems that it would be best to connect with his family in Nebraska and stop claiming his family is from Pine Ridge. The Santee Reservation is about 300 miles from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Omaha, Nebraska is a mere 178 miles from the Santee reservation.

Why claim that he’s enrolled in Pine Ridge when it seems that his parents weren’t from here. Perhaps he could find his father’s enrollment among the Santee. One of his ancestors has a name that starts out “Wambdi”, which is the Dakota dialect. In Lakota, we would say “Wambli”. But why lie about his father being Oglala Lakota when easily accessible information confirms, or at least strongly suggests, that Melvin Martin is Santee? Who renamed him White Eyes – Melvin, now deceased, Edna Powless, the mother also deceased, or John Martin, to present himself as something he’s not?

This begs the question of exactly which boarding school his parents might have attended, if they did attend a boarding school at all. There are a lot of questions here that John ought to be asking his family and actually connect to the people he’s related to and from rather than claiming to be Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge when no one here seems to know him or his family. Public information suggests that his father and his lineage is Santee Sioux as also noted on his father’s headstone. To date, no one has claimed John Martin and/or his family anywhere in Pine Ridge. He’s claimed his mother is the one who told him that they’re related to White Eyes, but there isn’t any information as to her or her family being Lakota. It doesn’t make sense that mom would tell John that his father was a White Eyes and change his tribe, so who’s to blame? Mom, now deceased, or John Martin, who is saying this about his own mother? Maybe she was from Rosebud or Yankton, reservations closer to the Santee reservation, or perhaps she was Santee herself. Was it mom who’s made all this up or is it all John Martin’s doing to craft a persona much the same way pretendians tend to in order to make themselves and lack of connection seem unquestionably authentic?

The unloading potatoes daily is interesting as well. The Black Hills had railways that went through it. Rapid City was not nearly as important to railway travel as the Black Hills. I’ve found one freight line that once went through Rapid City, but it doesn’t appear that Rapid City was a hub for major railway travel. Amtrak doesn’t even go through there. A lot of Natives often traveled through, or lived in, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. One didn’t have to be Oglala Lakota to live in Rapid City then or now. Do you know what else is interesting -Omaha, where Melvin Martin was in the Air Force, was actually a central train hub.

John has also claimed Floyd Westerman as a relative. Can anyone in the Westerman family confirm this?

Moving on.

What is with the obsession with presenting Lakota as violent and/or savage?

Let’s address the ‘merciless Indian savage’ aspect with tweets such as these.

Does anyone have real information about this claim? What tribe is he claiming for this individual if they were indeed a relative? John has also tweeted that this took place in 1904 in a different tweet, so I question it’s authenticity. I could find no historic information for this person, including the photo, anywhere online associated with either the 1904 or 1905 World’s fair in St. Louis. I welcome anyone pointing us all to historic information if publicly available.

While many Indigenous people have made somewhat similar jokes, there’s a difference between Native humor and promoting a view of our people as violent or savage. Lakota were not some wildly violent savages that went around terrorizing every other tribe. His wording infantilizes our people and speaks for us in ways that we don’t. He applies humanizing language to white people more than he does Lakota, and even this individual. “Imagine their expressions…” “Imagine their personal epiphanies…” Let’s not question whether or not the woman had a choice in learning the piano or under what circumstances she came to be in a World’s Fair. If this were a true story.

In researching the World’s Fair, it’s been considered a living zoo. These were not places to which white people came to humanize the people that they were seeing, but marvel and be entertained by. A lot of wild west traveling troupes did the same for many Indigenous people. They didn’t exist to humanize us, let alone persuade anyone to view us as equals. To this day, dehumanizing Natives is a national pastime; consider how Native mascots are staunchly defended by non-Natives. The only time this country wants to listen to us is when it benefits them. Take for example how California is now looking into, or is otherwise implementing, traditional Native practices for the land to curb wildfires. This, by the way, is not some mystic quality inherent to Natives. Read enough of John’s tweets and you’ll find that he tends to push that idea about many Native cultures, not just Lakota. It gives his persona a strange ‘our people are better’, or a superiority complex about peoples and histories that he doesn’t know or understand. Fake Natives do the same thing.

Clout chasing disguised as education

There are numerous fake Natives and/or groups that present a “Native-esque” persona to capitalize on those who fetishize Native cultures. John Martin might have ancestry, but his actions and tweets follow the same pattern. The occasional old or historic photo that glorifies the mystical AND DEAD Natives in the past that never really educate about the person or historic event. Many Lakota won’t post photos of the dead that were taken at the Wounded Knee massacre, but John has those photos up. When you go through John’s tweets, you’ll get the impression that Lakota were reverent and mystical beings more than the truth that we were a people fighting for our lives and future generations. He deifies historic leaders and equates them to white men. He’ll ‘consider this person a relative to the Lakota nation’ though he has no standing in the tribe to make this claim.

He has gems like this tweet:

Does he ever educate as to how Native mascots are incredibly racist, or is this just another bandwagon that John has seen from #NativeTwitter? The phrase “Wouldn’t you agree?” with vague or ignorant tweets are very common among pretendians. Historic photos without context are also popular among fake Native accounts such as the @AmericanIndian8 account in Twitter. AI8 is run by a European woman and has been called out by Natives for years. Go through John’s followers and you will find quite a few accounts that follow the same tactics. His “historic” tweets have become more prevalent of late; perhaps he’s learning from such accounts how to bolster his own following, or make himself seem more of an authority on Lakota culture when he really doesn’t tweet anything substantive about my people. This further suggests that he’s very disconnected from his own culture and should connect with his real family and culture rather than pretending to be something he’s not.

The Sitting Bull conundrum

Why does John Martin speak for Sitting Bull? This was an accidental discovery while poring through John’s tweets of the last few years. He has a tendency to speak for Sitting Bull, apply his life to white people, such as Joe Biden, and yet seems to deify Sitting Bull more than educate.

Here’s another “wouldn’t you agree?” tweet.

I’m going to link to the tweet rather than share it here. In the tweet, John shares a video of Sitting Bull that was manipulated to ‘bring him to life’. There may not be a Lakota reference against animating the dead for clout, but that’s what it is. It is uncomfortable to think about anyone animating one’s ancestors without consent.

Here is another example of stating something historic without any education with it. “Now more than ever” – why is that? Where is there an iota of information or education?

I wouldn’t have imagined ever having to say this -especially since Joe Biden has never made a claim- but Joe Biden is not Native. This is an example of John Martin flexing his ‘shaman’ persona to apply something that many Natives see as a positive sign to a white dude and does so using Sitting Bull. Oh, but it’s not just one time. John Martin holds many white men in high regard and correlates them to ancestors of my people.

Oh hey, apparently Obama embodies Sitting Bull too.

Apparently Crazy Horse was a ball player too?

Why in the hell would anyone want to challenge Trump with Sitting Bull? What is the purpose of this other than clout chasing? I am open to being educated as to how this is respectful of Sitting Bull.

There were many leaders among all of our Native nations. Did any of them consider themselves the savior of their people? Did any of them intend or expect to be glorified as some messiah like John Martin tends to do to Sitting Bull?

“800 year old man”?

This next one. “Reduced to”? Why make a disrespectful comparison between two Natives in different situations as if Sitting Bull not ‘converting’ makes him better for being assassinated as opposed to being a farmer. I am open to being educated how this is respectful of either.

Blocking when called out

John Martin gave President Zelensky a “Lakota name”. Then he shared how to mispronounce it. When called out by numerous Natives, it grew into a significant fiasco that questioned his family and connections. Rather than respectfully engage with the majority of people rightfully calling him out -particularly the White Eyes family- John blocked people. For years, anytime John has been called out about anything, he won’t address the issue, but immediately block the person and anyone else who echoed or challenged what he presented. His justification for this has been ‘blocking trolls’. This puts him outside of how the majority of Natives connect to each other. John doesn’t seem interested in being part of any Native community, online or offline. He needs to be seen as some kind of ‘holy man’ himself and bestow blessings upon his ignorant followers and send the spirits of our people to aid white people and/or non-Natives.

Here is John claiming a white person -wasicu- isn’t really one at all.

“He exudes many of the qualities of some of our chiefs.” Yet again equating white people or non-Natives to ancestors of my people. The two situations are not remotely similar and cannot be equated as the same. Why apply the lives of ancestors to white men? He glorifies or deifies Lakota leaders and if they’re ‘the same’, he’s deifying white men. This is already strange for any Native to do.

If you follow numerous Native accounts, around March 1, 2022 is when John Martin/Lakotaman1 blocked quite a few people who called him out. Were you to challenge his fables and family, you won’t get a respectful conversation or truth. I would recommend educating your followers as to the type of person John Martin is and how this fraud should not be supported by anyone who supports Indigenous history, struggles, our people or our lives today.

Maybe John should have known whether or not he’s Lakota and respecting the culture rather than attempt buddying up to a foreign leader; again, for clout. In fact, this is around when his account went from about 180k to over 200k. He would post ‘follow me and I’ll follow back’ posts that he quickly deleted. After one such post where I had replied, ‘follow me back’, he gained more than 5,000 followers very quickly over that one tweet. Followers are more important to John Martin than respecting Lakota people, culture and history. 

This was a thread where he and the other party joked about giving each other $1 per follower. At the time, John Martin’s account was around 191k followers, hence the “$191k for my followers”. As of July 7, 20022, his followers number at 258,000+. It is not about education or wisdom. At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if he started selling merch.

Digital Scout

“I would seek counsel from my elders first.” Gosh, John Martin, maybe you ought to go seek that counsel about this fake Lakota persona that you’ve crafted. If you have real family somewhere, connect with the people and culture. Respect who we are and stop manipulating history and our ancestors for clout.

Historically, Scouts were employed by settlers and the government. At times, their duties were a disservice to their own people or against other tribes. John Martin embodies a modern version of a Scout by using false information about the very people that he claims. This is detrimental when the majority of John’s followers are non-Native who are largely ignorant of Native cultures. Their ignorance is only bolstered by John’s ignorance masked as ‘truth’. Look through replies for some of his tweets, particularly this one about abortion clinics on the reservation. He’s been called out by numerous people about how harmful his ignorance is and yet he will not acknowledge or learn from it.

Then you have people like the following who only exacerbate Johnn’s ignorance to their immense following. Do an advance twitter search to see @PattyArquette talks to John a lot.

People buying his family lore stories are as damaging as non-Natives telling their own family lore to call themselves Native. This only helps to erode our identity. John posts history that seem like a quick Google search; in fact, you’d learn more from researching for oneself, or you can be like Patty and drink the flavorade.

Scroll through @BetteMidler’s follows and you will see that, with 2.1M followers and only 74 follows, she follows Lakotaman1.

This seems to be the truer intent of John Martin and his Lakotaman1 account. Followers, celebrity followers, playing to white people and/or non-Natives to shore up his ego and speak for people that he’s not connected to, let along understands. Look into his tweets, his actions – LISTEN to Lakota and other Natives who have called him out.

If he really needs a Lakota name, how about Wasicu Wica. That seems to be what he embodies.

15 thoughts on “Lakotaman1 – Fake Native or Fake Lakota”

  1. Damn, I just stumbled upon this piece via Reddit and I’ve got to admit that this guy had me fooled. Thank you for this, will pass it on!

  2. I think I understand. Thank you so much. Nothing like the feeling of trusting, then feeling misled. I’ve always loved and respected indigenous peoples. This unfortunate incident only makes it stronger.

  3. Thank you for your time in writing this.

    I was skeptical of Lokotaman1. He pops into my feed sometimes even though I don’t follow him, and his posts remind me of a “weebo”: Americans who are obsessed with Japanese culture based on what they see in anime.

    I’m glad I’m not the first or only one to notice.

  4. This is a really helpful summary. I’m white but always felt that his account basically pandered to the white liberal’s want for feeling like a good ally but simultaneously hating being made to feel any amount of discomfort. One day some mutuals of mine shared a tweet that seriously irked me enough that I decided to finally check his tweets and I was like wait what the- there’s like only white people in the replies and sharing. And that’s when I started to wonder “huh there’s no way this is coincidence…” That plus how he states obvious platitudes that hardly anyone would disagree with and then bait people into boosting his tweet by always asking if they agree. And I hate how he’s basically the only “mainstream” voice in any trending hashtag that remotely deals with anything related to Native people. It represses the many (much smaller) accounts that have very different views to him.

  5. First of all -thank you for your brillant exploration. But: how can a “normal” follower find out, whom really he is following? And: it seems to me that “Lakotaman 1” has created this bubble around Native Indians which I like so much and which I am visiting every day – I wouldn’t have find it without this man. I was one of his followers but I didn’t really follow him because I didn’t like his egomaniac behaviour, the big crowd of all these people around him, it’s impossible that he could have read what they posted to him. And this repeating “wouldn’t you agree”? I am a white woman living in Germany and eager to learn about American Native cultures – if this poor planet once can be saved, it will be by their wisdom and, yes, love. Learning about these peoples changed my life and changed myself. I can’t help I must stay with it.

  6. Pretty funny and creepy how this guy is obviously native but you are so upset he’s not the right type of native. Keep fighting your own

  7. Just rejoined Twitter after a 10 year hiatus, and saw this guy pop up ALOT. Even as a mostly white dude, to me this guy sounded like a complete shyster. A quick Google search led me to your thread. I think I’m going to block that fraud and learn from REAL natives. Well done on your research.

  8. The lady who wrote this doesn’t know how to write for one. Second she really must envy John or hate him. There is no way you did all this research for no meaning. Sue is Lakota you don’t know what your saying women. Embarrassing to read.

  9. I followed and supported John Martin (@LakotaMan1) for a while. I proud that he Followed Back.
    Today, he posted a tweet asking “who is the bigger queen, George Santos or Lindsay Graham?” I replied that while I usually Like his tweets, this one used the word “queen” in a disparaging way. I have many gay friends, and mentioned that as a straight man I wouldn’t use the word “queen” among them — a little bit like a white person using the n-word.
    I thought I had replied thoughtfully and with respect.
    He Blocked me.
    A short while ago — dismayed, hurt at the loss of an online friend — I tweeted out that story. And another friend directed me to your post.
    After reading your words, I feel a somewhat better for having gained a some perspective about him. Although the abrupt loss still stings, at least I see more clearly that this may not be as great a loss as I had first felt.
    Thank you for your post!

  10. This article was so well thought out and researched.
    I too started to have second thoughts on the Lakotaman1 account and you have answered more than I questioned.

  11. Please also touch on the fact that he fetishizes Native Women. I was 16 when I first started following him, and he wasted no time at all sliding into my DMs commenting on how my features are appealing for breeding and that id make very beautiful Native babies. I was so horrified I deleted my Twitter account and won’t come back as long as he is on the site.

  12. lakota man 1 (jim martin) is posting from free wifi in huntington beach, long beach and los angeles california and proclaims he’s in rapid city south dakota. starbucks wifi and free service is how he is playing online virtue signaling, as we know most of the folks playing this race grift are going to be on one coast or the other. mostly chicago, new york and los angeles. i have family in rapid city (piedmont) and i live in los angeles and i got a line on this guy from seeing him at the starbucks my girlfriend goes to. he’s not fooling anyone any more but the pandering sheeple attracted to his grift.


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