Facebook’s Offensive Policy on Native Names

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Numerous Native American accounts were deemed “invalid” because it was believed that the Natives were using fake last names. Dana Lone Hill, for example, had her Facebook account suspended and received this message:

[I]t looks like the name on your Facebook account may not be your authentic name.”

Lone Hill had to send in her photo ID, her library card, and a piece of mail in order to prove that Lone Hill was her real last name. A week later, her account was finally reactivated.

Many feel that Facebook should not have the power to deem what is an authentic-sounding last name. “Just seeing that over and over again: Your name wasn’t approved, your name wasn’t approved. … It just reflects on a white supremacist society,” says Shane Creepingbear, whose account was reported twice as being fake. After receiving these reports, Facebook sent Creepingbear a message stating that his last name “violates our name standards.”

Over 10,000 Native Americans signed a petition against Facebook asking them to allow Natives to use their real names. Lone Hill also wrote an article for Last Real Indians on how both she and her friend Lance Brown Eyes struggled to prove their identity to Facebook.

“There’s been a long history of Native erasure,” Creepingbear stated, “and while Facebook might not be enacting it with that intention, it’s still a part of that long history of people erasing native names. It’s part of the violence against native people in general.”

Facebook has stated that it plans to improve its name verification policy.

The Lakota People’s Law Project certainly hopes that Facebook changes its policy. The last names of Native Americans are a part of their culture, heritage, and identity, and these names should not be treated as “invalid.”


16 thoughts on “Facebook’s Offensive Policy on Native Names”

  1. Im learning my grandmothers language and was told i could not use nicknames for people my gma was Cherokee im still using my gmas language im also learning Spanish and Norwegian. I was also told i could not make friends unless i already knew them.I got 30 days for honoring a black child by displaying her picture till she died there was 250 people using same photo they only went after me.:( I hope you win but i doubt it they think they own our pictures our conversations unless you tell them they can not use you pictures or your conversations.

  2. Zuckerburg is just a garbage person. Even after he’d been contacted by people concerning this, he carried on banning names. I heard the most NAs were banished from facebook during the Thanksgiving weekend.

    They did this same thing to drag performers as well. and during the meet with the LGBT community about the problem, they banned stil more drag queens.

  3. What if native peoples who presently have and use last names in English were to make the radical change of translating the name back into a language of their ancestors, so that Dakotah last names be in the Dakota language rather than English language derivatives. If this suggestion is completely demonstrative of my ignorance, please respectfully explain to me how and why this is an ignorant way of thinking.

  4. Did you know that Facebook is reporting all and every name and comment to the home land security for a hostile watch list???? Believe it!!! I found a list of 743,987 people Facebook has already reported, all from known Native American Web sites.

  5. I agree it’s there name there heritage no one as the right to say it’s not there name .
    I think there names are better than ours as they are called after nature or animal xx

  6. I know people that have more than 3 accounts on here. There using bullshit names. Don’t forget the white man gave these last names to native people because they could
    Not under stand or write there names. This is rasiest. I am native. Not cool Facebook.

  7. It’s a shame that computer generated knowledge has hurt so many people. I do not believe that facebook intended to offend. So many people in our wild America, abuse the system and that is where the problem originates. Shame on those who abuse the system it hurts the innocent.

  8. I dont think facebook should have name verification policys you should be able to call your self whatever you want on facebook. i mean you should be able to say your name is lkhxlduholkjhxldfjdxk if you want

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