FACT CHECK: No, Tribal Leaders Didn’t Give Barack Obama A Derogatory Native American Name

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims that New York tribal leaders gave former President Barack Obama a derogatory Native American name.


Verdict: False

The Daily Caller found no evidence that Obama ever received the name. Versions of the story have been circulating online since the early 2000s.

Fact Check:

Obama, the 44th president, met with Native American leaders on numerous occasions during his tenure in the Oval Office. (RELATED: Did Obama Award The Presidential Medal Of Freedom To Clinton, Cosby, Weiner And Weinstein?)

The Facebook post, which features a picture from Obama’s 2008 visit with the Crow Nation in Montana, alleges that upstate New York tribal leaders bestowed upon Obama a disparaging Native American name after he gave a speech to a “major gathering of the American Indian Nation.”

“A reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name,” reads the Facebook post. “They explained that ‘Walking Eagle’ is the name given to a bird so full of sh*t it can no longer fly.”

There is, however, no evidence that Obama ever received that name from Native American tribal leaders. An internet search turned up no credible sources reporting the events described in the Facebook post. There does not appear to be any federally-recognized tribal organization named “American Indian Nation” either, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs website.

Other political figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President George W. Bush and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have been the subject of similar internet stories over the years.

Obama did receive a Native American name in 2008, but it was not derogatory in nature. The Crow Nation dubbed him “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land” during an adoption ceremony into the tribe, according to The New York Times.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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