Celebrities of Native American Descent

Posted November 22, 2011 by Amanda | 5 Comments

November is Native American Heritage month in the U.S. Last week we shared some great Native American genealogy projects on Geni. Today, lets take a look at some notable figures who descend from Native American heritage.

Will Rogers

Cowboy and world famous actor Will Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). His father was a Cherokee judge, Confederate veteran and served several terms in the Cherokee Senate. Rogers County in Oklahoma is named in honor of  his father, Clement Rogers.


Heather Locklear

Actress Heather Locklear is part Lumbee descent through her father’s lineage. Her last name, “Locklear,” is in the language of the Tuscarora tribes and means “hold fast.”   The Lumbee have a mixed ancestry, which is mostly comprised of European, Native American and Africans who intermarried with each other. While the Lumbee are recognized as Native American people, they are only recognized as a tribe by the state of North Carolina.


Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe is considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports. He won Olympic gold medals for the 1912 decathlon, played American football and professional baseball and basketball. He was of mixed ancestry, Caucasian and Native American. Thorpe was born in Indian Territory and raised in the Sac and Fox nation in Oklahoma. His native name was Wa-Tho-Huk, which translates as “path lighted by great flash of lightening.”


Check out many more Notables of Native American Background on Geni!

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Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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