Ongig’s mission is to celebrate all people. So, I started a list of Native American celebrities who’ve found success.

This list of 200+ famous Native American people includes:

  • Native American actor
  • famous Native American Chiefs
  • Native American heroes
  • & more!

This list is dynamic. I’m not an expert on Native American famous people…so I welcome comments, additions, and edits. I also include a few Native American movies and famous Native American quotes. Enjoy!

American Indian Actors & Actresses

There are lots of famous Native Americans today. In this section, I list Native American actors and actresses, plus the name of their tribes.

Native American Actors

Below is a list of Native American actors. It includes famous Cherokee actors, Apache actors, actors with Native American heritage, and famous indigenous actors.

native american actor zhan mcclaron
Native American Actor Zhan Mcclaron, famous for his performances as Police Chief Mathias in Longmire (image source: Wikimedia Commons, thepaparazzigamer)

Here’s a list of the most famous Native American actors:

  • Victor Aaron – Yaqui
  • Chief John Big Tree – Seneca
  • Benjamin Bratt – Peruvian Quechua Indian
  • Adam Beach – Anishinaabe 
  • Gil Birmingham – Comanche
  • Toklas Black Elk – Oglala, Lakota Sioux
  • Moses Brings Plenty – Oglala Lakota
  • Tonantzin Carmelo – Tongva
  • Cody Deal – Osage Nation
  • Chris Eyre – Cheyenne and Arapaho
  • Abel Fernandez – Yaqui
  • Wesley French – Chippewas
  • Forrest Goodluck – Diné, Mandan, Hidatsa, Tsimshian
  • Kiowa Gordon – Hualapai Tribe
  • Rodney A. Grant – Omaha
  • Saginaw Grant – member of Sac and Fox Nation
  • Graham Greene – nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Dances with Wolves 
  • Michael Greyeyes – Plains Cree
  • Charlie Hill – Oneida, Mohawk, Cree
  • Michael Horse – Yaqui, Mescalero Apache and Zuni
  • Taylor Lautner – Odawa and Potawatomi 
  • Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse – Lakota
  • Jack Hoxie – Nez Perce
  • Miko Hughes – Chickasaw
  • Ben Johnson – Cherokee, grew up on an Osage reservation
  • Oscar Kawagley – Yup’ik
  • Eddie Little Sky – Oglala Lakota
  • Phil Lucas – Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Jason Momoa – Pawnee, Native Hawaiian
  • Randolph Mantooth – Seminole
  • Zahn McClarnon – Hunkpapa Lakota
  • Russell Means – Oglala Lakota
  • Tatanka Means – Navajo, Lakota
  • Alex Meraz – P’urhepecha 
  • David Midthunder – Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboin
  • Rick Mora – self-identified Apache/Yaqui descent
  • Bronson Pelletier – Plains Cree
  • Tag oh Penikett – Upper Tanana tribe
  • Justin Rain – Plains Cree
  • Arthur Redcloud – Navajo
  • Lois Red Elk – Lakota/Dakota
  • Red Wing, (Lillian St. Cyr) – Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Steve Reevis – Blackfeet
  • Branscombe Richmond – Aleut
  • Will Rogers – Cherokee
  • Joanelle Romero – Apache/Cheyenne
  • Ned Romero- Chitimacha
  • Frank Salsedo – Wappo
  • Will Sampson – Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  • Eric Scheig – Inuvialuk – Chippewa-Dene
  • Larry Sellers – Osage, Cherokee, Lakota
  • Martin Sensmeier – Tlingit, Koyukon Athabascan
  • Eddie Spears – Brulé
  • Michael Spears – Brulé
  • Chaske Spencer – Sioux-Nez Perce-Cherokee-Muscogee Creek-French-Dutch
  • Luther Standing Bear – Oglala Lakota
  • Wes Studi – Cherokee Nation
  • Chief Tahachee – self-identified Cherokee descent
  • Jim Thorpe – Sac and Fox
  • Chief Thunderbird – Cheyenne
  • Gordon Tootoosis – Aboriginal Canadian actor of Cree and Stoney descent
  • John Trudell – Dakota people
  • Noah Watts – Crow/Blackfeet
  • Floyd Red Crow Westerman – Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
  • James Young Deer – Nanticoke
  • Rudy Youngblood – self-identified Comanche, Cree, and Yaqui descent
  • Chief Yowlachie – Yakima

Famous Native American Actresses

seinfeld native american actress Kimberly Guerrero
Famous Native American Actress Kimberly Norris Guerrero, who’s known for playing roles of Indigenous women in her 12+ on-screen appearances (image source: Facebook)

Here’s a list of indigenous actresses and female famous Native American people from the silver screen:

  • Irena Bedard – Cree, Iñupiaq
  • Sacheen Littlefeather – Apache, Yaqui
  • Alyssa Wapanatâhk – Cree (Nêhiyaw)
  • Tattoo Cardinal – Cree, Metis and Nakota
  • Irene Bedard – Inupiat and French Canadian/Cree (Metis)
  • Julia Jones – Chickasaw 
  • Kimberly Guerrero – Colville, Salish-Kootenai
  • Alex Rice – Mohawk
  • Megan Fox – Powhatan
  • Rosario Dawson 
  • Andrea Navedo 
  • Ashley Callingbull – Cree
  • Princess Nokia
  • Cree Summer – Cree
  • Lila Downs – Mixtec
  • Shauna Baker 
  • Salli Richardson-Whitfield – Cherokee
  • Heather Locklear – Lumbee
  • Roseanne Supernault 
  • Kawennahere Devery Jacobs – Mohawk
  • Patricia Velasquez – Mestizo and Wayuu 
  • Maya Zapata 
  • Blu Hunt – Lakota
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie – Mi’kmaq
  • Kaniehtiio Horn – Mohawk
  • Amber Midthunder – Sioux
  • Carmen Moore – Wet’suwet’en 
  • Sharice Davids – Ho-Chunk
  • Nyla Rose – Oneida
  • Q’orianka Kilcher – Quechua-Huachipaeri
  • Jessica Matten – Metis and Saulteaux-Cree
  • Tanaya Beatty – Awaetlatla
  • Alyssa Wapanatahk – Cree
  • Grace Dove 
  • Traci Bingham 
  • Karina Lombard – Lakota Sioux
  • Jana Schmieding – Lakota Sioux
  • Alaqua Cox 
  • Irene Bedard – Inupiat and Metis
  • Jennifer Podemski – Saulteaux
  • Lily Gladstone – Blackfeet and Nimii’puu Nez Perce
  • Lisa Charleyboy – Tsilhqot’in
  • Elle-Maija Tailfeathers – Blackfoot and Sami
  • Elipidia Carrillo 
  • Jashaun St. John 
  • Phoebe Legere – Acadian and Abenaki

Now, let’s move to another collection of notable Native Americans.

More Famous Native American Celebrities

Famous Native American artists, musicians, and Native American stars have found their way to success. Let’s celebrate these celebrities with Native American heritage, starting with some famous women Native Americans.

Famous Female Native Americans

Winona LaDuke famous native american woman
Winona LaDuke is a famous Native American Woman known for her work on tribal land claims, preservation, and sustainable development (image source: Wikimedia Commons, Frypie)
  • Ashley Callingbull-Burnham – Mrs. Universe 2015
  • Elouise Cobell – Blackfoot Nation activist and entrepreneur
  • Lyda Conley – Native American attorney
  • Buffalo Calf Road Woman – Northern Cheyenne warrior
  • Annie Dodge Wauneka – Navajo awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Michaela Goade – Tlingit and Haida illustrator
  • Deb Harland – Pueblo of Laguna politician
  • Suzan Shown Harjo – activist – Cheyenne and Muscogee
  • Winona LaDuke – Ojibwe White Earth environmentalist, writer and economist 
  • Susan La Flesche Picotte – Omaha doctor
  • Lozen – Chihenne Chiricahua Apache warrior and prophet
  • Wilma Mankiller – Cherokee Nation activist
  • Pine Leaf – Crow warrior
  • Pocahontas – Native American Disney character
  • Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich – Tlingit Native Alaskan activist
  • Mary Golda Ross – Cherokee engineer
  • Zitkala-Sa – Yankton Sioux author
  • Sacagawea – Lemhi Shoshone explorer
  • Maria Tallchief – principal dancer of the NYC Ballet
  • Nancy Ward – Cherokee political leader
  • Sarah Winnemucca – Numa activist

Famous Native American Models

quannah chasinghorse native american female model
Quannah Chasinghorse is a Native American female model and activist from Alaska who promotes Indigenous fashion (image source: Instagram)

Below is a list of famous Native American male models and female Indigenous models:

  • Quannah Chasinghorse – Han Gwich’in and Sihanouk-Oglala Lakota
  • Radmilla Cody – Navajo
  • Talaysay C. – Shishalh Nation
  • Nick D. – Nisga’a, Tsimshian, Tlingit, Haida, Gitxsan, Tsetsaut and Colville
  • Mekayla Diehl Eppers – Ojibwe
  • Alicia H. – Cree
  • Haatepah – Chichimeca
  • Caelynn Miller-Keyes – Odawa
  • Randy’L He-dow Teton – Shoshone-Bannock Cree
  • Jaymyn L. – Skwxwu7mesh and Kwakwaka’wakw
  • Sherise S. – Cree-Metis
  • Naiomi Glasses – Navajo
  • Joleen Mitton – Cree
  • Rick Mora – Apache and Yaqui
  • Chelsey Goseyun Wilson – Apache

Native American Entertainers [including Musicians]

jimi hendrix native american
Jimi Hendrix, Cherokee Mist singer, and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His grandmother was of Cherokee heritage, so some of his music was inspired by his Cherokee roots (image source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Some successful Native Americans from the entertainment industry are listed here:

  • Steven Alvarez – Yaqui/Mescalero Apache/Upper Tanana Athabascan
  • Susan Aglukark – Inuk
  • Mildred Bailey – Coeur d’Alene
  • Black Lodge Singers – Piegan Blackfeet
  • JB the First Lady – Nuxalk and Onondaga Nations
  • Timothy Archambault – Kichesipirini
  • Brulé – Sioux
  • Cozad Singers – Kiowa
  • Willy DeVille – Pequot
  • Willie Dunn – Mi’kmaq
  • Pura Fé – Tuscarora
  • Carl T. Fischer – Cherokee 
  • Leela Gilday – Dene
  • The Halluci Nation – formerly known as A Tribe Called Red:

“a Canadian electronic music group who blend instrumental hip hop, reggae, moombahton and dubstep-influenced dance music with elements of First Nations music, particularly vocal chanting and drumming.”

(source: Wikipedia)
  • Angel Haze – Cherokee 
  • Jimi Hendrix – Cherokee
  • Tom Jackson – Métis
  • Loretta Lynn – Cherokee
  • Peter La Farge — Hopi
This song, Ira Hayes, was written by famous Native American musician/songwriter, Peter LaFarge for Johnny Cash
  • Pamyua – Inuit 
  • Charley Patton – Cherokee 
  • Prolific the Rapper – Lakota
  • Robbie Robertson – Mohawk
  • Marvin Rainwater – Cherokee 
  • Sihasin – Navajo
  • Taboo – Shoshone
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie – Cree
  • Tanya Tagaq – Inuk
  • Hank Williams – Muskogee Creek and Tsalagi 

Other Famous Native Americans in History

In the next section, I list Native American leaders in history. This list includes great American Indian Chiefs and Native American warriors. The history of Indian warrior names is interesting!

Famous Indian Chiefs & Native American Warriors

chief joseph native american role models
(image source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Here is a list of Native American Chiefs and Famous Native American warriors through history. It includes the most famous Native American chief and Native American leaders:

  • Sitting Bull – Lakota
  • Crazy Horse – Oglala
  • Red Cloud – Lakota
  • Geronimo – Chiricahua 
  • Cochise – Chiricahua 
  • Chief Joseph – Nez Perce
  • Benito Juarez – Zapoteca
  • Canon Mataweer – Kumeyaay
  • Tecumseh – Shawnee
  • Adam Castillo – Cahuilla
  • Chief Hatam – Kumeyaay
  • Charles Curtis – Kaw
  • Captain Jack – Modoc
  • Russell Means – Oglala Lakota
  • American Horse – Sioux
  • Anna Prieto-Sandoval – Kumeyaay 
  • Chief Dan George – Tsleil-Waututh
  • Richard Milanovich – Cahuilla
  • Mangas Coloradas – Apache
  • Black Hoof – Shawnee
  • Red Jacket – Seneca
  • Chief Seattle – Duwamish
  • Shacknasty Jim – Modoc
  • Standing Bear – Ponca
  • Chief Pontiac – Ottawa
  • Osceola – Seminole
  • Wilma Mankiller – Cherokee
  • Chief Manuelito – Navajo

Famous Native American Politicians & Current Native American leaders: 

famous native american politicans
Sharice Davids (Kansas) and Deb Haaland (New Mexico) were the first Native American women elected to Congress, in 2018 (image source: CNN)

Here’s a list of some famous Native American politicians:

  • Sharice Davids – Ho-Chunk
  • Deb Haaland – Laguna Pueblo
  • Hiram Revels – Lumbee
  • Charles Curtis – Kaw, Osage
  • Robert Owen – Cherokee
  • Ben Nighthorse Campbell – Northern Cheyenne
  • Richard H. Cain – Cherokee
  • John Mercer Langston – Pamunkey
  • Charles D. Carter – Chickasaw
  • William Hastings – Cherokee
  • Will Rogers Jr. – Cherokee
  • William Stigler – Choctaw
  • Ben Reifel – Lakota Sioux
  • Clem McSpadden – Cherokee
  • Ben Nighthorse Campbell – Northern Cheyenne
  • Brad Carson – Cherokee
  • Tom Cole – Chickasaw
  • Markwayne Mullin – Cherokee
  • Yvette Herrell – Cherokee

Most Famous Native American Tribes

Now, let’s take a look at some famous Native American tribes:

  • Lumbee 
  • Iroquois
  • Creek (Muscogee)
  • Blackfeet
  • Apache
  • Sioux
  • Chippewa
  • Choctaw
  • Navajo
  • Cherokee
  • Paiute
  • Pawnee People
  • Sauk People
  • Modoc People 
  • Sac and Fox Nation
  • Cheyenne
  • Osage Nation
  • Ponca
  • Odawa
  • Iroquois
  • Nez Perce
  • Shoshone

Famous Native Americans’ Quotes

A Native American Indian chief may have some of the best wisdom to share. And, the internet is full of famous quotes about Native Americans and quotes credited to a famous Native American person.

Here’s a list of just a few favorite quotes from some successful Native American leaders:

“When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still; be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists — as it surely will. Then act with courage.” – Chief White Eagle, Ponca

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle, Duwamish

“I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.” – Sun Bear, Chippewa

“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.” – Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

“If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove.” – Cheyenne

“You already possess everything necessary to become great.” – Crow

“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.” – Tribe Unknown

“Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something.” – Maricopa

Famous Native American Movies

To finish, let’s have a quick look at the 5 most famous Native American movies in history:

  • Dances with Wolves (1990)
  • Indian Horse (2017)
  • Wind River (2017)
  • Songs my Brothers Taught Me (2015)
  • Smoke Signals (1998)

Do you know a most famous Native American I missed?

This blog on famous Native American leaders, famous American Indian actors, and indigenous people of success is by no means complete. Please let me know if you can name a famous Native American who is not on any of the lists and I will be glad to add them! Just ping me at Heather@Ongig.com.

Why I Wrote This?

Ongig is on a mission to eliminate boring and biased job descriptions. Our Text Analyzer solution helps you avoid words that are exclusionary to famous celebrities who are Native American (or non-famous!).

And a final thanks goes to…

Sources for My Research on Native American Celebs

  1. 50 Famous Native American Actors of All Time 2021 (by Raj Bhusan)
  2. List of Native American Actors (by Oncamera)
  3. 16 Famous Native American Actors, Politicians, and Artists Today (by Grant Rindner)
  4. Top 10 famous Native American actors and actresses in Hollywood (by Mercy Mbuthia)
  5. 100 Best Native American Actresses of all Time 2021 (by Raj Bhusan)
  6. 10 Native Women You Should Have Learned About in History Class (by Stacy Pratt)
  7. 20 Native American Women You Should Know (by PowWows.com)
  8. Www.Supernaturalsmodelling.com (by ​Joleen Mitton & Patrick Shannon) 
  9. Native America Calling: Changing the face of Indigenous modeling 
  10. Up-and-coming model Haatepah is using fashion as a platform to advocate for indigenous rights (by Whitney Bauck)
  11. Native American Models (Wikipedia)
  12. Native American Women You Should Be Following for a Less Homogenous Feed (by Allie Redhorse Young)
  13. Native American Male Models (Wikipedia)
  14. Rumble On: More Native American Musicians You Should Know (by Gregg McVicar)
  15. List of Native American musicians (Wikipedia)
  16. List of Native Americans in United States Congress 
  17. The Most Famous Indian Chiefs in the West (by oasysparquetematico.com)
  18. Top 10 Greatest Indian Chiefs  (by Ernie Salgado)
  19. 10 Biggest Native American Tribes Today (By Jeanette Centeno)
  20. American Indian Groups (Wikipedia)
  21. Native American Quotes (by Jesuit Resource)
  22. Wise Native American Quotes on Community, Respect, and More (By Sckylar Gibby-Brown)
  23. 8 Essential Films of the Native American Experience (by Corinne Rice)
  24. PBS ‘Country Music’ – Native stories of Hank Williams Sr., Loretta Lynn and Peter La Farge (by Sandra Hale Schuman)
  25. First Native American women elected to Congress: Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland (by Eli Watkins) 
  26. Influential Indigenous Musicians (by John Boyko)
  27. List of Indigenous Canadian actors (by Wikipedia)

by in Diversity and Inclusion

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