Video: What’s a City Indian?

Julia Jones as Agnes. Photo by Michael Coles,

Simon Moya-Smith, Oglala Lakota, is lately our man on the ground in New York City — the Island of Mannahatta and environs.

He is from the Indian nation with, arguably, the most newsworthy home rez: Pine Ridge has been thrust into the media and conversation of mainstream America with television specials (20/20 and Our America), documentary photography (by Aaron Huey for National Geographic) and film (A Thunder Being Nation), and even hip hop (Lupe Fiasco is a big fan of Chief Bone Necklace — who knew, right?). If non-Indians are discussing an Indian reservation around the watercooler or over the dinner table, odds are it's Pine Ridge. Yet Pine Ridge isn't, and never was, Simon Moya-Smith's home — he estimates that purely through family visits over the course of his life he's spent about two months there.

He has a strong Native (and Mexican) identity, but he was born and raised in large American cities. He's Oglala Lakota, but he's also a member of a different sort of tribe, a pan-Indian collection known as Urban Indians, or Concrete Indians, or Urban Rez Dogs, or City Skins. In the video below, he discusses what that means to him, and his concern over the divide between rez Indians and city Indians. 


Comments are closed.

Credit Card Identification Number

This number is recorded as an additional security precaution.


American Express

4 digit, non-embossed number printed above your account number on the front of your card.


3-digit, non-embossed number printed on the signature panel on the of the card immediately following the card account number.


3-digit, non-embossed number printed on the signature panel on the back of the card.

Enter Your Log In Credentials

Send this to a friend

I thought you might find this interesting:
Video: What's a City Indian?