Facebook has replaced pow-wow parking lots, Haskell, AISES/NCAI/other major Indian conferences and Santa Fe Indian Market as the leading place for Indian singles to snag up their prospective mates. If we are to believe a website called “Search Engine Watch,” there may be more self-identified Skins on Facebook than there are Asians, Blacks or Hispanics.
Now since there are only about 173 Indians that live outside the state of Oklahoma, (FYI, in Oklahoma the State officially banned Facebook because, in the words of the Governor, “It’s the devil because Pat Robertson did not accept my friend request”), Indians obviously have WAYYY too much damn time on our hands and/or are very adept looking for love by using our fingers. On a keyboard Natives seem to be doing a very good job of bridging that digital divide for social/romantic purposes. It’s a good statistic, at first glance—it means that many more Natives than we might initially expect have increasing access to the internet and are savvy enough to join social networking sites. Just like you reading this blog right now—more access to the internet presumably means more use of sites and resources that may benefit us, like financial aid forms, scholarship applications, job announcements, etc.
Heck, we might even get some new traditional gear off of ebay. And traditional gear—especially the type purchased off of ebay—is very special.
But I digress.
Still, I call cow feces on those numbers—they just don’t make sense. Think about it—the article says that there are just under half a million people self-identifying as Native on Facebook. Well, according to the 2000 Census there are 4.1 million Americans who self-identified as American Indian; we all know that we can subtract about a quarter of those folks as simply confused people from India who didn’t know that they were in competition for the name “Indian” with a group of people that just don’t get Bollywood. That leaves us with about 3 million or so. Next, we can subtract about 50% of the remaining 3 mill because, based upon all the dusty little rugrats that I see running around pow-wows (and all the hickeys that lets me know that even more are coming), I know that about half of the Native population is under the age of 5.
That brings us down to about 1.5 million. That’s before we even discount really, really old Indians (Indian elders are too busy being wise and respectable to be worried about liking people’s statuses on Facebook), incarcerated Indians, Indians with no fingers (makes social networking quite difficult, I hear), and Indians who actually have a life (i.e., not me).
After we subtract all of those groups, we’re down to about 1200 Indians. On the dot.
I hope I’m right; if there really are that many Natives on Facebook, sheesh, I should have a lot more friends in my “friends list.”
Gyasi Ross is a member of the Blackfeet Nation and his family also belongs to the Suquamish Nation. He recently wrote a book called “Don’t Know Much About Indians (but i wrote a book about us anyways).” You can get it at www.dkmai.com. He also makes a bunch of silly youtube videos and you can see those at www.youtube.com/dkmaibook and semi-does the twitter thing at www.twitter.com/gyasisucks.