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Badass Native

Indigenous people tend to be, well, poor. Indigenous people also have a tradition of war, unlike the rest of the world. So of course they're badasses. No matter what era you're in, if you live in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, indigenous people will be badasses. Rarely seen in the rest of the world, though. The American version of the Badass Native has costuming and prop elements as well. Will often be magical.

Overlaps with Noble Savage or The Savage Indian.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Oberon in Adam R. Brown's Alterien is a Lakota Indian with superhuman strength, superhuman speed, a healing factor and can engage just about anyone in hand-to-hand combat or close-quarters armed combat (knives).
  • Sherman Alexie likes to play with this trope:
    • The title character in "The Toughest Indian In The World" plays it straight, but is gay.
    • Victor Joseph deconstructs it: He has a "stoic" face which involves looking like you just killed a buffalo (because you don't want to look like you just killed a salmon), and he's best friends with Thomas Builds-the-Fire, a gothic-looking storyteller who can't shut up.
    • Arnold in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a Memetic Badass for a day. This despite being a nerd and excessive Ho Yay.
    • In Flight, Zits enters the body of a Sioux boy, and he tries to prevent Little Big Horn, but... On the badass side of things, his father is compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger, he meets Crazy Horse, and he's in the most badass tribe in North America. He later meets his father, who is not a badass at all.
  • Moon in At Play in the Fields of the Lord.
  • Eheca, Quetza and almost every Aztec character from Federico Andahazi's El Conquistador
  • The Fremen in the first three Dune novels.
  • Uncas and Chingachgook from James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans.
  • In The Dresden Files, Joseph Listens-to-Wind. He's the Nice Guy on the Senior Council, sure— but he can also turn into a bear and go toe-to-toe with demigod-level Eldritch Abominations. Also, the fact that he is on the Senior Council means he is one of the seven most powerful and skilled magicians in the world.
  • In the Time Scout series, this is the general consensus on downtimers. Don't mess with them; they'll probably kill you. More specifically, the downtimers on-station, Skeeter's Mongolian family, and Jack the Ripper.

    Live Action TV 
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had Tommy Oliver. Played with because he was raised white and it didn't come into play until late season three of MMPR (and was revisited during Zeo).
  • Deadliest Warrior has had the Apache and Comanche featured in episodes, demonstrating just how lethal and badass they were in real life.
  • Hawk from Twin Peaks is this trope.
  • Criminal Minds has John Black Wolf. He's the de facto leader/police of his reservation, and when a group of armed men come with the intention of murdering their children to start a race war, he beats the crap out of them with his bare hands and a knife for self-defense. And he doesn't kill a single one outright.

    Music 
  • Litefoot
  • Iron Maiden's song "Run to the Hills" has this, though it also outright says that the US Army won because of superior numbers.
    We fought him hard, we fought him well. Out on the plains, we gave him hell!
    But many came, too much for Cree. Oh will we ever be set free?
  • Johnny Cash's "The Ballad of Ira Hayes"

    Oral Tradition 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has two extant tribes consisting mainly of American Indians in the present day. The Uktena are Magical Native American, whereas the Wendigo are pretty much this trope down to the core. They're one of the major warriors tribes in what's already a Proud Warrior Race, were quite active in AIM in the Sixties, and still have a bit of grudge with the Europe-based tribes.
  • The vampire tribes of Zendikar were designed with this trope in mind.
  • This trope is taken advantage of by the Imperium in Warhammer 40,000 - with countless worlds within its galactic borders and varying conditions and technologies on them, there are some which are so harsh that the world's inhabitants will be at Stone Age technology. Having individuals who survive harsh conditions and prosper with little more than their own strength, they are commonly used as recruits for the Adeptus Asartes.
    • The Eldar Exodites, the descendants of those who saw the terrible depravity and hedonism of the Eldar before The Fall, and fled to the uncivilized backwater worlds on the edge of their empire, places where they'd be forced to work hard to survive. Basically, they're Amish dinosaur-riding cowboy Wood Elves IN SPACE. They tend to keep to themselves, but they're more than capable of schooling anyone who is stupid enough to try and conquer their worlds. In one Black Library book, the Imperium launched an assault on one of the Exodite worlds, and while the Exodites lost eventually, the Imperium needed three Space Marine legions to get the job done. Yes, you just read that right: not "chapters", but legions. Pre-Horus Heresy legions.
  • Soloha Salawa, a celebrated Hopi Ace Pilot from Crimson Skies.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Tecumseh, Manuelito, Roman Nose...Take your pick, honestly.
  • Just about anybody in AIM (American Indian Movement).
  • In the 30s, Josef Goebbels, possibly motivated by Karl May novels, declared the Sioux to be Aryans. Pure Aryans, in fact. (The Japanese were also thought to be a "Honorary Aryan people due to their bravery".) The Sioux response was to join the U.S. military, where they could hopefully kill Nazis.
  • Navajo Code Talkers played a major role in the defeat of the Japanese in World War II. Very few people outside the Navajo Nation (and none in Japan) understood the language, which was used as the basis for a code.note  Other tribes, such as the Choctaw, contributed Code Talkers as well, but the Navajo were the most numerous and famous.
  • Indigenous people join the military much more frequently than the majority culture.
    My People have fought for this land / Here and across the sea
    Their shadows cast on sacred ground / For all eternity.
  • Ernest E. Evans, Commanding Officer of the USS Johnston. Half Cherokee and a quarter Creek, he vowed upon taking command of his ship that he would never run from the enemy. He fulfilled that vow on Oct 25, 1944, when his task force, Taffy 3, found itself up against a fleet of Japanese battleships, led by none other than the Yamato (the largest, most heavily-armed battleship ever built), with nothing larger than an escort carrier. He ordered Johnston to turn and charge the enemy line, managing to get close enough for a torpedo attack which blew the bow off a Japanese cruiser, causing another to stop and lend assistance, thereby taking both of them out of the fight. The little tin can took a savage beating afterward (helped by the fact that it was too small for effective use of the Yamato's massive guns, as they were designed pierce battleship armor before exploding; against an unarmored destroyer they passed through one side of the hull and out the other without setting off the fuse), but Evans stayed in command right up to the very end, eventually going down with the ship. He received the Medal of Honor.
  • Hongi Heka, and Te Rauparaha, of New Zealand, Maori chieftains in the early 19th century, who were heavily involved in the Musket wars. Hongi Heka pioneered the use of muskets in Maori warfare, leading to the situation where the Maori, those who survived, were well prepared to take on the British in this matter. Hongi Heka also, in between fighting wars, found time to contribute to writing the first Maori-English dictionary. Te Rauparaha was called the Napoleon of New Zealand because of the large amount of land he conquered.
    • The British and New Zealand settlers had a real tough time trying to take away Maori lands because of the experience of the Musket Wars, which not only prepared the Maori for modern warfare (all the more amazing because just forty years earlier they were a Stone Age society), but with that also came some inspired innovations, like the modification of the traditional pa (fortified village) that came with trenches and bunkers. Gate Pa was famous because the British shelled the crap out of the place, but inflicted virtually no casualties on the bunkered Maori, so when the British marched in thinking they'd obliterated them, the defenders just burst out of their trap doors and gunned them down.
  • Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, who was the first Maori to win a Victoria Cross (sadly posthumous), in WWII. To quote: "On 26/27 March 1943 during the action at Tobaga Gap, Tunisia, Second Lieutenant Ngarimu, who was commanding a platoon in a vital hill feature strongly held by the enemy, led his men straight up the face of the hill and was first on the crest. He personally destroyed two machine-gun posts and owing to his inspired leadership several counter-attacks were beaten off during the night. He was twice wounded but refused to leave his men. By morning when only two of his platoon remained unwounded, reinforcements arrived. When the next counter-attack was launched, however, Second Lieutenant Ngarimu was killed."
  • Joe Medicine Crow (Crow) was the last Indian to become a war-chief — did so in WWII. There are four things one must do (including counting coup, disarming the enemy, leading a successful war party, and taking horses from the enemy) and he did all of them.
  • Spc. Lori Piestewa (Hopi), the first Native American woman to be killed in combat overseas. When the Pentagon presented us with a Rambo-like fantasy built around the capture and (partly staged according to the BBC) rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch, Lynch herself went before the House Committee on Oversight to reveal that not only was much of the story false, but that Piestewa was the real hero. Driving in the same convoy as Lynch, she had picked her up when her vehicle broke down in the middle of an ambush. She drove through a hail of gunfire, crashed into a tractor-trailer and was subsequently shot in the head. Truly a Native Badass.
  • Several Mapuche chieftains during the War of Arauco were this, but special mentions go to Lautaro (Valdivia's ex-aid, who escaped from captivity and then became the leader of the Mapuche via teaching them how to fight the Conquistadores), Caupolicán (doubling as World's Strongest Man according to his myth, and ultimately Impaled with Extreme Prejudice) and Galvarino (Hot-Blooded Handicapped Badass).
  • Buffalo Calf Road Woman, who fought in the Battle of the Rosebud (or The Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother, as it is called by the Cheyenne, named after she rode back on her horse to save him after other retreated), fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn, and was credited with knocking Custer off his horse during Custer's Last Stand by the Cheyenne tribe.

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