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Going Native
They don't call him Lawrence of Wales.

"Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi."Lat. 
— Latin Proverb, commonly shortened as "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

There are plenty of people who believe that modern life is rubbish and would like to escape it and go live off the fat of the land. The Going Native trope plays to this fantasy by having a character lifted out of his typical environment and thrust into a new one, only to become a part of that new world. Characters who start as a Jerkass with heavy prejudices against the native group are especially prone to Going Native. They might even be sent to bring destruction or 'higher culture' in the first place. As soon as they feel quite comfortable, possibly having fallen in love with a local girl and/or learned big lessons from a mentor figure, count on their old life to come messing with them. Optionally there might be an episode of being tempted back to their evil old ways. Or they might just rise to the occasion as a Mighty Whitey.

Going Native is not restricted to known traditional cultures. It might involve characters involved with aliens, orcs, mobsters,... you name it. Overlaps may occur with Becoming the Mask. Oddly, it is almost never used in cases where it is the audience's group being joined by a more advanced figure, such as the Fifth Column in V.

Most real-life successful native-goers start out as extremely adaptable (e.g. Lawrence of Arabia). Dramatic requirements might call for the character to be not very adaptable to make the story of his transformation more interesting. If the character becomes more successful in his new culture than he could have ever been back home, it's Like a Fish Takes to Water.

While often considered highly problematic in fiction and academics, it's not actually a bad thing in itself. During military actions in (or the exploitation of) foreign countries it can easily lead to conflicts of interests and the current mainstream paradigm of social sciences is to keep observation from an insider perspective and an outsider perspective clearly separate. For individuals finding a new community to call their home, it is simply a case of successful integration. In recent decades, individuals that have become well integrated into local society have come to be highly valued as interpreters and mediators, as opposed to mere translators.

Compare: Raised by Natives, Raised by Orcs, Raised by Wolves, Mighty Whitey, Becoming the Mask, Foreign Correspondent, Lost in Character and Starting A New Life. See also Of the People.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Jyu Oh Sei draws heavily from this, with the very much civilized lead eventually outdoing the natives of Chimera.
    • But then, he was genetically engineered to be so, which brings up a lot of nature vs. nurture questions.
  • Manly Chivalrous Pervert Sanji of One Piece runs into this problem when he lands on an island full of transvestites. He resists but is briefly put into a dress and shown running along the shoreline with all the other 'girls.' He does end up snapping out of it, somewhat traumatized by the experience.
  • Principal Kuno in Ranma ½ spent a few years living in Hawaii and came back to Japan as a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing, ukelele-playing, coconut-eating wacko who speaks in Gratuitous English.
  • The Ente Islans from The Devil is a Part-Timer warm up quite quickly to living in the real world, to the point where the person who is supposed to be Satan places "taking over the world" second to "getting a promotion at MgRonalds".

    Comic Books 
  • Blueberry (a French comic book cowboy) goes to live with the Indians who rescue him after an accident, tries to marry the chief's daughter, and helps the tribe escape from the US Army. It is worth noting that it was hard for him to get back to his people, since he was (falsely) accused of stealing $500,000 and trying to kill President Grant.
  • In the Tintin comics The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, the titular reporter comes across Ridgewell, an English explorer who ended up living with natives in the South American rain forest.
  • Down features two police officers who both go undercover in the drug trade and find themselves becoming part of the criminal underworld.
  • Sleeper is about an undercover secret intelligence agent working to bring down a massive super villain cartel - unfortunately, the bad life seems to agree with him...
  • The early Aliens Vs Predator comics featured a woman who ended up becoming a Predator warrior. And sucked horribly at it, to the comics' credit.
  • Ultimate X-Men had the "cop infiltrates gang" variant played in reverse — Wolverine joined the X-Men to assassinate Professor X, but found himself seduced by Xavier's vision (and Jean Grey's barely legal charms) and ended up joining the team.
  • Swedish comic Johan Vilde (Johan Savage), is about a Swedish boy in 17th century west Africa, who is raised as the son of a prominent merchant from one of the larger tribes/nations in the region.
  • Nolan, Invincible's father, originally came to Earth to blend in and slowly take over. He hated his assignment at first but found himself actually liking Earth and ended up with a wife and son.
  • Many, many examples in ElfQuest. Leetah becoming a Wolfrider to be with Cutter is the most prominent one. Any of the Sunfolk or Gliders that join the Wolfriders, the Jackwolfriders or the Forevergreen group count; Suntop taking on a Wavedancer appearance to be with Brill; Shuna (a medieval human) being adopted by Wolfriders; Little Patch, Winnowill and later Mender exploring human society (since the elves consider humans savages, and vice versa); Lehrigen becoming a woodland stalker to hunt elves; Rayek living as a Go-Back for a while; and last but not least, the Jackwolves living around Sorrow's End mating with the Wolfriders' wolves.
    • Shuna decides to become part of the elf tribe. A few years later, puberty really kicks in and she goes looking for a husband in nearby indigenous human tribes - a whole new world compared to her previous medieval city life.
  • Superman was a baby at the time of his emigration to earth and hardly had a choice in the matter, but still applies, since even after he learns about and accepts his Kryptonian roots, he refuses to define himself as a Kryptonian instead of a human.

    Fanfiction 
  • Empath of Empath: The Luckiest Smurf originally considered himself a Psyche when he was raised in Psychelia since he was brought there by Papa Smurf as an infant. Over the years during his visits to the Smurf Village, he came to identify himself more and more with the Smurfs until, by the time of his release on his 150th birthday, he preferred living as a Smurf than as a Psyche.

    Film - Animated 
  • In Rio 2, Blu tries to do this with the Spix macaw flock in the Amazon, somewhat unsuccessfully. The rest of his family has an easier time adjusting.
  • Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story: "Even though you tried to terminate me, revenge is not an idea that we promote on my planet... but we're not on my planet, are we?"
  • The Road to El Dorado is about two Spaniards who wind up discovering El Dorado and masquerade as gods. One is only in it for the gold, but the other grows attached to the people, and ultimately protects them from the Cortez expedition.
  • Milo, the protagonist of Atlantis: The Lost Empire does this at the end of the film and chooses not to return to the surface with his companions (he's got a pretty sweet gig as interpreter/royal consort for the new queen). They fake his death by telling the authorities that he drowned when the submarine exploded, and they Never Found the Body.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Dances with Wolves, in which a U.S. officer joins the Sioux and ultimately fights with them against the U.S. army.
  • A Man Called Horse, in which a white man joins the Sioux. It's considerably more honest about less pleasant aspects of Sioux traditional life, such as the torture of captives and ritual self-mutilation, than Dances With Wolves. YMMV, though: it has been critized for its depiction of the Sioux. Buffy Sainte Marie called it "the whitest of movies [she had] ever seen."
  • In The Last Samurai, an American Civil and Indian War veteran is taken captive by samurai and goes native during the Meiji Restoration.
  • At the end of Stargate, Daniel Jackson happily settles down, on another planet, with Sha'ri .
  • Apocalypse Now. The previous guy sent to kill Kurtz, played by Scott Glenn. It's implied that Willard is tempted as well, although he actually goes through with the mission.
    Willard: They were gonna make me a Major for this, and I wasn't even in their fuckin' army anymore.
  • Doomsday. With the slightly unusual variant that, thanks to You Kill It, You Bought It, the hero ends up going native as leader of an army of Glaswegian cannibals.
  • Dr. Rae Crane does this at the end of Medicine Man.
  • Doc Brown seems to be getting along just fine in the Old West in Back To The Future III — until he runs into Buford Tannen, anyway.
  • Harvey Keitel's character shows signs of this in The Piano.
  • T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia; originally sent as an envoy to negotiate an alliance with various Arab leaders, he begins to be more interested in their own revolution than how he can get them to fight for the British. See the Real Life entry.
  • The movie Battle for Terra.
  • Wikus in District 9 had this problem, although in his case it was due to a Baleful Polymorph and not a crashed ship.
  • Avatar does this — in a more futuristic way: the researchers interact with the Na'vi indirectly, via the remote-mind-controlled "Avatar" bodies. One of them literally goes native after transferring his brain into the Na'vi body. Another attempts to upload her brain entirely into her Avatar after being shot, but dies before it can happen.
  • Outlander ends with Kainan choosing to destroy his rescue beacon in favor of remaining on Earth.
  • In The Searchers, when the kidnapped girl is found she has completely assimilated into the society of her captors.
  • The 13th Warrior, like the book, features an Arab who goes native amongst Vikings.
  • In Farewell to the King, Nick Nolte stars as a WW2 deserter who becomes adopted by a tribe of Dayaks in Borneo, who consider him divine because of his blue eyes.
  • How John Carter becomes "John Carter of Mars".
  • In The New World, Pocahontas goes native when she marries a British colonist and visits England. She's able to see the beauty in both worlds.

    Literature 
  • The trope codifier, A Man Called Horse is about a white man captured by Native Americans who eventually assimilates into their culture. It is taught in many grade school literature classes in the US.
  • In Dan Abnett's His Last Command from the series Gaunt's Ghosts, Gaunt's 'forced' Junior Commissar Ludd betrays his trust by reporting him in the eve of battle even though Gaunt fully expects him to do so.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels are full of Terran citizens going native on Darkover; Andrew Carr and Magdalen Lorne are notable examples. There are also Darkovans who try to go Terran.
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (which would later have a famous adaptation in the Vietnam movie Apocalypse Now). Kurtz is sent to Africa as an ivory-procurement agent and suffers a spectacular back story breakdown. The narrative either plays the trope straight or subverts it, depending on the reading, though the latter seems more likely. According to the first reading, Kurtz possibly goes native in horrifying ways, inverting the European life he came from. In the alternate reading, while he has shed his civilized persona, he still hasn't gone native in a meaningful way. Instead, an unnatural and immoral co-dependent relationship has formed, where the natives worship him as a god, while he in return treats them with utter ruthlessness, much like an unloving god would. The title of the paper Kurtz had been working on was "Suppression of Savage Customs": it is ended with the sentence, handwritten at a later date, "Exterminate all the Brutes!" Not quite the typical going native.
  • Stanislaus Grummann from The Subtle Knife spent the rest of his days as a Siberian shaman.
  • In the Liaden Universe books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, this is an occupational hazard for the Scouts, whose task of exploring new worlds often results in them spending long periods immersed in alien cultures. Many an experienced scout, even among those who resisted the temptation, has retained traits from a culture where he or she felt particularly at home.
  • Animorphs
    • In The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor flees to Earth, permanently becomes a human, marries Loren, and fathers a son before the Ellimist returns him to his Andalite form and the StarSword.
    • In The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, Aldrea permanently morphs into a Hork-Bajir, marries Dak Hamee, and has Hork-Bajir children. When she "appears" in the main series (as a kind of psychic back-up-disk downloaded into Cassie's brain), this is the source of a lot of friction between her and Andalite team-member Ax.
    • Toomin in The Ellimist Chronicles with the Andalite cavemen.
    • To a degree, Edriss in Visser.
    • Also, Ax, to a degree. By the end of the series he's arguably more human than Andalite in terms of personality and habits.
    • This applies to the Chee as well after they used their holograms to disguise as humans.
  • In Stephenie Meyer's adult novel The Host, the alien invaders, the so-called Souls, are physically inserted into a host body and eradicate the host's mind. Except in the titular character's case, in which the host's mind is still present and they both think inside Melanie's body. Later, the ragtag group of human survivors finally finds another group of survivors with their own dual-minded alien/human, who literally refers to the situation as "going native."
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings backstory, the Black Númenóreans who escaped the destruction of the island-realm often ended up living in cultures loyal to Mordor, and becoming their leaders. At least some of the Nazgûl belonged to this group of people, as did the Mouth of Sauron. note 
    • Also in the back story, one of the Kings of Gondor does this when sent as a prince to the ancestors of the Rohirrim. His son's ascension to the throne leads to civil war, and the death of most of the royal line (hastening the end of the line).
    • The Elven-Kings of Mirkwood (Oropher and later Thranduil) were originally Sindarin elves who came to the Woodland Realm after the sinking of the sub-continent Beleriand, and ended up adopting the more 'earthy' customs of the Sylvan elves, to the point that Thranduil's son Legolas identifies himself purely as a Sylvan elf.
  • Jimbo in Cloud of Sparrows came to Japan from America as a Christian missionary; after being badly injured and subsequently rescued by a group of children, he ended up becoming a Buddhist monk who speaks fluent Japanese.
  • Ho Sa in the Conqueror books. When he first joins the Mongols in Lords of the Bow, he is initially reluctant, but later catches himself enjoying his new life. By Bones of the Hills, he doesn't want to go back.
  • In Ecotopia, the main character, William Weston, a reporter from New York, goes to examine the environmentally friendly nation Ecotopia (formerly the North Western US), but ends up deciding to stay there after he acclimates to the country.
  • John Blackthorne from James Clavell's Shogun is an English sailor shipwrecked in old Japan. Unlike his shipmates, he decides to learn the language and cultural skills needed to fit into the unfamiliar society, and eventually decides that it's preferable to the society he came from in a number of ways. He's no Mighty Whitey: he has a lot of difficulty learning the new ways, becomes only moderately competent, does not impress people, and is usually irrelevant.
  • Quite a few of Rudyard Kipling 's India stories are an exploration of the concept.
  • In George Orwell's early novel, Burmese Days, Flory admires Burmese culture more than he does his own, and despises the British Empire. It looks like he might be going this route, but the trope is subverted when he takes command of the police and breaks up a riot intent on destroying the Club and killing Ellis.
    • The literary critic V. S. Pritchett once described the period Orwell spent living as a tramp as "going native in his own country."
  • In Good Omens, Aziraphale and Crowley, an angel and a demon respectively, end up going native towards humanity as a result of having been on Earth since the very beginning. Neither are happy to learn about the imminent apocalypse and try their best to hamper it's progress.
    • Adam ends up becoming an Anti Anti Christ as a result of this, refusing to start the apocalypse due to his time on Earth having left him neither evil nor divine, but fundamentally human.
  • Amusingly inverted in Neil Gaiman's Sherlock Holmes pastiche, A Study in Emerald, where the Great Old Ones returned to Earth centuries ago, but instead of wiping out the humanity, or forcing us to adapt their ways instead assumed leadership in human terms, resulting in a pseudo-Victorian world where most people lead entirely normal lives despite of that most of the crowned heads of Europe have an unpleasant number of tentacles under them, and even consider their existence a blessing that makes the civilization possible at all.
  • Jacob Wheeler does this in Into The West after marrying a Lakota woman. They and their children shift between Native and white society as the series progresses. Jacob's cousin, Naomi, also goes native when she marries a Cheyenne chief, Prairie Fire.
  • Carrie in Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance novels. After bonding with Kusac and living on his world for a while, she goes native.
  • In The Years of Rice and Salt, a Japanese ronin ends up with a Native American tribe and assimilates into their culture.
  • In Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong from The Things They Carried, Mary Anne Bell is the girlfriend of a young medic who falls in love with Vietnam and eventually crosses over to the other side, becoming part of the land.
  • In C. J. Cherryh's The Faded Sun: Shon'jir, Niun and Melein give Sten Duncan a choice: Go Native or die. And in her Foreigner novels, protagonist Bren Cameron essentially does this. Which is not taken too well at first by the (human) government he was supposedly representing, or the people close to him he now is not able to see except very occasionally.
  • Marat Lon in Star Trek: Mere Anarchy. A human scientist assigned to help restore the devastated planet Mestiko, he remains when a reactionary coup forces the Federation and other aliens off the planet. He disguises himself as a native, but doesn't do a very good job of blending in. Fortunately, he is discovered by native factions sympathetic to his cause, who instruct him in how to pass as a Mestiko resident. He transforms over time from an arrogant, somewhat patronizing outsider to someone with a deep concern for the Mestiko peoples. He takes a native name and the woman who helped educate him in the local culture becomes his wife.
    • Erika Hernandez in Star Trek: Destiny.
    • Neta Efheny, in Brinkmanship, a Cardassian spy inserted into the Tzenkethi Department of the Outside as a low-grade worker. She comes to prefer the certainty that comes with knowing your place and your function, worrying about nothing but how to perform that function, free from the need to face any of the complications regarding identity or responsibility. She eventually accepts the mind-numbing contentment of a low-grade Tzenkethi and allows herself to be fully subsumed into their society.
  • In Rosemary Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers, a young Roman's sister is kidnapped by the Saxons. Years later, he's captured in turn and finds her married to her kidnapper and mother to his son. She helps him escape, but refuses to go with him.
  • Basil Fotherington-Thomas (from the Molesworth books) fills the Kurtz role in Teddy Bear's Picnic, a bizarre Alternate History retelling of Apocalypse Now by Kim Newman. Just William also fits as the soldier sent to kill Fotherington-Thomas who ends up joining him.
  • In the Ursula K. Le Guin short story "Solitude," Ren, the daughter of a Hainish anthropologist doing fieldwork on the planet Eleven-Soro goes spectacularly native after living for years in Sorovian society, such as it is. She chooses to remain there even after her mother and brother return to Hain, meaning that she'll never see them again.
  • In King Kelson's Bride, Morag, Mahael and Teymuraz think that Liam-Lajos may have done this during his four years at Kelson's court in Gwynedd, making him unfit to rule Torenth. They discuss the possibility of passing over Liam in favour of his younger brother Ronal-Rurik.
  • In the Belisarius Series, Damodara begins to adopt Rajput ways in the realization that they were the best warriors that the Malwa Empire could field (except for the Kushans with whom they were roughly equal) and flattering them was a way to gain military success and not coincidentally gain the throne.
  • The 13th Warrior features an Arab going native amongst Vikings. It's a rare example of an Eastern character going native amongst Westerners.
  • One of the characters in The Laundry Series is actually an Eldritch Abomination known as the Eater of Souls who was stuck in a human body and trained to pass as an Englishman. The ones doing the training ended up doing too good a job of it.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Daenerys Targaryen, from the sedentary Westerosi culture, is married off to Khal Drogo, a warlord of the nomadic Dothraki people, in the hopes of reclaiming Westeros with a Dothraki army. Throughout the first book, she learns the language and customs of the Dothraki people, begins to dress in their style, and develops a fierce loyalty to her new husband. Her older brother Viserys doesn't fare as well, getting offended by Dany's suggestions that he exchange his finery for more practical Dothraki clothing and becoming deeply embittered when he realizes that his sister's assimilation has given her far greater credibility with the Dothraki than he will ever command.
    • Jon Snow is forced to do this to the wildlings, becoming a Fake Defector. Ultimately subverted, as he never becomes the mask, running off when faced with having to kill an innocent civilian.
    • Mance Rayder was raised among the Night's Watch, but abandoned the order and joined the wildlings after spending a few days with a wildling woman and tasting the freedom that they enjoy. He eventually becomes their king.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Human Doug is so taken by elfin culture (and one member in particular) that he chooses to spend the school year studying abroad in the elfin capital. In the sequel, he'll likely come back with a penchant for very bland tea.
  • In Dune , protagonist Paul Atreides and his mother Lady Jessica, after being rescued by the desert-dwelling Fremen, are assimilated into the culture. Paul takes to it very strongly, and is a feared leader and eventually becomes the Fremen's messiah. Liet-Kynes also goes native.
  • In It Can't Happen Here, Macgoblin goes native after fleeing to Haiti.
    When last seen, he was living high up in the mountains of Haiti, wearing only a singlet, dirty white-drill trousers, grass sandals, and a long tan beard; very healthy and happy, occupying a one-room hut with a lovely native girl, practicing modern medicine and studying ancient voodoo.
  • One of the Night Huntress books has a minor example. A friend of Cat's asked her to find out what happened to a reporter of his that was investigating the existence of vampires. Turned out the woman in question had found a vampire, and subsequently fallen in love and was living with her.
  • In Seraphina Dragons are discouraged from this, and punished with a memory-wipe if evidence comes to the Censors.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus, Jason Grace is initially one of the two praetors of New Rome. However, after getting forcibly relocated to the Greek Camp Half-Blood and falling in love with a Greek demigod, he finds himself torn between the two factions until he fully and officially chooses Greek in the fourth book. Conversely, Percy Jackson is forcibly relocated to New Rome, and after being made a member of the Legion in the wake of a massive battle, becomes more and more attracted to Rome, particularly the safe life he and his Love Interest could live there, protected by the Legion. He has not chosen Rome yet, but it seems likely he will at some point.
  • Repeatedly Played for Laughs in Discworld, where many barbarian armies have tried to take over Ankh-Morpork. In a matter of months they are somewhat confused to find that their weapons and horses are now property of Ankh-Morpork merchants, and that they are now just another minority with their own fast-food places and gang graffiti.
  • What Renzi does in the latter parts of Artemis on a Pacific island the crew visits. Luckily, Kydd is there to (literally) knock him out of it before the cannibalistic rival tribe of the islanders hosting them can get there.
  • One of the protagonists of Diane Duane's The Romulan Way is Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto, a Starfleet Deep Cover Agent tasked with improving the Federation's understanding of the secretive Romulans. By the end of the book she openly admits to Bones McCoy that she's come to love living on ch'Rihan, and refuses his offer to be extracted with him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Helo/Athena from Battlestar Galactica fits.
  • Gabriel/Trickster from Supernatural fits this. He ran away and 'joined the Pagans', only to eventually go up against Lucifer because he actually quite likes humans and doesn't particularly want them to die. He's also shown to understand sarcasm, have conversations with people and blink regularly (Castiel had difficulty with those at first).
  • In the later series of Northern Exposure, Joel ends up living with native villagers on the banks of the river.
  • Happens multiple times in Stargate SG-1:
    • In A Hundred Days, Jack O'Neill gets trapped on a planet after a meteor hits the Stargate and buries it. He gets a quick Time Skip montage wherein he gets married and settles down, only to get rescued by the end of the episode.
    • In Fallen, Daniel Jackson wakes up on a strange planet with no memory of his previous life (before or after he Ascended To A Higher Plane Of Existence) and becomes a part of the local tribe. The status quo is returned, along with his memory, by the end of the episode ... again.
    • Also happens with Ba'al to a lesser extent. After the Goa'uld are no longer the threat they once were, he hides out on Earth, developing a fondness for the culture. He's still evil, of course, but he actually picks up enough human traits that he becomes a better villain than the rest of the Goa'uld combined.
      • His fondness for Earth is best shown in Continuum, where in an alternate reality, his grand takeover of Earth would have involved leaving it exactly as it is, in exchange for humanity submitting to his absolute authority as God-Emperor. The other System Lords thought he's gone insane.
    • Long time SG-1 antagonist Harry Maybourne eventually gets marooned on a low tech planet, where he uses his knowledge to make himself king. He finds that he likes being the king, and that he's good at it, so much so that he is very popular among the people he's ruling because he has done so much to make their lives better. When he gets the opportunity to return to civilization, he opts to stay.
    • Teal'c, after spending several years on Earth, becomes a bigger Pop Cultured Bad Ass than his teammates.
  • In the second season of Heroes, Mohinder works with Mr. Bennet to take down the Company from within, but eventually becomes convinced that the Company is really the heroic organization and Bennet was misleading him.
  • Doctor Who
    • In an episode of the revived Doctor Who, a stranded alien has been covertly living as a Welsh politician, and, even as she plots to blow up the entire Earth to facilitate her escape, grumbles that the London-based government wouldn't notice if Wales slid into the sea. She then immediately labels the moment as an example of this trope.
    • The Doctor himself is an example. In all his 1100-odd years, he sure has grown fond of us humans. He still loves to travel, and is a little too alien to really be considered a 'native', but he loved everything about our culture, clothes, food and people. Particularly conspicuous in the Classic Series, when the Time Lords were still alive and interacted with him often, throwing into sharp relief how utterly...well..alien his human-esque appearance and behavior seemed to other members of his own species. The Tenth Doctor was probably the biggest example of this, almost to the point of mild Pinocchio Syndrome.
  • LOST: Locke "goes native" by leaving the 815 camp to join the Others. Also, in season 5, several of the 815ers join the Dharma Initiative and lead happy lives in the 1970s.
  • Zeb Macahan from How the West Was Won.
  • Thanks to phlebotinum-induced amnesia, Captain Kirk winds up accidentally going native in the ST:TOS episode "The Paradise Syndrome". Being original Star Trek, this of course is reversed by the end of the episode.
    • Captain Kirk does this again in "A Piece Of The Action" when he adopts the natives ways by making himself the biggest don on the planet. Nobody's gonna put the bag over him any more!
  • Data does the same in Star Trek: The Next Generation when he walks into a pre-industrial village with damage-induced amnesia.
  • Even though it is done through a Lotus-Eater Machine (a small alien probe), in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard does this in "The Inner Light". He lives out a long, full life in the span of an episode (and approximately 15 minutes in-universe).
  • During her previous life in the body of Curzon, Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was one of the early Federation diplomats to start friendly relations with the Klingons. Being already kind of a boisterous hothead, he gained their respect and trust by becoming deeply involved in Klingon culture, learning their language and martial arts, as well as coming to highly appreciate their music and cuisine. Eventually one of his Klingon friends even named his son after him, and Dax was part of the group of warriors who swore a blood oath to avenge the murder of their child, no matter how long it would take to find him. His connection to the Klingons was so strong that even when his body died and his mind added to that a young female scientist, it became a very major part of her new personalty. To the extend that when she meets the only Klingon in the Federation as he takes down a group of bullies with his martial arts skills, she immediately gets very interested in him and eventually ends up as his wife a few years later.
  • An episode of Tales from the Darkside was called "Going Native", and involved an alien woman settling down on Earth.
  • Played for Laughs on MADtv when an Arab terrorist sleeper agent (played by the Jewish Ike Barinholtz) becomes completely Americanized to the point of becoming Jewish, speaking with a perfect "Goofy White Guy" American accent and basically living the American Dream as just another suburbanite. He's called out on this by his contact...who then becomes mesmerized by the vibrating chair, built-in remote and TiVo, promptly adopting the same accent and turning his turban into a fruit bowl to become the agent's "old friend."
  • In Rome, Lucius Vorenus is complimented by a high-class Roman visiting Egypt for averting this. He stays true Roman while other officials in Cleopatra's court, including the triumvir Mark Antony, go native, a sacrilegious offense to Roman eyes. See Real Life below for more info on Antony's fate.
  • Firefly.
    • Nandi, former Companion (a ritualized and very high-class prostitute from the urban, "civilized" Core) turns tough-talking madam of a rim-world brothel. Certain episodes suggest this may be happening to Inara, the show's other companion, through her association with scruffy and unrespectable folks like Mal.
    • More sinister is the sole survivor of a Reaver attack on a ship. He begins to act as a Reaver because he can't mentally handle the things he saw, so he becomes the horror he witnessed.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The first Kosh seems to have gone native with humanoids, in a sense. To the point of helping to assassinate his successor to prevent him from listening to Sheridan's plans.
    • Delenn was accused of doing this by other Minbari and in fact she had, biologically speaking. Culturally she remained a Minbari. Racism aside it is perhaps a legitimate fear that a diplomat will do this if in contact to long and so the Grey Council may have not been totally irrational.
      • Although Delenn's relationship with the human John Sheridan is part of what gets her accused of this, in the end he's the one who ends up moving to Minbar with her where they raise their son - who presumably ends up culturally Minbari despite being biologically mostly human.
    • In the other direction was Sinclair, a "Minbari not born of Minbari" and less dramatically Marcus Cole.
    • Accusations of going native from extremists are common the series.
  • Sleepers, a BBC comedy-drama originally shown in 1991, tells the story of two Soviet 'sleeper' agents sent to Britain in the 1960s but all but forgotten about until 1991. Meanwhile the two agents have Gone Native and now consider themselves British, and the series depicts their attempts to evade the KGB who want to bring them back to the Soviet Union.
  • In one episode of Burn Notice, Michael jokingly accuses the security chief for the Pakistani consulate of going native after finding him in an Indian restaurant.
    Waseem: Oh, I like the chicken tikka.
  • In the JAG episode "Gypsy Eyes", after Harm & Mac have had their plane shot down by the Russian Air Force in Russia, they join a Gypsy brother and sister couple.
  • Sully in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman often seems to relate more to his Native American friends than the white folks in town.
  • During one "Sprockets" sketch on Saturday Night Live broadcast just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dieter waxes poetically (and almost homoerotically about an East German filmmaker (played by Woody Harrelson) whose films, in the opinion of Dieter, were "the perfect combination of depression, anti-consumerism, and disdain for the decadent western democracies". He then says that he is personally thrilled to welcome the filmmaker to his show. And when the filmmaker comes out, he's in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and flip flops, Hawaiian shorts, and is toting two big bags of fast food hamburgers. Most of his interview consisted of Dieter being aghast at the man's sudden devotion to western-style democratic consumerism now that the Wall had fallen.

    Video Games 
  • In an "undercover cop switches sides" example of the trope, the John Woo game Stranglehold features Jerry Ying, Tequila's partner, who has gone undercover with Wong's Dragon Claw syndicate. The more time he spends around Wong's crew, however, the more he begins to identify with them instead of the cops he's supposed to be one of. It all comes to a head when Wong orders Jerry to kill Tequila and Wong's own daughter Billie, who Tequila loves and had a daughter by. Tequila survives, but Billie is not so lucky, setting up a furious showdown between partners as Tequila seeks vengeance for Billie.
  • Many characters with Multiple Endings in the Star Ocean games whose relationship with someone from another planet gets to a certain point will choose to live on that planet with them.
  • In the Worlds of Ultima game The Savage Empire, several recruitable party members are Expys from previous games who have gone through this trope, with amnesia to boot.
  • In Splinter Cell: Double Agent, the NSA constantly worries about Sam Fisher going native and actively joining John Brown's Army. In the bad ending, that's exactly what he does. In the neutral ending, that's what everyone thinks he does.
  • In Dragon Warrior VII, Kiefer abandons your party to join the Deja tribe of the past. It is strongly hinted that Aira of the Deja tribe of the present (who joins your party) is a descendant of Kiefer.
  • Mass Effect 2 has a rare inversion of this: The yahg were considered too savage and violent when first encountered by the Citadel Races and it was decided to leave them confined to their wild planet until they develop space flight on their own. One of them was abducted as a slave/exotic pet, but he managed to kill his master and successfully put himself in his chair behind the main terminal that controlled his entire galactic empire of political and industrial espionage. Since the Shadow Broker never allowed any visitors to his secret base and communicated with his lieutenants and agents only through voice synthesizer programs, nobody ever found out about it.
    • Many aliens have adopted other alien cultural concepts. For example; a few turians have converted to Zen Buddhism and Confucianism, and plenty of asari have adopted the customs, traditions and even attitudes of their non-asari mates. A few asari, such as Matriarch Aethyta believe this can happen as a consequence of asari biology.
    • Due to being something of a xenophile, Paragon Shepard is often accused of this by their detractors. Some superior officers similarly dislike Shepard for playing friendly with the various alien races, instead of using their Spectre status to advance humanity's position in the galaxy.
    Real-Admiral Mikhailovich: You still know what colour your blood is, Shepard?
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, according to some of the writers, after his lengthy debriefing by his Qunari superiors, Sten will likely have to go for re-education by the Ben-Hassrath to iron out all of the bad habits he's picked up during his time in Ferelden.
    • Sten himself seems somewhat aware of this if he and the Dog are the ones chosen to rescue the Warden from Fort Drakon.
      Sten: And now I am talking to an animal. I have been in this country too long!
  • In Far Cry 3, Jason Brody's growing adaptation to the native Rakyat culture and his own latent Blood Knight tendencies drive a significant portion of the plot. Towards the end of the game, he decides to stay with the Rakyat rather than leave with his friends. The player's choice to either have Jason reject their culture or accept it and stay (and murder his friends in the process) decides the ending of the game.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the starter zones has a slightly jerkass reporter who asks you to fetch her cameraman who went undercover with the rebels (or at least get his footage), you find him ranting and raving about how the rebellion is a righteous cause and have the option of letting him stay or knocking sense into him. If you let him stay, the reporter is ecstatic because this has happened before, and when it does he always comes back with better and more detailed footage.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the Player Character is encouraged to do this as part of his/her cover story. In particular, joining the Dunmer Great Houses and/or the Tribunal Temple. It also makes for a nice way to avert As You Know, since as an outlander, the character isn't going to be any more aware of local Dunmer politics than the player and joining one of these groups is a great way to learn.

    Webcomics 
  • The Noob featured a strip where a mod is trying to reason with a player who was camping a named creature for so long, he believed he was one of the zone's monsters.

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, Taylor finds herself becoming friends with the supervillain gang that she infiltrates, intending to betray them.
  • In Welcome to Night Vale, the pilot introduces Carlos the Scientist, who has just arrived in the titular town to study its many oddities. While Carlos is initially terrified by sky-high radiation levels, the decay of space-time, and a house that doesn't exist, one year into his residency in Night Vale he comes to terms with the strangeness. Six months after THAT, he's so nonchalant about a sudden suspension of the laws of gravity that he takes it as an opportunity to clean his gutters.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode "Obsoletely Fabulous," Bender is stranded on an island with outdated robots and goes native by replacing his metal exterior with wood. He then launches a guerrilla war against civilization. But it turns out to be all a dream induced by the upgrade procedure he is undergoing.
  • Somewhat parodied on Recess when TJ gets captured by the kindergartners for the afternoon and becomes assimilated into their primitive kindergartner society.
  • The Maximals in Beast Wars are Mechanical Lifeforms who recently evolved the ability to copy organic life. But by the end of the show, one teammate prefers Earth's organic nature and wants to stay there as a tiger. Also, in Beast Machines, the premise becomes changing Cybertron to model Earth, which both Megatron and Rhinox are vehemently against.
  • A common plot element on American Dad!, where Stan would go full-throttle on various cultures or lifestyles. Lampshaded by Francine in "Stan of Arabia".
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, SHIELD agent Coulson is made the new principal of Peter Parker's school, in order to keep an eye on the super-powered kids there. Before long he starts fretting about the budget, even calling Nick Fury for help. The head of SHIELD even remarks "Coulson's gone native."
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Where's Perry?", the Flynn-Fletcher family are on vacation in Africa, and Candace, thinking that Jeremy broke up with her, decides to run off and live with the local monkeys.

    Real Life 
  • Older Than Feudalism: Among the many accusations made by Octavian's propaganda against his outlived-his-usefulness co-conspirator Mark Antony, one of the worst and most effective was that Antony had "gone native" and was living like an Egyptian, an unforgivable crime to the proud and conservative Romans. This would eventually trigger "The final war of the The Roman Republic" and usher in the The Roman Empire after Antony and Cleopatra were defeated and driven to suicide.
    • The most damning thing, as far as the Romans were concerned, was that Antony had, on his own authority, held a triumphal march in Alexandria. (It was Serious Business, since triumphal marches were supposed to celebrate the Glory of Rome and needed to be approved by the Senate — if Gen. Tommy Franksnote  had, upon entering Baghdad, decided to go rogue and award himself the Medal of Honor, it might have carried approximately the same weight.)
    • The Romans also pulled a version of this on any barbarian nations they subjugated, whereby they would take a few of the chieftains' sons as quasi-voluntary hostages, send them to Rome, and shower them with all the luxuries that The Eternal City could offer. After being thoroughly schooled in the might and comfort of the Empire, they were sent home as loyal client kings.
  • The French colonies in what is today Canada were an exercise in this, as the French were more interested in exploiting Native American trade goods than in agricultural settlement (unlike the English). Many white trappers adopted native customs of dress, residence, and even face-painting. Adults abducted by Native Americans might be raped, enslaved, or killed, but children were likely to be reared as members of the tribe and assimilated. A classic case is that of Cynthia Anne Parker whose white family was massacred at Parker's Fort and became the mother of famed Comanche war-chief Quanah Parker. Some well-treated abductees may have refused to leave their new tribes when their families found them.
    • Starving settlers deserting to join better-fed Native communities was a major problem in many early North American settlements, before Europeans learned basic New World survival skills. The famous and not at all mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke Colony was almost certainly a case of all the settlers joining the Native community on nearby Croatoan Island. But stories of an entire colony vanishing from the face of the earth were less problematic for the financial backers of the colonies than having it been known that settlers could just quit when things turned out harsher than expected. There is a project underway to demonstrate whether or not the settlers joined the local tribe via DNA testing.
  • Gonzalo Guerrero, one of the shipwrecked Spanish sailors that Cortez encountered on his expedition: Unlike his companion Aguilar Guerrero opted to stay with the Maya and would eventually side with them against his former countrymen.
  • Many of the Norman families who settled in Ireland after the invasion of 1169 eventually became "Hiberniores Hibernicis ipsis"—more Irish than the Irish themselves—to the point where the government passed the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1367, which banned the "English" in Ireland from adopting Irish customs, in a failed attempt to halt the process.
    • It's not only Ireland, this trope defines the Normans. Originally they were Vikings who settled in Northern France, enthusiastically adopting French and converting to Catholicism. Wherever they went the Normans conquered, left their mark on the language and culture before being absorbed and integrating into their new homes.
  • Many of the English colonials in India 'went native', especially in the early days under the East India Company, when adopting local customs and languages and marrying local women were acceptable business practices. After this was replaced by direct Government rule things changed: postings were more likely to be for fixed terms than for life, mixing with the 'natives' became more socially taboo, and acclimatisation to the local culture dwindled to a thin patina of exoticism.
  • Helmuth von Pannwitz, a German general who was placed in command of the Cossacks who defected over to the Germans to fight the Soviet Union. Due to the respect and understanding he always showed for his troops and his tendency to attend Russian Orthodox services with them, Pannwitz was very popular among his Cossack volunteers. The Cossacks even voted him as their ataman, or supreme commander. When Pannwitz surrendered and his troops were turned over to the Soviets, he chose to go with them, even when told that as a German he was not subject to repatriation and would be duly executed. The only thing preventing the whole thing from being a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming is the fact that the Cossack regiments under Pannwitz's command committed a number of atrocities against the civilian population, including several mass rapes, and routine summary executions. And, of course, continuing the Cossack tradition of Jewish pogroms.
  • Catherine the Great. Born a German Lutheran, she converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church in order to marry the Russian crown prince. Once she seized the throne from her husband, she fully embraced her adopted nation, expanding the size, influence, and progress of Russia.
  • In the 20th Century in Washington, DC, it was dogma among conservatives that the State Department was a nest of liberals/communists. Every time a Republican president was elected, it was hoped that the new Secretary of State they appointed would set things straight down there. Much to their chagrin, however, it was invariably discovered that the new boss had instead taken on his subordinates' colors. He had Gone Native.
    • This is likely a problem of ideology not tracking reality. There was a feeling in Britain for much of the 20th century that the foreign office was cynical and conservative and similar disappointment when Labour foreign ministers were often seen to have 'gone native'. The truth is that most state department/foreign offices tend to be run along very pragmatic lines. If you are an ideologue/idealist of some sort—you think the state department should do more to dismantle and oppose communist regimes, or you think the foreign office should have a hand in ousting dictators regardless of whether we have 'friendly' relations with them—you're bound to be disappointed by a pragmatic approach and conclude foreign policy is being run by your ideological opponents.
  • J. Hudson Taylor, a British missionary in China, wore Chinese clothing, wore his hair in the Manchu queue, and spoke Chinese to be able to be better accepted by the Chinese public.
    • Matteo Ricci, Jesuit priest and missionary, also mastered the Chinese language (including its complicated writing system), wore Chinese robes and was the first Westerner to visit the Forbidden City.
  • William Buckley, an escaped convict who spent several years living with Aborigines. The Australian Slang term "Buckley's chance" ("close to no chance") comes from his name.
  • Soldiers from any number of long-term occupying armies over the centuries have found themselves in settled lives, even marrying locals and having children, in the occupied countries. For example, it's on record that when the Roman legions were finally ordered back to Rome to defend the capital of the collapsing empire a lot of them quietly deserted to stay with their families.
  • William Adams also known as Miura Anjin, an English ship's pilot working for the Dutch who eventually became an adviser to Tokugawa Ieyasu and was responsible for setting up Dutch and English trading houses in Japan. He also served as the inspiration for the Blackthorne character in Shogun.
  • Ely Parker, chief of the Six Civilized Nations, was an assimilated American Indian. He fought in the American Civil War and was with Grant at Appomattox.
  • Henry "Papillon" Charriere reportedly spent some time with a native tribe in South America after one of his escapes from a French penal colony. He made friends with the chief, adopted a local lifestyle and subsistence, and married two women with whom he fathered children. However, there are doubts about how much of the story is true as Charriere is suspected of combining tales from other prisoners with his own and outright making some parts up for drama.
  • There was a hilarious Transylvanian Internet meme in the form of a log that detailed a Hungarian politician becoming more Romanian with every entry, as indicated by his knowledge of the language improving, but his style becoming more raw and primitive. (As you might have guessed, the two groups don't much like each other.)
  • T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), as an archeologist in Arabia, went native long before the war. He was chosen as a liaison to the Arab rebels because he knew their ways so well and could speak most of their dialects. Particularly, he was one of the few British officers who didn't speak Arabic with an Egyptian dialect, which gained him the respect of the (peninsular) Arab leaders. He was sent to organize the Arabs against the Turks to weaken the German-Turkish-Austrian alliance but felt very conflicted about the whole process because he knew that the British and French were not going to keep their wartime promise of a free, united Arab state. He asked for a transfer to get out of leading a fake revolution—when his request was denied, he attempted to make the revolution successful enough to stick. He failed. After the war, he left Arabia for good, changed his name to Shaw, and joined the RAF as a mechanic. Gone unnative?
  • Lafcadio Hearn had a knack at this. Born in Greece to a local mother and an Irish father, he ended up traveling from Ireland to America, where he became a newspaper writer. After stirring up scandal by marrying a black woman, Hearn spent ten years in New Orleans, fell in love with its Creole culture, and through his writings basically created the distinct character of the city. In 1890 he wound up in Japan, and six years later had become a naturalized citizen under the name Koizumi Yakumo. He married into a samurai family and spent the last eight years of his life writing over a dozen books about the country, introducing Western audiences to Japan while documenting his new homeland's myths and legends at a time it was advancing into modernity. Though he's fairly obscure in the West, Hearn/Yakumo is still held in high regard in Japan.
  • The Lombards, who conquered Italy in the 6th century, adopted Italian culture to the point that not even the Lombard language was spoken by the 8th century.
    • Same with the Manchus in China: they basically adopted Chinese culture and language, and even though many people in northern China claim to be ethnic Manchu, there are only about a dozen speakers of the Manchu language left.
  • The Native American woman Pocahontas adopted Christianity and English customs after being abducted by the settlers of Jamestown.
  • In reminiscence of a specific lord chancellor and archbishop of Canterbury who later paid his switch with his life, going native in a particular institution has been described as the "Becket effect" by economists (Thomas à Becket started his political career as a throughly loyal pawn of Henry II and a party boy. After his ascension to the archbishopric he became one of the Catholic Church's main champions in England, and an ascetic to boot). Generally, whenever a (supposed) pawn of a national government gets into a position like the European Commission or the European Central Bank, he quickly becomes a man of the club and ceases to be the lackey of his "principal", much to the chagrin of their promoters.
  • Hasekura Tsunenaga lead an expedition to Europe in 1614 at the behest of Date Masamune on the European-styled ship San Juan Bautista/ Date Maru. These explorations were the first Japan had ever made to explore the world and went to many Christian nations. Date was a patron of Japanese Christians, while Hasekura and many of the men who served under him as the ships crew were actually Christian. At least five of these crew members would opt to stay in Coria del Rio, a small town in Spain, rather than risk persecution and death as Christians in Japan. Many in the town today claim to be descendants of the crewmen, who have taken up the surname Japón (Japan), and a statue of Hasekura stands there.
  • The Timurids did this twice: they were a Central Asian steppe empire that eventually assimilated into Persian culture in the 14th century, and then in the 16th century, a Timurid king conquered much of India, forming the Mughal Empire that assimilated into Indian culture.
    • Steppe culture tends to do this whenever it forms an empire in settled lands. There are a number of reasons for this: the pasture is not suitable for their horses, the local culture is the only source of bureaucrats and siege engineers for further conquests, and the settled places are just plain rich and viands, concubines, and palaces are more fun then yurts. It is common though to maintain nominal deference to the Good Old Ways like building giant game preserves to hunt in or having horsetails as a flag.
  • The Peranakan Chinese of South East Asia are typically descended from Chinese traders who settled in what was then the Spice Islands or the East Indies (Nanyang to the Chinese). After a few generations their customs and cuisine absorbed a lot of Malay influences, going native although they do maintain distinct traditions based on their Chinese roots.
  • Many immigrants or expats will find themselves doing as the locals do, taking up new languages, studying for citizenship tests, and adopting local customs as to fit in better at their new home.


'Freaky Friday" FlipIn Another Man's ShoesGrass Is Greener
Freudian ExcuseHeel Face IndexGood Girl Gone Bad
Finding JudasBetrayal TropesGold Fever
God for a DayPlotsGoing to See the Elephant
God TestOlder Than FeudalismGold Fever
Lawrence of ArabiaImageSource/Live-Action FilmsLegend

alternative title(s): White Man Gone Native; When In Rome
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