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The Native Rival

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Geez, Kocoum, take a chill pill!

"I was the one they cheered before Wolverine. Now he's their hero — a stranger!"

The Mighty Whitey has arrived in the village of the Magical Native Americans and is Going Native. Thanks to his inherent specialness, he quickly becomes an Instant Expert at all the natives' skills and traditions, and is in a fair way to winning the respect, and even adulation, of the natives. Oh, and the hand of The Chief's Daughter too. At this rate, he may even become Of the People. Is there anybody that doesn't love this guy?

That's where the Native Rival comes in.

Almost always a Noble Savage (unless he's a Native American Jerk Jock instead), the Native Rival has been born and raised in the ways of his people and is frequently their greatest warrior—until the arrival of the Mighty Whitey. Expect him to be frustrated that his Hard Work Hardly Works, and outright hostile to the Mighty Whitey. Part of his hostility is likely rooted in a romantic rivalry over The Chief's Daughter, who at best he'll be the Hopeless Suitor or Unlucky Childhood Friend to and at worst be her Disposable FiancÚ, often via an Arranged Marriage. Alternatively, he may be the love interest's older brother or some other relation.

The Native Rival is generally the last to accept the white man, if he ever does so. If not, he'll either attempt to kill or betray the whitey, or else he will be killed himself. When he does accept the white man, this decision makes every remaining dissenter accept him as well.

Though it matches best with the Mighty Whitey trope, this is also found when the protagonist is not a white man, but is still an "outsider".


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    Comic Books 
  • In the comics of Jonah Hex, the eponymous character's saving of the Apache chief he was sold into slavery to earned him this trope.
  • In ElfQuest, Rayek of the Sunfolk, a group of brown-skinned elves with an Egyptian motif, challenges Cutter, a Wolfrider, part of a group of paler-skinned elves, and an outsider, over the love of Leetah, a Sunfolk woman using an ancient ritual. Their relationship is a giant Cock Fight.
  • Largo Winch: In one arc, Freddy finds himself in a Love Triangle with a blind woman, with the deputy warning him that she's his (it's entirely one-sided on his part). Note that while Freddy is originally Israeli, the other two are rural Americans. The deputy later commits Heroic Sacrifice to save the girl when she's taken hostage.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kerchak the dominant male gorilla in Tarzan. Unusually for this trope, Kerchak is Tarzan's foster father who shuns him, not because Tarzan is a Mightey Whitey, but out of grief for losing his own birth son. Kerchak actually warms up to Tarzan fairly early in the movie but only truly accepts him on his death bed as is the standard.
  • Kocoum in Disney's Pocahontas, mainly because he's annoyed at John Smith for getting romantically involved with his intended bride (the title character, who is also The Chief's Daughter). He ends up getting killed by Thomas (John Smith's friend) while trying to murder Smith.
  • Pips the fairy from FernGully: The Last Rainforest, though it's a milder example because Zach isn't instantly loved and isn't so much a Mighty Whitey as he is a hapless lumberjack accidentally shrunk down by Crysta's magic, who is treated as more of an oddity than as a savior. Though the fact that Crysta is impressed by him is enough to make Pips mad.
  • Fowler to Rocky in Chicken Run, even though he's a Grumpy Old Man and the Team Dad.
  • A turkey example in Free Birds. Jake and Ranger are both the Boisterous Bruiser, Dumb Muscle type, and Ranger doesn't appreciate Jake showing up suggesting war to a peaceful flock. They don't see eye-to-eye, at least at first.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Tsu'tey in Avatar, in a rather epic example. Tsu'tey is a jerk at first, but everything after that is entirely the hero's fault. The love interest was betrothed to the rival, after all. But, this being a Mighty Whitey film, Tsu'tey winds up dying serving the hero in the war with the RDA, after he basically forgives the hero for stealing his betrothed. A deleted scene (included in the DVD Special Edition) is even more egregious, in which Tsu'tey, mortally wounded, ends up passing on leadership of the Omatecaya to Sully!

  • Ghost Dance — a novel about the Battle of Wounded Knee — has a native who isn't impressed by the protagonist.
  • Vanir, the only elf that doesn't fawn over The Hero, in the Inheritance Cycle. Because of this, he's much beloved of the Hatedom.
  • Gender-flipped in Uglies, with newcomer Tally Youngblood as the Mighty Whitey, David, The Leader's Son as the love interest, and Shay, Tally's old friend who had joined the Smokies earlier, as the Native Rival. When the situation repeats itself in Pretties, with a new group and love interest, it's small wonder Shay turns evil.

    Live-Action TV 

    Western Animation 
  • Moyo, a younger male gorilla than Kerchak in the spin-off TV series The Legend of Tarzan. Unlike the typical trope, Moyo is the rival to Tarzan not because Tarzan is the Mightey Whitey but because Tarzan is the leader of their band whose human life distracts him from his duties as leader. He does have the typical bravado down though.
  • In an early episode of X-Men: The Animated Series, Wolverine gets thrown into the Arctic sea by Sabretooth, and is rescued by an isolated Inuit tribe. He quickly becomes a favorite of the tribe, being able to hunt and catch fish better than anyone else (albeit this is partially due to previous experience). The tribe's previous favorite son is naturally put out by this. And then he runs into Sabretooth...
  • Hahn, Princess Yue's fiancé, from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Though Sokka is a Water Tribesman, too, just a different Water Tribe. It is also notable in that while Sokka is the outsider, he is a rustic tribesman from a backwater village in an urban setting.

     Real Life 
  • Eastern European men tend to take this stance against wealthy (or not even so wealthy) Westerners allegedly coming to their countries to take advantage of the Sensual Slavs/Gold Digger/Mail-Order Bride stereotypes. This "rich Westerners coming to lure our women with money" mindset has contributed to blowing any actual occurrences of such people out of proportion and turn them into yet another stereotype.