2 Funny Stories About What The Natives Really Said On Camera

September 2, 2014

In 1989, Nike came out with a commercial for their line of hiking shoes that was shot in Kenya using Samburu tribesmen.

Nike ad made up slogan Kenya commercial
Image: Nike

There are no words in the ad until the very end where one tribesman speaks in native Maa. As he speaks, the Nike slogan, ''Just do it,'' appears on the screen.

Well, there was just one problem. An anthropologist by the name of Lee Cronk at the University of Cincinnati said the Kenyan is really saying: ''I don't want these. Give me big shoes.''

Nike admitted the film crew improvised. Nike's Elizabeth Dolan replied with, ''We thought nobody in America would know what he said.''

The Western Movie, Cheyenne Autumn.

Cheyenne Autumn Screenshot

Director John Ford used Native American Navajo to portray the Cheyenne. This meant the dialogue that is supposed to be the Cheyenne language is actually Navajo which made little difference to general audiences, but for Navajo communities the film became very popular. This was because the Navajo actors were openly using ribald and crude language that had absolutely nothing to do with the film!

For example, during the scene where the treaty is signed, the chief's solemn speech just pokes fun at the size of the colonel's penis.

Academics now consider this an important moment in the development of Native Americans identity because they are able to mock Hollywood's historical interpretation of the American West.

Sources: NY Times, Wikipedia, Reddit

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