What is Gone Native?
Gone Native is a series of comedic digital shorts that shines a satirical light on some of the weird, ignorant microaggressions that many Native Americans experience. In a time where much of the country assumes that Natives still live in teepees like it’s the 1700s, it’s obvious that as a society, we could use a tiny bit of education about what it means to be an American Indian in the 21st Century.
Series creator and enrolled Cowlitz Indian Tribal member Joey Clift (Spirit Rangers, Netflix) was inspired to create the series in 2018 when he realized that the only accessible resources to educate non-Native people about Native issues were long think-pieces. He self-funded the first Gone Native short “Telling People You’re Native American When You’re Not Native Is A Lot Like Telling A Bear You’re A Bear When You’re Not A Bear” to help non-Natives understand why they shouldn’t falsely claim Native identity.
Since the success of the first Gone Native short, Joey has created four more. In 2021 he partnered with Comedy Central to create an episode about Native sports mascots. In 2022 and 2023 he partnered with Comedy Central, Moore + Associates, LooseWorld and Pop Culture Collab’s Becoming America Fund to create episodes focused on the near complete lack of education about Native issues in U.S. schools, non-Natives misusing terms like “Spirit Animal,” and the harmful Indian Burial Ground trope often used in horror films.
The Gone Native series has won awards, including the 2019 Yes And… Laughter Lab, and has been featured by many press outlets, such as NPR’s All Things Considered, The Washington Post, The A.V. Club, Yahoo’s In The Know, Vulture and Salon. Episodes have screened everywhere from Just For Laughs to The Smithsonian Museum and have been viewed more than 7 million times across social media.