Obama Named 'Walking Eagle' by Native Americans?

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Walking Eagle Nickname for President

Obama Walking Eagle
Netlore Archive: Viral joke alleges that President Barack Obama was given the Indian name 'Walking Eagle' while addressing a gathering of Native Americans. Via Facebook

Description: Viral text / Joke
Circulating since: Nov. 2004 (including previous variants)
Status: False

2013 Example of Walking Eagle Facebook Posting

As posted on Facebook, July 3, 2013:

President BARACK OBAMA was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation two weeks ago in upstate New York.

He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American's present standard of living. He referred to his time as a U.S. Senator and how he had voted for every Native American issue that came to the floor of the Senate.

Although President Obama was vague about the details of his plans, he seemed most enthusiastic and spoke eloquently about his ideas for helping his "Red sisters and brothers".

At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented Obama with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, "Walking Eagle".

The proud President Obama accepted the plaque and then departed in his motorcade to a fundraiser, waving to the crowds.

A news reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to the President. They explained that "Walking Eagle" is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer fly.


2008 Example of the Walking Eagle Email

Forwarded email text contributed by P. Padgett, Aug. 28, 2008

Senator Barack Obama was invited to adress a major gathering of the American Indian nation two weeks ago in upstate New York. he spoke of his future plans for increasing every native Americans standard of living, should he one day become president. He referred to his positive voting record on Native American issues as a member of the senate. Although the senator was vauge about the details of his plan he seemed very enthusiastic about his future ideas for helping his "red brothers and sisters". At the end of his speech the tribes presented the senator with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name-" Walking Eagle". The proud senator then departed to his motorcade, smiling and waving to the crowd. After his departure a local news reporter who was interviewing a group of chiefs who represented the Indian nations at the conference asked how they had selected the name they had given the senator, and it's meaning. They explained that "Walking Eagle" is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer fly.


Analysis of the Walking Eagle Rumor

This anecdote isn't new, nor is Barack Obama the only U.S. president or presidential candidate who has supposedly been dubbed "Walking Eagle" by Native American elders. It is suspicious at face value that Obama would use the phrase "red sisters and brothers" as it is potentially offensive.

Previous versions in 2004 targeted Senator John Kerry at a campaign appearance in front of the Apache nation after promising each tribal member $40,000 a year and touting his yes votes on thousands of bills benefiting Native Americans. They gave him the name of Running Eagle, with the same punchline.

Then in 2005, President George W. Bush was described at a Native American gathering as in the Obama version, touting his gubernatorial signing of legislation in Texas and using the phrase "red brother," which is a potentially offensive phrase. He was purported to have been named Walking Eagle with the same punchline.

This joke is likely to continue to circulate targeting present and future national leaders.