Facebook Doesn’t Believe in Indian Names by Dana Lone Hill
This is the message I received from Facebook when I tried to sign in. At first I had thought it was because I switched my name to my father’s last name, which I had gone by up until high school when I received my birth certificate and realized not only was my middle name different but my last name was actually my mother’s maiden name. There isn’t much difference word wise to both last names. My mother’s is Lone Hill, my father’s is Lone Elk. Even though word wise they are very different, the meanings are worlds apart as to how they were both given. And both sides of my family carry the name with pride. We also still practice the ceremony of individual name giving and I have often included my Lakota name in the parenthesis or nickname option on facebook. That name is Oyate Wachinyanpi, given to me by my father, meaning People Depend On. My children each have their own individual Lakota names as do my brother and his children, all given to us by our father, grandfather.
That being said Facebook shut me out for using my father’s and my mother’s last names. I switched it back to my mother’s last name and they let me sign on for a few hours, then shut me back out again when I was trying to comment. When I tried to log back in same message as before except they wanted proof of ID. To date I have sent 3 forms of ID, one with a picture, my library card, and a piece of mail in file form. I received a generated message to be patient while they investigate to see if I am a real person.
I had a little bit of paranoia at first regarding issues I had been posting about until I realized I wasn’t the only Native American this happened to. One friend was forced to change his name from his Cherokee alphabet to English. Another was forced to include her full name, and a few were forced to either smash the two word last names together or omit one of the two words in the last name. Oglala Lakota Lance Brown Eyes was bootd from facebook and when he turned in his proof of identification they changed his name to LAnce Brown. After contacting the Better Business Bureau and threatening Facebook with a class action lawsuit, they sent him an apology and let him use his given name again.
“They had no issue with me changing my name to a white man’s name but harassed me and others, forcing us to prove our identity while other people kept whatever they had. They let me change my name back but what about you and all the others they discriminated against. Our people need to know they can fight back. The more of us stand up, they will change.” Lance Brown Eyes