President Bush Named 'Walking Eagle' by Native Americans?
By David Emery
Netlore Archive: According to this forwarded email, tribal elders at a Native American gathering (dis)honored President G.W. Bush by giving him the Indian name "Walking Eagle."
Description: Viral text / Joke
Circulating since: Nov. 2004 (this version)
Status: False (see details below)
Forwarded email contributed by Meredith Z., Feb. 8, 2005:
President Bush was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation last weekend in Arizona. He spoke for almost an hour on his future plans for increasing every Native American's present standard of living. He referred to his career as Governor of Texas, how he had signed "YES" 1,237 times - for every Indian issue that came to his desk for approval.
Although the President was vague on the details of his plan, he seemed most enthusiastic about his future ideas for helping his "red brother"
At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented the President with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name - Walking Eagle. The proud President then departed in his motorcade, waving to the crowds
A news reporter later inquired to the group of chiefs of how they come to select the new name 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.
Analysis: My guess is that the reason some folks have reacted to this obvious joke as though it might be true is that the set-up is so wordy and deadpan. The punchline, though funny, is simply false. President Bush has neither attended any American Indian Nation gatherings in recent months, nor has he been christened by tribal elders with the Indian name "Walking Eagle."
One reason we're so sure of this is that a variant of the same joke went around during the 2004 presidential race with Democrat contender Sen. John Kerry as its butt.
Email example contributed by Joy W., June 23, 2004:
Subject: "Running Eagle"
During a campaign tour of the Apache Nation Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said he had a plan to increase every Native American's income by $40,000 a year. Senator Kerry refused repeated requests for details of his plan, however. He also told the Apaches that during his Senate career, he has voted YES 9,637 for every Indian issue ever introduced.
Before his departure, the Apache Tribe presented the Presidential candidate a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, Running Eagle.
After Kerry left, tribal officials explained that Running Eagle is a bird so full of shit it can't fly.
You'll note that while Bush was allegedly given the name "Walking Eagle" in the 2005 version of the joke, Kerry was dubbed "Running Eagle" in the one above. There's no clear reason for the variation apart from the emergence of a transitional version dated September 2004 in which Kerry's alleged Indian name unaccountably morphs into "Walking Eagle."
Email example contributed by Gloria H., Sep. 28, 2004:
Subject: Walking Eagle
During a recent campaign tour of the Apache Nation, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said he had a plan to increase every Native American's income by $40,000 a year. Senator Kerry refused repeated requests for details of his plan. However, he also told the Apaches that during his Senate career, he has voted YES, 9,637 times... for every Indian issue ever introduced.
Before his departure, the Apache Tribe presented the Presidential candidate a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, "Walking Eagle".
After Kerry left, tribal officials explained that "Walking Eagle" is a bird so full of s--- it can't fly.
Update: As of mid-2008, a new version went into circulation with then-senator Barack Obama as the butt of the joke.
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Last updated: 03/03/05