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Many Native Americans say they have been forced to use fake names on Facebook because of a “real name” policy.
The social media giant requires users to identify themselves by the actual names they use in their everyday lives. However, several Native Americans say they’ve had to verify their traditional names multiple times over the years.
Shane Creepingbear, 32, says he was removed from Facebook several years ago and went through the steps to convince the company that Creepingbear is actually his last name.
“The policy is arbitrary and irrelevant,” he said in an interview with Yahoo News. “I want Facebook to do some self-reflection or acknowledge how they’ve marginalized people.”
Creepingbear, of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, said he was booted from the social network again last year, coincidentally on Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day.
This time, however, he was aggravated by the language of the message and refused to “jump through the hoops” to prove he is a real person.
"As unintentional as this whole name policy may be, it really fits into this larger narrative of the erasure of Native Americans from North and Central America,” he said. “It mirrors what society as a whole deems as a ‘normal name.’ I don’t want that part of the story to get lost.”
Creepingbear took to Twitter to air his grievances and included the hashtag #Facebook, to make sure it got their attention.
He also knew a few Facebook employees, who were able to get his account reactivated quickly.
“I’ve spoken to natives since then who have had to send multiple forms of ID,” he said. “I could of put Jane Smith in there and there wouldn‘t have been a question about my name, for example.”