Chuck Norris and the Inadequacy of Cherokee Cuckservatism


The late Native American dissident thinker and scholar David Yeagley expressed a frustration with white conservatives’ befuddlement with regard to the place of Amerindians in their political mythology. The history of European-Americans’ often violent conquest of the West offers little in the way of ammunition to the likes of Constitution-fetishizing social justice warriors like Glenn Beck, so their response, Yeagley asserted, has been to ignore this history and Native Americans almost entirely – and this, according to Yeagley, represents a lost opportunity. Rather than whistling past the burial mound, he suggested, those whites interested in retaining what their forebears won for them on the battlefield ought, rather, to remember and honor the Indians’ bloody opposition.

[…] I have presented the Indian as the true talisman of the American spirit. Without the Indian, white America is incomplete. It lacks a land base. The Indian is that land base. Indian people have made every possible sacrifice to preserve our identity, to remain the distinct people we are. This is the lesson. Even now, white American patriotism is being moved to a legal, psychological reservation, where they can speak of American patriotism only in private, as if it is now only a dream of the past. The American flag, “Old Glory,” stands for an America that no longer exists. The true patriots have already lost, and don’t know it. They are already on a reservation, and can’t recognize it. The Indian has set an example of the sacrifice it takes to remain a distinct people. White Americans are not willing to do that, yet, and don’t even recognize the requirement, yet. I can only hope to hold the Indian up as the basic example of the price nationhood really costs.1

Yeagley also voices a deep resentment toward the white guilt regime for his own racial reasons.

You know, as an Indian, I find this [multiculturalism and open-borders defeatism] insufferable, because, okay, now you’re going to hand away what you took from me? You’re going to hand it out to other people, [without even putting up a] fight? We fought over this and the whites won. They outnumbered us, they outgunned us, and all that, alright, that’s the way war happens. […] But now, for America to act like it owes the rest of the world everything that it has achieved […] this insults me, this insults Indian people. […] None of these groups that America wants to give everything away to could have fought and won against Indians. And so I just find it impossible to watch America just sort of sheepishly hand over everything that it’s accomplished to the Third World, and here, the Indian just standing and watching, without even getting to fight.2

There is, however, one noteworthy and rather bizarre exception to the rule of mainstream conservative neglect of American Indians. Neoconservative poster boy Chuck Norris, who purports to be half-Cherokee, produced and starred in a highly popular television series that made an ultimately futile attempt to create a Native American cuckservative archetype. Walker, Texas Ranger, which aired on CBS from 1993 to 2001, concerns the law enforcement exploits of Cordell Walker, who, like the star, is half-Cherokee.

The hybrid Indian-cowboy protagonist, whose origin story involves his white mother and Indian father being murdered by white bigots, enshrines in his mongrel body the turbulent history of the struggle for civil rights in the United States – a struggle won, its legacy preserved by the rugged, two-fisted Texan fighter of evil-doing outlaws – a characterization that media scholar Michael Ray Fitzgerald compares to George W. Bush’s public persona. Unfortunately for the attempt at creating a new hybrid prototype of cuckservative hero, Norris’s intention to do honor to his character’s native heritage by imbuing the program with an ersatz Cherokee spirituality would earn the star-producer no thanks:

Walker incorporates ostensibly Indian religious rituals in order to deepen the psychology of the character as well as to make him appear more convincing as an Indian and, perhaps more importantly, to supply him with supernatural powers. The incorporation of these religious rituals into the series would create difficulties for Norris, however: for one thing, they offended Cherokees because they were entirely fake; for another, they offended some of Norris’s “born-again” constituency who harbored deep hostility to “New Age” religion. Walker’s writers freely invented religious rituals that have no analogue in native culture; some Cherokee scholars found this insulting, especially in view of the fact that Norris himself claims to be half Cherokee. […]

Walker can become a native anytime he likes by performing a quasi-native ritual or simply by putting himself in a trance. In an episode titled “On Sacred Ground” (season 2; air date March 11, 1995), Walker becomes a shaman. Walker, deep in the forest, dons an Apache-style bandanna […]

After achieving the proper mental state, Walker proceeds to walk on hot coals. This is not and never has been an American Indian practice. The program’s producers here have conflated American Indian culture with Hindu culture in a sort of New Age stew: one could say they literally got their Indians mixed up.

“Some conservative Christians took offense to Walker’s New Age spiritual practices,” Fitzgerald recounts. “By season 4 these were abandoned in favor of references to Christianity because Norris himself was uncomfortable with them. At this point Norris had ‘recommitted’ himself to evangelical Christianity.”3 The fact of the matter is that, even if the religious observances depicted in Walker, Texas Ranger had been rigorously researched, some critical busybody still would have been offended on the grounds of exploitation and cultural appropriation. If anything, the hodgepodge Walker character encapsulates everything that is wrong with cuckservatism: misrepresentation of history, kitschy anti-racist virtue-signaling, violent confrontation as a formulaic behavior pattern, the self-defeating limitations of civic nationalism in reconciling ethnic rivalries, superstition as a basis for governmental policy, the dysgenic consequences of racial amalgamation – and, last but not least, bad taste in partners.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.


  1. Papaherakles, Pete. “What a Brave American Indian Can Teach Us About Nationalism”. The Barnes Review vol. 20, no. 6 (November/December 2014), p. 54.
  2. Yeagley, David. “David Yeagley: Native American Patriot Speaks Out About Patriotism and White Guilt” (July 23, 2010):
  3. Fitzgerald, Michael Ray. Native Americans on Network TV: Stereotypes, Myths, and the “Good Indian”. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014, pp. 158-166.

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