Dog The Bounty Hunter Accused Of Exploiting Indigenous Culture — But Won’t Help Missing Native Women

Photo: YouTube / Instagram
Dog The Bounty Hunter, Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie

Dog the Bounty Hunter's involvement in the search for Gabby Petito's boyfriend — and the person of interest in her homicide — Brian Laundrie has generated huge publicity for the reality TV star.

But the case has also shined a light on the lack of attention given to missing Indigenous women and other people of color.

And one notable absense from these cases is Dog himself, who so often references his alleged Native American heritage. 

Is Dog The Bounty Hunter Native American? 

Dog has previously claimed that his mother was half Chiricahua Apache and seems to strongly identify with Native Americans, often wearing feathers in his hair and traditional Native American jewelry.

Dog also used this claim as a defense when he was accused of racism — following alleged use of the n-word. 

RELATED: Dog The Bounty Hunter Claims He Found Fresh Campsite Where Brian Laundrie Could Have Been Hiding

"I have never been a racist. I'm 33 1/2 percent Apache," he said.

However, there are many Native Americans who refute Dog’s insistence that he or his mother is part of their ethnicity. 

Instead they see it as a marketing tool for Dog to exploit Native American culture in a push to gain more eyes for his television show and overall internet presence. 

There is even a claim that Dog's mother was a Polish immigrant who spent so much time on a Native American reservation that she began claiming she was indigenous. 

RELATED: Human Remains Dogs Join Search For Brian Laundrie At The Carlton Reserve As FBI Focus Their Hunt

It was Dog’s insertion into the Gabby Petito case, and his search for Brian Laundrie that grabbed people’s attention and subsequently gave him more press.

Many people speculated that Dog was only joining the manhunt for publicity, and that he may have been doing more harm than good.

Dog The Bounty Hunter has been silent on cases of missing Indigenous women. 

Regardless of Dog's motives behind getting involved in the case, or the truth about his heritage, there is certainly an argument to be made that he could be bring publicity to cases of missing Indigenous women.

The National Crime Information Center reported that, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls. 

Though the US Department of Justice’s federal missing person database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases.

The growing movement, the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), stands for all of the missing Native women whose cases have gone without any urgency or coverage.

Much of the reason why law enforcement doesn't put together more of a search effort for missing Native Americans is because many Natives don’t live on tribal lands or reservations, where when someone goes missing in the community, tribal law enforcement come together to search for them.

RELATED: Dog The Bounty Hunter Calls Brian Laundrie ‘A Gentleman’ And Says He Killed Gabby Petito While Calming Her Down

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Many Native Americans who live in urban cities simply fall into the “pipeline of vulnerability,” which consists of people of color, people living in poverty, and people coming out of systemic institutions, like jail or foster care. 

According to Janeen Comenote, executive director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, “poverty remains one of the most challenging aspects to contemporary urban Indian life."

"While I do recognize that a sizable chunk of our population[s] is solidly middle class, every Native person I know has either experienced poverty or has a family member who is. Housing and homelessness remain at the top-of-the-list of challenges." 

Much of the news coverage that does surround missing Native American women are almost never taken seriously.

Law enforcement often turns a blind eye to these cases and does little to assist, while media outlets will often spin the cases in a negative light, making it out to be the victim's fault.

TV personalities, like Dog the Bounty Hunter, who actively joined the search for Brian Laundrie after it had attracted millions of media coverage, could’ve brought the same amount of attention to the missing Indigenous women across the country who are in need of the same manpower.

RELATED: Former Prosecutor Reveals Details Of How Gabby Petito’s Body Was Found After Analyzing Crime Scene Footage

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.