Going Native

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They don't call him Lawrence of Wales.
Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi.[1]
—Latin Proverb, commonly shortened as "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

There are plenty of people who believe that modern life is rubbish and would like to escape it and go live off the fat of the land. The Going Native trope plays to this fantasy by having a character lifted out of his typical environment and thrust into a new one, only to become a part of that new world. Characters who start as a Jerkass with heavy prejudices against the native group are especially prone to Going Native. They might even be sent to bring destruction or 'higher culture' in the first place. As soon as they feel quite comfortable, possibly having fallen in love with a local girl and/or learned big lessons from a mentor figure, count on their old life to come messing with them. Optionally there might be an episode of being tempted back to their evil old ways. Or they might just rise to the occasion as a Mighty Whitey. Going Native is not restricted to known traditional cultures. It might involve characters involved with aliens, orcs, mobsters,... you name it. Overlaps may occur with Becoming the Mask. Oddly, it is almost never used in cases where it is the audience's group being joined by a more advanced figure, such as the Fifth Column in V.

If the character becomes more successful in his new culture than he could have ever been back home, it's Like a Fish Takes to Water.

Compare: Raised by Natives, Raised by Orcs, Raised by Wolves, Mighty Whitey, Becoming the Mask, Foreign Correspondent and Lost in Character. See also Of the People.

Examples of Going Native include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Jyu-Oh-Sei draws heavily from this, with the very much civilized lead eventually outdoing the natives of Chimera.
    • But then, he was genetically engineered to be so, which brings up a lot of nature vs. nurture questions.
  • Manly Chivalrous Pervert Sanji of One Piece runs into this problem when he lands on an island full of transvestites. He resists best he can but he's briefly put into a dress and running along the shoreline with all the other 'girls.' He breaks free, but the whole thing is just a little traumatic again.
  • Principal Kuno in Ranma ½ spent a few years living in Hawaii and came back to Japan as a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing, ukelele-playing, coconut-eating wacko who speaks in Gratuitous English.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Blueberry (a french cowboy comic) goes to live with the indians who rescue him after an accident, tries to marry the chief's daughter, and helps the tribe escape from the U. S. Army. It is worth noting that it was hard for him to get back to his people, since he was (falsely) accused of stealing $500.000 and trying to kill President Grant.
  • In the Tintin comics The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, the titular reporter comes across Ridgewell, an English explorer who ended up living with natives in the South American rain forest.
  • Down features two police officers who both go undercover in the drug trade and find themselves becoming part of the criminal underworld.
  • Sleeper is about an undercover secret intelligence agent working to bring down a massive super villain cartel - unfortunately, the bad life seems to agree with him...
  • The early Aliens vs. Predator comics featured a woman who ended up becoming a Predator warrior. And sucked horribly at it, to the comics' credit.
  • Ultimate X-Men had the "cop infiltrates gang" variant played in reverse—Wolverine joined the X-Men to assassinate Professor X, but found himself seduced by Xavier's visions (and Jean Grey's barely legal charms) and ended up joining the team.
  • Swedish comic Johan Vilde (Johan Savage), is about a Swedish boy in 17th century west Africa, who is raised as the son of a prominent merchant from one of the larger tribes/nations in the region.
  • Nolan, Invincible's father, originally came to Earth to blend in and slowly take over. He hated his assignment at first but found himself actually liking Earth and ended up with a wife and son.
  • Shuna in Elf Quest is a human girl who decides to become part of the elf tribe. A few years later, puberty really kicks in and she goes looking for a husband in nearby indigenous human tribes - a whole new world compared to her previous medieval city life.
  • Many, many examples in Elf Quest. Leetah becoming a Wolfrider to be with Cutter is the most prominent one. Any of the Sunfolk or Gliders that join the Wolfriders, the Jackwolfriders or the Forevergreen group count; Suntop taking on a Wavedancer appearance to be with Brill; Shuna (a medieval human) being adopted by Wolfriders; Little Patch, Winnowill and later Mender exploring human society (since the elves consider humans savages, and vice versa); Lehrigen becoming a woodland stalker to hunt elves; Rayek living as a Go-Back for a while; and last but not least, the Jackwolves living around Sorrow's End mating with the Wolfriders' wolves.
  • Superman was a baby at the time of his emigration to earth and hardly had a choice in the matter, but still applies, since even after he learns about and accepts his Kryptonian roots, he refuses to define himself as a Kryptonian instead of a human.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Dances with Wolves, in which a Union officer joins the Sioux and ultimately fights with them against the Union army.
  • A Man Called Horse, in which a white man joins the Sioux. It's considerably more honest about less pleasant aspects of Sioux traditional life, such as the torture of captives and ritual self-mutilation, than Dances With Wolves.
  • In The Last Samurai, an American Civil and Indian War veteran is taken captive by samurai and goes native during the Meiji Restoration.
  • The protagonist of Atlantis: The Lost Empire does this at the end of the film and chooses not to go to the surface with his companions. His teammates actually all had to fake his death by telling the papers that he actually drowned when the submarine exploded, and that none of them actually found his body, in order to explain his absence (for the two villains, they were both declared "missing").
    • He also became their new leader as well, since their old one was murdered by one of said villains, and he ends up marrying his daughter, who was next in line for the throne.
  • At the end of Stargate, Daniel Jackson settles down with Sha'ri happily.
  • Apocalypse Now. The previous guy sent to kill Kurtz, played by Scott Glenn. Although he actually goes through with the mission, it's also implied that Willard is seduced as well.

Willard: They were gonna make me a Major for this, and I wasn't even in their fuckin' army anymore.

  • Doomsday. With the slightly unusual variant that, thanks to You Kill It, You Bought It, the hero ends up going native as leader of an army of Glaswegian cannibals.
  • Dr. Rae Crane does this at the end of Medicine Man.
  • Doc Brown seems to be getting along just fine in the Old West in Back To The Future III—until he runs into Buford Tannen, anyway.
  • Harvey Keitel's character shows signs of this in The Piano.
  • The Jesuit Priest in Black Robe.
  • T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia; originally sent as an envoy to negotiate an alliance with various Arab leaders, he begins to be more interested in their own revolution than how he can get them to fight for the British. See the Real Life entry.
  • The movie Battle for Terra.
  • Wikus in District 9 had this problem, although in his case it was due to a Baleful Polymorph and not a crashed ship.
  • Avatar does this -- in a more futuristic way: the researchers interact with the Na'vi indirectly, via the remote-mind-controlled "Avatar" bodies. One of them literally goes native after transferring his brain into the Na'vi body. Another attempts to upload her brain entirely into her Avatar after being shot, but dies before it can happen.
  • Outlander ends with Kainan choosing to destroy his rescue beacon in favor of remaining on Earth.
  • In The Searchers, when the kidnapped girl is found she has completely assimilated into the society of her captors.
  • Averted in Pocahontas where John Smith actually ends up going back to England due to a severe injury he received while protecting the Indian chief from being assassinated by the villain. Played straight with Percy the pug, however.
    • Invoked with John Rolfe at the end of the sequell.
    • Of course in Real Life it was Pocahontas who 'went native' as an English gentlewoman.
  • The 13th Warrior, like the book, features an Arab who goes native amongst Vikings.
  • In Farewell to the King, Nick Nolte stars as a WW 2 deserter who becomes adopted by a tribe of Dayaks in Borneo, who consider him divine because of his blue eyes.
  • How John Carter becomes "John Carter of Mars".


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The trope codifier, A Man Called Horse is about a white man captured by Native Americans who eventually assimilates into their culture. It is mandatory reading in most grade school literature classes in the US.
  • In Dan Abnett's His Last Command from the series Gaunt's Ghosts, Gaunt's 'forced' Junior Commissar Ludd betrays his trust by reporting him in the eve of battle even though Gaunt fully expects him to do so.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels are full of Terran citizens going native on Darkover; Andrew Carr and Magdalen Lorne are notable examples. There are also Darkovans who try to go Terran.
  • In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Kurtz goes into Africa and after a spectacular back story breakdown, goes native in horrifying ways, inverting the European life he came from. This book would later have its ultimate adaptation in the Vietnam movie Apocalypse Now.
  • Stanislaus Grummann from The Subtle Knife spent the rest of his days as a Siberian shaman.
  • In the Liaden Universe books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, this is an occupational hazard for the Scouts, whose task of exploring new worlds often results in them spending long periods immersed in alien cultures. Many an experienced scout, even among those who resisted the temptation, has retained traits from a culture where he or she felt particularly at home.
  • Animorphs
    • In The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor flees to Earth, permanently becomes a human, marries Loren, and fathers a son before the Ellimist returns him to his Andalite form and the StarSword.
    • In The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, Aldrea permanently morphs into a Hork-Bajir, marries Dak Hamee, and has Hork-Bajir children. When she "appears" in the main series (as a kind of psychic back-up-disk downloaded into Cassie's brain), this is the source of a lot of friction between her and Andalite team-member Ax.
  • In Stephenie Meyer's adult novel The Host, the alien invaders, the so-called Souls, are physically inserted into a host body and eradicate the host's mind. Except in the titular character's case, in which the host's mind is still present and they both think inside Melanie's body. Later, the ragtag group of human survivors finally finds another group of survivors with their own dual-minded alien/human, who literally refers to the situation as "going native."
  • In JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Backstory, the Black Numenoreans who escaped the destruction of the island-realm often ended up living in cultures loyal to Mordor, and becoming their leaders. At least some of the Nazgûl belonged to this group of people, as did the Mouth of Sauron.[2]
    • Also in the back story, one of the Kings of Gondor does this when sent as a prince to the ancestors of the Rohirrim. His son's ascension to the throne leads to civil war, and the death of most of the royal line (hastening the end of the line).
    • The Elven-Kings of Mirkwood (Oropher and later Thranduil) were originally Sindarin elves who came to the Woodland Realm after the sinking of the sub-continent Beleriand, and ended up adopting the more 'earthy' customs of the Sylvan elves, to the point that Thranduil's son Legolas identifies himself purely as a Sylvan elf.
  • Jimbo in Cloud of Sparrows came to Japan from America as a Christian missionary; after being badly injured and subsequently rescued by a group of children, he ended up becoming a Buddhist monk who speaks fluent Japanese.
  • Ho Sa in the Conqueror books. When he first joins the Mongols in Lords of the Bow, he is initially reluctant, but later catches himself enjoying his new life. By Bones of the Hills, he doesn't want to go back.
  • John Blackthorne from James Clavell's Shogun is an English sailor shipwrecked in old Japan. Unlike his shipmates, he decides to learn the language and cultural skills needed to fit into the unfamiliar society, and eventually decides that it's preferable to the society he came from in a number of ways. He's no Mighty Whitey: he has a lot of difficulty learning the new ways, becomes only moderately competent, does not impress people, and is usually irrelevant.
  • Liet-Kynes and later Paul Atreides and Jessica adopting the Fremen ways in Dune.
  • In Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem,The Baron of Costine a mountain noble in Europe migrates to New France and goes native to the point of taking an Indian bride-by Indian law. In turn the couple comes back to Europe and she goes native in Europe, becomes a Grande Dame and marries her husbund again, this time Catholic style.
  • Quite a few of Rudyard Kipling 's India stories are an exploration of the concept.
  • In George Orwell's early novel, Burmese Days, Flory admires Burmese culture more than he does his own, and despises the British Empire. It looks like he might be going this route, but the trope is subverted when he takes command of the police and breaks up a riot intent on destroying the Club and killing Ellis.
    • The liteary critic V. S. Pritchett once described the period Orwell spent living as a tramp as "going native in his own country."
  • In Good Omens, Aziraphale and Crowley, an angel and a demon respectively, go native with humans in general.
  • Amusingly inverted in Neil Gaiman's Sherlock Holmes pastiche, A Study in Emerald, where the Great Old Ones returned to Earth centuries ago, but instead of wiping out the humanity, or forcing us to adapt their ways instead assumed leadership in human terms, resulting in a pseudo-Victorian world where most people lead entirely normal lives despite of that most of the crowned heads of Europe have an unpleasant number of tentacles under them, and even consider their existence a blessing that makes the civilization possible at all.
  • Jacob Wheeler does this in Into the West after marrying a Lakota woman. They and their children shift between Native and white society as the series progresses. Jacob's cousin, Naomi, also goes native when she marries a Cheyenne chief, Prairie Fire.
  • Carrie in Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance novels. After bonding with Kusac and living on his world for a while, she goes native.
  • In The Years Of Rice And Salt, a Japanese ronin ends up with a Native American tribe and assimilates into their culture.
  • In Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong from The Things They Carried, Mary Anne Bell is the girlfriend of a young medic who falls in love with Vietnam and eventually crosses over to the other side, becoming part of the land.
  • In C. J. Cherryh's The Faded Sun: Shon'jir, Niun and Melein give Sten Duncan a choice: Go Native or die. And in her Foreigner novels, protagonist Bren Cameron essentially does this. Which is not taken too well at first by the (human) government he was supposedly representing, or the people close to him he now is not able to see except very occasionally.
  • Marat Lon in Star Trek: Mere Anarchy. A human scientist assigned to help restore the devastated planet Mestiko, he remains when a reactionary coup forces the Federation and other aliens off the planet. He disguises himself as a native, but doesn't do a very good job of blending in. Fortunately, he is discovered by native factions sympathetic to his cause, who instruct him in how to pass as a Mestiko resident. He transforms over time from an arrogant, somewhat patronizing outsider to someone with a deep concern for the Mestiko peoples. He takes a native name and the woman who helped educate him in the local culture becomes his wife.
  • Erika Hernandez in Star Trek: Destiny.
  • In Rosemary Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers, a young Roman's sister is kidnapped by the Saxons. Years later, he's captured in turn and finds her married to her kidnapper and mother to his son. She helps him escape, but refuses to go with him.
  • Basil Fotherington-Thomas (from the Molesworth books) fills the Kurtz role in Teddy Bear's Picnic, a bizarre Alternate History retelling of Apocalypse Now by Kim Newman. Just William also fits as the soldier sent to kill Fotherington-Thomas who ends up joining him.
  • In the Ursula K. Le Guin short story "Solitude," Ren, the daughter of a Hainish anthropologist doing fieldwork on the planet Eleven-Soro goes spectacularly native after living for years in Sorovian society, such as it is. She chooses to remain there even after her mother and brother return to Hain, meaning that she'll never see them again.
  • In the Belisarius Series Damodara begins to adopt Rajput ways in the realization that they were the best warriors that the Malwa Empire could field (except for the Kushans with whom they were roughly equal) and flattering them was a way to gain military success and not coincidentally gain the throne.
  • The 13th Warrior features an Arab going native amongst Vikings. It's a rare example of an Eastern character going native amongst Westerners.
  • One of the characters in The Laundry Series is actually an Eldritch Abomination known as the Eater of Souls who was stuck in a human body and trained to pass as an Englishman. The ones doing the training ended up doing too good a job of it.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen, originally a native of the main continent of Westeros, is married off to Khal Drogo, a warlord of the nomadic Dothraki people. Throughout the course of the first book, she learns the customs of the Dothraki people, begins to dress in their style, learns the Dothraki language, and generally starts to come out of her shell. Her brother Viserys doesn't fare as well, continuing to dress in silks and he is offended by Dany's attempts to dress him in Dothraki clothing.
    • Jon Snow is forced to do this to the wildlings, becoming a Fake Defector. Ultimately subverted, as he never becomes the mask, and run off when he needs to kill an innocent civilian.
  • In 1632 Uptimers and Downtimers go native with each other. Uptimers intrigue as much as any small state while some of them go so far as to marry into nobility and take titles. Downtimers in the meantime start adopting uptime technology. The effect is the same as if a new conqueror had arrived on the scene and carved out a niche until every other state had to start adapting to it.
  • In Honor Harrington Honor partially goes native on Grayson. To the point of appearing in court at Manticore in a Grayson dress.
  • In an aversion in Vorkosigan Saga Cordelia Naismath stubbornly(and sometimes sanctimoniously)refuses to go native on Barrayar. Except when she stops a civil war by presenting the pretender's head to his followers, thus proving her Barrayaran credentials.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Helo/Athena from Battlestar Galactica Reimagined fits.
  • Gabriel/Trickster from Supernatural fits this. He ran away and 'joined the Pagans', only to eventually go up against Lucifer because he actually quite likes humans and doesn't particularly want them to die. He's also shown to understand sarcasm, have conversations with people and blink regularly (Castiel had difficulty with those at first).
  • In the later series of Northern Exposure, Joel ends up living with native villagers on the banks of the river.
  • Happens multiple times in Stargate SG-1:
    • In A Hundred Days, Jack O'Neill gets trapped on a planet after a meteor hits the Stargate and buries it. He gets a quick Time Skip montage wherein he gets married and settles down, only to get rescued by the end of the episode.
    • In Fallen, Daniel Jackson wakes up on a strange planet with no memory of his previous life (before or after he Ascended To A Higher Plane Of Existence) and becomes a part of the local tribe. The status quo is returned, along with his memory, by the end of the episode ... again.
    • Also happens with Ba'al to a lesser extent. After the Goa'uld are no longer the threat they once were, he hides out on Earth, developing a fondness for the culture. He's still evil, of course, but he actually picks up enough human traits that he becomes a better villain than the rest of the Goa'uld combined.
    • Long time SG-1 antagonist Harry Maybourne eventually gets marooned on a low tech planet, where he uses his knowledge to make himself king. He finds that he likes being the king, and that he's good at it, so much so that he is very popular among the people he's ruling because he has done so much to make their lives better. When he gets the opportunity to return to civilization, he opts to stay.
  • In the second season of Heroes, Mohinder works with Mr. Bennet to take down the Company from within, but eventually becomes convinced that the Company is really the heroic organization and Bennet was misleading him.
  • In an episode of the revived Doctor Who, a stranded alien has been covertly living as a Welsh politician, and, even as she plots to blow up the entire Earth to facilitate her escape, grumbles that the London-based government wouldn't notice if Wales slid into the sea. She then immediately labels the moment as an example of this trope.
    • You might even consider the Doctor a minor variation of the trope. In all his 1100-odd years, he sure has grown fond of us humans. He still loves to travel, and it a little too alien to really be considered a 'native', but he loved everything about our culture, clothes, food and people.
  • Lost: Locke "goes native" by leaving the 815 camp to join the Others. Also, in season 5, several of the 815ers join the Dharma Initiative and lead happy lives in the 1970s.
  • Zeb Macahan from How the West Was Won.
  • Thanks to Phlebotinum-induced amnesia, Captain Kirk winds up accidentally going native in the ST:TOS episode "The Paradise Syndrome". Being original Star Trek, this of course is reversed by the end of the episode.
    • Captain Kirk does this again in "A Piece Of The Action" when he adopts the natives ways by making himself the biggest don on the planet. Nobody's gonna put the bag over him any more!
  • Data does the same in Star Trek: The Next Generation when he walks into a pre-industrial village with damage-induced amnesia.
  • Even though it is done through a Lotus Eater Machine (a small alien probe), in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard does this in "The Inner Light". He lives out a long, full life in the span of an episode (and approximately 15 minutes in-universe).
  • An episode of Tales from the Darkside was called "Going Native", and involved an alien woman settling down on Earth.
  • Played for Laughs on Mad TV when an Arab terrorist sleeper agent (played by the Jewish Ike Barinholtz) becomes completely Americanized to the point of becoming Jewish, speaking with a perfect "Goofy White Guy" American accent and basically living the American Dream as just another suburbanite. He's called out on this by his contact...who then becomes mesmerized by the vibrating chair, built-in remote and TiVo, promptly adopting the same accent and turning his turban into a fruit bowl to become the agent's "old friend."
  • In Rome, Lucius Vorenus is complimented by a high-class Roman visiting Egypt for averting this. He stays true Roman while other officials in Cleopatra's court, including the triumvir Mark Antony, go native, a sacrilegious offense to roman eyes. See Real Life below for more info on Antony's fate.
  • The Tams in Firefly.
    • Nandi, former Companion turned tough-talking madam of a rim-world brothel. Certain episodes suggest this may have slowly been happening to Inara, the show's other companion.
    • More sinister is the sole survivor of a Reaver attack on a ship. He begins to act as a Reaver because he can't mentally handle the things he saw, so he becomes the horror he witnessed.
  • The first Kosh seems to have gone native with humanoids in Babylon 5, in a sense. To the point of helping to assassinate his successor to prevent him from listening to Sheridan's plans.
    • Delenn was accused of doing this by other Minbari and in fact she had, biologically speaking. Culturally she remained a Minbari. Racism aside it is perhaps a legitimate fear that a diplomat will do this if in contact to long and so the Grey Council may have not been totally irrational.
      • Although Delenn's relationship with the human John Sheridan is part of what gets her accused of this, in the end he's the one who ends up moving to Minbar with her where they raise their son - who presumably ends up culturally Minbari despite being biologically mostly human.
    • In the other direction was Sinclair, a "Minbari not born of Minbari" and less dramatically Marcus Cole.
    • Accusations of going native from extremists are common in Babylon 5.
  • Sleepers, a BBC comedy-drama originally shown in 1991, tells the story of two Soviet 'sleeper' agents sent to Britain in the 1960s but all but forgotten about until 1991. Meanwhile the two agents have Gone Native and now consider themselves British, and the series depicts their attempts to evade the KGB who want to bring them back to the Soviet Union.
  • In one episode of Burn Notice, Michael jokingly accuses the security chief for the Pakistani consulate of going native after finding him in an Indian restaurant.

Waseem: Oh, I like the chicken tikka.

  • In Vikings, Athelstan goes full Norse after being captured by Ragnar, going from a quiet monk in season 1 to a Viking raider in season 2.

Videogames[edit | hide]

  • In an "undercover cop switches sides" example of the trope, the John Woo game Stranglehold features Jerry Ying, Tequila's partner, who has gone undercover with Wong's Dragon Claw syndicate. The more time he spends around Wong's crew, however, the more he begins to identify with them instead of the cops he's supposed to be one of. It all comes to a head when Wong orders Jerry to kill Tequila and Wong's own daughter Billie, who Tequila loves and had a daughter by. Tequila survives, but Billie is not so lucky, setting up a furious showdown between partners as Tequila seeks vengeance for Billie.
  • Many characters with Multiple Endings in the Star Ocean games whose relationship with someone from another planet gets to a certain point will choose to live on that planet with them.
  • In the Worlds of Ultima game The Savage Empire, several recruitable party members are Expys from previous games who have gone through this trope, with amnesia to boot.
  • In Splinter Cell: Double Agent, the NSA constantly worries about Sam Fisher going native and actively joining John Brown's Army. In the bad ending, that's exactly what he does. In the neutral ending, that's what everyone thinks he does.
  • In Dragon Warrior VII, Kiefer abandons your party to join the Deja tribe of the past. It is strongly hinted that Aira of the Deja tribe of the present (who joins your party) is a descendant of Kiefer.
  • Mass Effect 2 has a rare inversion of this: A yahg, a race kept in tribal conditions on a locked down planet manages to escape and become the foremost information broker in the galaxy.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • The Noob featured a strip where a mod is trying to reason with a player who was camping a named creature for so long, he believed he was one of the zone's monsters. Lord Ironman "gone native" for a while, too.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In the Futurama episode "Obsoletely Fabulous," Bender is stranded on an island with outdated robots and goes native by replacing his metal exterior with wood. He then launches a guerrilla war against civilization. But it turns out to be all a dream induced by the upgrade procedure he is undergoing.
  • Somewhat parodied on Recess when TJ gets captured by the kindergartners for the afternoon and becomes assimilated into their primitive kindergartner society.
  • The Maximals in Beast Wars are Mechanical Lifeforms who recently evolved the ability to copy organic life. But by the end of the show, one teammate prefers Earth's organic nature and wants to stay there as a tiger. Also, in Beast Machines, the premise becomes changing Cybertron to model Earth, which both Megatron and Rhinox are vehemently against.
  • The Road to El Dorado is about two Spaniards who wind up discovering El Dorado and masquerade as gods. One is only in it for the gold, but the other grows attached to the people, and ultimately protect them from the Cortez's expedition.
  • A common plot element on American Dad, where Stan would go full-throttle on various cultures or lifestyles. Lampshaded by Francine in "Stan of Arabia".


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Older Than Feudalism: Among the many accusations made by Octavian's propaganda against his no-longer-needed colleague Mark Antony one of the worst and most effective was that Antony had "gone native", was styling himself like an Egyptian and abandoning Roman customs and traditions, an unforgivable crime to the proud and conservative Romans. This would be exploited by Octavius to eventually trigger "The final war of the The Roman Republic" and later form the The Roman Empire when Antony and Cleopatra were defeated and driven to suicide.
    • The most damning thing, as far as the Romans were concerned, was that Antony had, on his own authority, held a triumphal march in Alexandria. (It was Serious Business, since triumphal marches were supposed to celebrate the Glory of Rome and needed to be approved by the Senate—if a renegade U.S. general had announced that he had awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to the president of Iran, it might have approximately the same effect.)
  • The French colonies in what is today Canada were an exercise in this. Many white trappers adopted native customs of dress, residence, and even face-painting. Women were abducted, raped and killed by Native Americans. Sometimes they were ransomed back to their families traumatized and often maimed. Children on the other hand were likely to be reared as members of the Tribe and assimilated. A classic case is that of Cynthia Anne Parker whose white family was massacred at Parker's Fort and became the mother of famed Comanche war-chief Quanah Parker. In other cases a few may have gone off willingly to escape abusive husbands, oppressive fathers or the rut of everyday life and refused to leave their new tribes when their families found them.
  • Gonzalo Guerrero, one of the shipwrecked Spanish sailors that Cortez encountered on his expedition: Unlike his companion Aguilar Guerrero opted to stay with the Maya and would eventually side with them against his former countrymen.
  • Many of the Norman families who settled in Ireland after the invasion of 1169 eventually became "Hiberniores Hibernicis ipsis"-more Irish than the Irish themselves- to the point where the government passed the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1367, which banned the "English" in Ireland from adopting Irish customs, in a failed attempt to halt the process.
    • It's not only Ireland, this trope defines the Normans. Originally they were Vikings who settled in Northern France, enthusiastically adopting French and converting to Catholicism. Wherever they went the Normans conquered, left their mark on the language and culture before being absorbed and integrating into their new homes.
  • Many of the English colonials in India 'went native', although they didn't so much adopt native dress as use Gratuitous (Local Indian Language) all the time, ride around on elephants and generally be pretty batty
  • During the early colonial period many British officials did go the whole hog adopting local dress, customs, wives etc. After the East India Company was replaced by direct Government rule things changed: postings became more for fixed terms rather than for life, mixing with the 'natives' became more socially taboo, and acclimatisation to the local culture dwindled to a thin patina of exoticism.
    • In a sense that was just going native in a different way. They just added one more caste to The Raj. Of course it was the caste in charge for the most part. But that was not without precedent either.
  • Helmuth von Pannwitz, a German general who was placed in command of the Cossacks who defected over to the Germans to fight the Soviet Union. Due to the respect and understanding he always showed for his troops and his tendency to attend Russian Orthodox services with them, Pannwitz was very popular among his Cossack volunteers. The Cossacks even voted him as their ataman, or supreme commander. When Pannwitz surrendered to the British and his troops were turned over to the Soviets, he chose to go with them. Even when told that as a German he was not subject to repatriation, Pannwitz insisted on sharing the fate of his men and voluntarily surrendered to the Soviets who duly executed him. The only thing preventing the whole thing from being a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming is the fact that the Cossack regiments under Pannwitz's command committed a number of atrocities against the civilian population, including several mass rapes, and routine summary executions. And, of course, continuing the Cossack tradition of Jewish pogroms.
  • Catherine the Great. Born a German Lutheran who converted to the Russian Orthodox Church after becoming the wife of a Russian Tsar. Once she seized the throne, she fully embraced her adopted nation expanding the size, influence, and progress of Russia.
  • In the 20th Century in Washington, DC, it was dogma among conservatives that the State Department was a nest of liberals/communists. Every time a republican president was elected, it was hoped that the new Secretary of State they appointed would set things straight down there. Much to their chagrin, however, it was invariably discovered that the new boss had instead taken on his subordinates' colors. He had Gone Native.
    • This is likely a problem of ideology not tracking reality. There was a feeling in Britain for much of the 20th century that the foreign office was cynical and conservative and similar disappointment when Labour foreign ministers were often seen to have 'gone native'. The truth is that most state department/foreign offices tend to be run along very pragmatic lines. If you are an ideologue/idealist of some sort - you think the state department should do more to dismantle and oppose communist regimes, or you think the foreign office should have a hand in ousting dictators regardless of whether we have 'friendly' relations with them - you're bound to be disappointed by a pragmatic approach and conclude foreign policy is being run by your ideological opponents.
  • J. Hudson Taylor, a British missionary in China, wore Chinese clothing, wore his hair in the Manchu queue, and spoke Chinese to be able to be better accepted by the Chinese public.
    • Matteo Ricci, Jesuit priest and missionary, also mastered the Chinese language (including its complicated writing system), wore Chinese robes and was the first Westerner to visit the Forbidden City.
  • William Buckley, an escaped convict who spent several years living with Aborigines. The Australian slang term "Buckley's chance" ("close to no chance") comes from his name.
  • Soldiers from any number of long-term occupying armies over the centuries have found themselves in settled lives, even marrying locals and having children, in the occupied countries. For example, it's on record that when the ancient Romans were finally ordered to leave Britain as the empire collapsed, a lot of them quietly deserted to stay with their families.
  • William Adams also known as Miura Anjin, an English ship's pilot working for the Dutch who eventually became an adviser to Tokugawa Ieyasu and was responsible for setting up Dutch and English trading houses in Japan. He also served as the inspiration for the Blackthorne character in Shogun.
  • One of the hypotheses regarding the Roanoke colony is that the surviving colonists integrated into the local Native American population. There is some evidence to support these hypotheses, but nothing substantial. However, there is a project underway to test whether or not the settlers did assimilate via DNA testing.
  • Inversion. Ely Parker, chief of the Six Civilized Nations was an assimilated Indian. He fought in the American Civil War and was with Grant at Appomatax.
  • Henry "Papillon" Charriere spent some time with a native tribe in South America after one of his escapes from the penal colony. He made friends with the chief, adopted a local lifestyle and subsistence, and married two women whom he fathered children with. However, there are doubts about how much of the story is true as Charriere is suspected of combining tales from other prisoners with his own and outright making some parts up for drama.
  • The Appalachian frontier is more famous for a certain type of exchange between Whites and Indians. Yet it is also true that there was considerable marriage and cultural exchange and many from each would go native with the other.
  • There was a hilarious joke in the form of a log floating around the Internet among Transylvanians, that detailed an Hungarian politician becoming more Romanian with every entry, as indicated by his knowledge of the language improving, but his style becoming more raw and primitive. (The two ethnic groups don't really like each other).
  • T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), as an archeologist in Arabia, went native long before the war. He was chosen as a liaison to the Arab rebels because he knew their ways so well and could speak most of their dialects. Particularly, he was one of the few British officers who didn't speak Arabic with an Egyptian dialect, which gained him the respect of the Arab leaders. However, after the war, he left Arabia, changed his name to Shaw and joined the RAF as a mechanic. The motorcycle accident that killed him didn't happen until 20 years after the war.
  • The Lombards, who conquered Italy in the 6th century, adapted Italian culture to the point that not even the Lombard language was spoken by the 8th century.
    • Same with the Manchus in China: they basically adopted Chinese culture and language, and even though many people in northern China claim to be ethnic Manchu, there are only about a dozen speakers of the Manchu language left.
  • Pocahontas is a Native American that adopted English ways.
  • The Oregon Lawman and Trapper Joe Meek was a downplayed version. He didn't quite "go native" but he was apparently friendly with Indians and had several Nez Perce wives in turn. He also had a fondness for some of the dress of French-Canadian rivermen.
  • The fur cartels of the American West couldn't decide whether they wanted more to be Indians going native with Whites or Whites going native with Indians. There was considerable mishmash of customs and intermarriage.
  • Douglas MacArthur did this to some degree whenever he ended up as a governor-general. In the Phillipines he sometimes gave the impression of a Hispanic generalismo and in Japan you could swear he was a Shogun.
  1. "If you are in Rome, live in the Roman way; if you are elsewhere, live as they do there."
  2. Black is used in the Black Magic sense, not a racial sense.