Native Americans are the indigenous people of North America. During the time period of the Red Dead series they were also referred to by the derogatory term "Red Skins", or simply "Indians", and primarily lived on reservations. Native Americans appear as minor characters in Red Dead Redemption and play a larger role in Red Dead Revolver and Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Revolver
The main protagonist of Red Dead Revolver, Red Harlow, is half Native American by birth (his mother, Falling Star, being a member of the Red Wolf Tribe). His cousin, Shadow Wolf, also plays a large role in the story. Other Native Americans include Red's and Shadow Wolf's grandfather, Running Moon, who is the Chief of the Red Wolf tribe, and Grizzly, leader of the Black Elk Tribe, who is killed later by Shadow Wolf. A few Natives can also be seen in Bad Bessie's gang.
Red Dead Redemption
Native Americans can be found just about anywhere in West Elizabeth aside from Blackwater, and are participants in many of the random events. A large number of Native Americans left the reservations to join Dutch's revolutionary gang in West Elizabeth, with promises of a revolution and justice for past crimes against native peoples. Dutch's gang commit various crimes primarily in Blackwater, until Marston and the American Army attack Dutch's hideout, killing him and most of the Natives.
A Native American known as Nastas helps Marston in a few of Harold MacDougal's missions after John rescue him from the Wreck of the Serendipity with Archer Fordham and Edgar Ross, although he gets shot by Enepay in "For Purely Scientific Purposes" due to Nastas' role as an informant for the government.
Because Harold MacDougal perceives the Native Americans as a savage, ignorant group of people, they rallied behind Dutch and tried to hunt MacDougal down before he left the West, although John helps the Professor get safely on a train back to Yale in "The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)".
Evidence of precolonial native life is somewhat scarce in Red Dead Redemption, with the exception of the Escalera Catacombs and altar at the end of Undead Nightmare. However, evidence of Native groups still living the old way can be found, the most obvious example is the ruined Native settlement in Mescalero, it is all that remains of the tribe that battled with Drew MacFarlane over their lands. Another example of a Native settlement is Torquemada, which is likely the ruins of an ancient Navajo settlement. Only a small portion of the settlement remains, and what is left is in poor condition, with many holes in the roof and a weak structure.
There are also other more subtle references to the wilder relations between Whites and Natives; a ruined caravan with arrows sticking from the wood can be found in the desert in Hamlin's Passing, another possible Native ruin is Rattlesnake Hollow, although it is possible it was a mining operation; it's also possible the holes are what is left from mining copper for the Navajo, or the sacred stone catlinite, however this is purely speculation. Overall, Red Dead Redemption is rife with unexplained ruins and clues to the violent past of the American frontier.
- The only Native Americans that can be seen doing normal activities are Hassun and Chogan. They can sometimes be found at Manzanita Post playing Five-Finger Fillet.
- Hassun, Chogan, and Nastas are the only friendly Native Americans, however, both Chogan and Hassun will be hostile if the player threatens them.
- Native Americans were often referred to as "Indians" and "Red Indians" due to the European explorer Christopher Columbus, who arrived in the Americas believing that he had landed on an island near India. This is why some areas such as the Caribbean are known as the "West Indies".
- In the opening cutscenes of the game, two elderly women sat behind John on the train discuss the Natives, among other things. They appear to be ignorant of the realities of the past, claiming that the Americans helped the Natives and allowed them "access" to heaven. Their conversation reflects just one of the many themes in Red Dead Redemption, ignorance.