Do not believe everything that is written here, but go do your own research and come to your own conclusion. Please try to think based, not on what you want to believe, but based on what the evidence points to. There’s nothing new here but some references to back up the claims made by those who attempt to speak the truth about Jay Tavare aka Jai Janani – please read the blogs (sidebar)
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. This is an exercise of first amendment rights (that’s what our colonist-imperialist-overlords said we have, ok). The burden of proof is you to prove that the characterizations and opinions made here and on other blogs are utterly false/libelous.
Information was taken from other blogs about him, as well as from his own storytelling/myth making about himself. His actions have not particularly benefited towards the advancement of Native Americans but only demonstrated how the “Hollywood problem” continues to this day. He wrote about it in his blog:
Hollywood also had Iron Eyes Cody. His ancestry became the center of some controversy when it became known that he was actually Italian by birth. But he did not just work as an Indian in Hollywood in the 1950s and ’60s; he truly lived his life as an Indian. He can be credited as the most famous Indian in the world during that time. Even though he was not born an Indian, we should not forget that Iron Eyes Cody raised awareness for the American Indian people and also of the importance of environmentalism (Keep America Beautiful Public Service ad campaign) in a way that no one else was able to do at that time.
Almost like he is trying to rationalize his own behavior as being acceptable. Is Jay Tavare really an indigneous man as he claims or is he another Iron Eyes Cody?
While he claims Navajo and says he was born on the Navajo rez…he will never tell you what clan he is from, or where on the rez he was born. He claims he is Apache – but has jumped from being White Mountain to Mescalero — but yet, no one has EVER come forth to claim him as one of their own. He claims he won’t say to protect his privacy and “his family.” I say it’s because he can’t say…if he could, he would of some where along the line to negate those of us who call “bull” on all of his stories.
White Mountain Apache
The Glitter Report (2003)
Jay Tavare’s Mother is White Mountain Apache and Navajo-Deer Clan. Jay Tavare is Indian.
The Seattle Times (2003
Co-star Jay Tavare, a White Mountain Apache [sic]
JayTavare. com (2005)
Jay comes from a multi-ethnic background of White Mountain Apache, Navajo and Latin.
Born in the United States, he spent his teenage years in Europe playing percussion and singing in several bands.
His current biography on his official website doesn’t address his Navajo and Apache background or birthplace anymore.
Interviewer: What tribe are you from?
Jay Tavare: I am an Apache and Navajo mix.
Jay Tavare (* 18 June 1968 in the Navajo Nation , Arizona , United States) is an American actor of Indian origin from the people of the Western Apache . His mother is a member of the White Mountain Apache (Dzil Łigai Si’an NDAU – ‘People of the White Mountains’), a group of the Western Apache and his father the Navajo , however, as both nations [matrilocal] (the man pulls at the wedding of his family wife and their settlement) and matrilineal (descent is through the woman’s family determined) were socially organized, it is therefore right that Jay Tavare social ancestrally is a Western Apache and Navajo no.
The German version of Jay Tavare’s Wikipedia page has been translate through Google Translate, so it’s more like a “transliteration” of the original text. You get the nuance, though. If his “mother” is a matrilocal White Mountain Apache, then why was he born on his “father’s” Navajo rez and lived with his “grandmother” until he was adopted? Matrilocal means that the family lives with the maternal side of the family.
The [people?] on the Mescalero reservation are pretty much like my family. They wanted to adopt me long time ago so I consider them family.
LA Talk Radio with Sheena (2011)
One of the most prolific writers was Karl May. The hero of his book was an Apache, a Mescalero Apache – which, is my background
“which is my background” -lol vague
Adopted By a Mescalero Apache Claim
HuffPo blog by Jay Tavare (written by his Ghostwriter) (2012)
I had the Pleasure of working with Elbys when Ron Howard hired her as a linguistic expert and historian to help prepare his actors for the award winning film, The Missing. source
Elbys and her family have become the Chiricahua Apache family I never had. Long ago, she honored me by naming me E’naish D’in, which means “He who remembers the past.” This is an honor I will treasure all my life. source
She [Ms. Elbys] adopted me into her family, and this is why I am greeted with so much love and respect whenever I visit the reservation in New Mexico. source
In the comment section of Michelle’s blog, a lady from the Mescalero Apache tribe responded that Tavare was “befriended” not adopted as he claimed in his blog (2013):
Jay Tavare was invited to the Chiricahua Freedom celebration, held on the Mescalero Apache reservation in April 2013, this beautiful reservation is located in southern New Mexico. At the time of the invite the Mescalero Apache tribe was not aware of Jay’s past. To my knowledge he has not claimed to be an Apache from Mescalero. Jay was befriended by an elder Apache woman, who is a direct descendant of the famous Apache leader Cochise. Since her passing the family has kept in contact with Jay and this lead to his invitation to our celebration. The Mescalero Apache tribe will be hesitant to invite Jay back. source
Another response on Michelle’s blog from a Navajo gentleman (2012):
sic as a life long navajo from Monument Valley…we are always proud when one of our own succeeds in hollywood… can you please submit and post Jay’s clans so we can identify his connection to his heritage…We are so excited and would love to hear what part of the navajo reservation his family is from…. source
I think this is a great point – they’d be proud to have a “successful” hollywood actor as their own – so why not reveal his clan?
“His” Musical Project
HuffPo blog by Jay Tavare (2012)
(My upcoming musical album, Tears of a Shaman will be dedicated in honor of Elbys Naiche Hugar.) source
He sounded like he owned the project.
Alexander Bubenheim, the main lead on this album, explained how Tavare was dropped from the project:
It was crucial to me that Mr. Tavare is authentic, nobody would believe a charity Album with a German guy and a non Native American. I spend thousands of dollars for the Native Singers on performances and travel expenses. By the way the Native American Tribes that he refers to as friends, are the ones that told me the truth about him, they decided to stick with me. source (Alexander Bubenheim’s message dated 10/30/2014)
Ah, so his musician friends, some from the Apache tribe, knew or found out that he was not Apache or Native American. His standing with the Native American community started to crumble away, the very relationships he had been creating since 2003. He can no longer claim he has ongoing relationships or that he serves them because he does not.
Mescalero Documentary Film Project
In His Own Words
Voices of the Hoop Interview with Kelli Healing Doe Bennett (2010 – transcript abbreviated with meaning intact)
I was reborn more than once. At age 5 I was adopted. My adopted family were Europeans… we were all put into boarding schools in Europe… And really I grew up away from my culture, you know, from the native culture although the first few years I had some impact from my grandmother, god bless her soul and… Prior to that I knew who I was and that I had heritage from the Apache/Navajo tribes from my mother and my father, who were mixed blood. But beside that I didn’t really know much more.
Interview with Karen Miles (2012 begins @ 10 minute mark)
Even as a young man I realized that when I was in Spain the gypsies thought I was one of them. When I was in Italy people saw me as one of them. When I was in South America and people saw me as one of them. And I realized that ability to morph, change, was just natural. I would even sound like the locals. You know people would see me in interviews from [inaudible – 1980s?], ‘Oh my god, your voice, you sound different’ So that is one of my shapeshifting ability I had where I molded and [inaudible] with people I was with. I get accused a lot, ‘Oh he’s not Native American,’ I don’t know what that means, anyway.
He can re-invent himself and create identities to suit his situation or surrounding. Tavare has the ability to create various mythologies about himself and convince you with a lifetime performance. “Jay Tavares” is the character he plays in life, not the actual person.
Interview with Karen Miles (2012 begins @ 10 minute mark)
I’m an Indian in my heart and I know I have bloodline, even my DNA of Mongolians that go all the way to the Gobi desert that every American Indian possesses. So I’m an indigenous man and I know that. And I was adopted by the Apaches and Navajos after the work that I did. For the last 25 years I’ve gone to ceremonies and lived my life in the red road way… So now I don’t go out there and claim anything. It’s about being a human being.
In other words, he is not Native American. He fabricated the story about his Navajo, White Mountain Apache, and Latino parents. He claims to be Apache and Navajo through adoption but he was not adopted, only “befriended” by a Mescalero elder. Lies or white lies… they are still dishonest and inaccurate.
Rose’s Blog (2013)
He was NOT born on the Navajo reservation; elders out there have no idea who the heck he is. Their enrollment office out in Window Rock (1-928-871-6386) has never heard of him or his family. He does NOT belong to the Deer Clan as he claims because, again, anyone with internet access can check out the Navajo Nation site and find out that Deer Clan is an adopted ZUNI clan.
- Adopted vs. befriended – Mescalero was not your “background” at all
- Living the red road/representing his people vs. pretending, fetishizing, appropriating, commodifying culture
- Having genealogical ties vs. Indian in my heart/Mongol DNA
Big difference. If his argument is along the lines of, “the best actor wins the role,” then I wonder if he even cares about how indigenous people tell their own story and to represent their own culture. In an interview in 2003 or 2004 (not sure of date) he called himself a “storyteller” and that’s exactly what he did. He created a mythology about his background.
Speaking Apache Gibberish and Persian
You see Tavare pretending to speak the Apache language in this 1990 UK television commercial for Weetabix. If you know what language he is actually speaking let me know because one source said it was gibberish and spit. This commercial is a prime example of fetishizing Indians and using exaggerated stereotype of the Indian Warrior as if to paint a caricature of Apache people. He obviously learned nothing from his “grandmother” who he grew up with for the first few years of his life on that mythical “reservation.”
Clip from the 1983 World Disco Dance Championship where Jay Janani from Italy won the world championship:
Compare his accent to Persian accent. Here is a tutorial on an Farsi/Persian accent from a voice & speech coach:
This is Janani’s audition tape where he speaks Dari, an Afghan Farsi dialect. Although he has bragged that he speaks Dari like a native, because Dari is a dialect of his native tongue, Farsi.
The “Navajo/Apache” Storyteller
At one point in time it’s clear that Jay Tavare aka Jay Janani publicly claimed to be a multi-ethnic actor of White Mountain Apache and Navajo background, born on a Navajo reservation in Arizona. He erased his “multi-ethnic-Native-American-background” narrative around 2005, and continued to claim to bloggers/fans that he was a “Navajo/Apache mix,” until 2012.
Between 2003 and 2006, Tavare was featured in various publications for the Native American roles he had played in movies, such as The Missing and Cold Mountain. One journalist thought he had a bright career ahead, and he gained some praises here and there for his ability to “break Hollywood stereotypes of Native Americans” (and learning the languages for the movie).
Press Coverage 2003-2006
The Seattle Times (2003)
Co-star Jay Tavare, a White Mountain Apache [sic]
TotalFilm Magazine, date unknown
Born in the US on a Navajo reservation. Tavares was adopted and sent to Europe, where he spent most of his teenage years, including a lengthy chunk of time in London. He returned to America in the early ’90s and landed a role… ‘I play whatever I can get away with’ – but recently he’s found himself cast as characters close to his “Native American” roots, a phrase that Tavare hates. ‘It’s like a funky term to men – just call us by our tribal names. All the tribes are different. What I do in CM as a Cherokee is so different from what I did as a Seminole in Adaptation or as an Apache in The Missing. ‘What you talk about acting, for me it’s just storytelling, and to our people storytelling was medicine. That’s how knowledge was passed on.’ ‘We are the storytellers of today.’
The Tularosa Report (2003)
Tavares who is White Mountain and Navajo [sic]
Alamogordo News (2003)
Tavares has Native American blood running through his veins, His mother was a White Mountain Apache.
He and his management must’ve fed that story to entertainment writers. Being entertainment writers, they probably would not bother to check facts but instead help sell the illusions around the actors they write about. Hollywood is about illusions.
Cowboys & Indians (2004):
Tavare approached his participation in The Missing as “an honor as well as a responsibility.” He traces his real-life roots, through his mother, to the White Mountain Apache tribe. (His father, whom he never knew, was of Latin and Navajo ancestry.) But even though he’s previously been cast as Native American characters—in Adaptation, for instance, he was a Seminole—Kayitah is the first Apache Tavare has ever portrayed onscreen. “Hollywood has forever created these stereotypes of the stoic, silent, emotionless Indians,” he says. “And let me tell you: Breaking those stereotypes gave me tremendous pleasure.”
How does he explain the UK television commercial where he stereotyped and made a caricatured mockery out of the Apache people? How about his photo stills as an “Apache Warrior”?
Desert News (2006):
Also on hand to attend the rug show and congratulate Steve on his donation was Native American actor Jay Tavare, who adopted an elder through ANE in 2003.
Other articles with Tavare that are not available online:
- The Hollywood Reporter June 2005
- Entertainment Weekly June 2005
- LA Confidential April 2006
- Cowboys & Indians 2006
The last year that he had worked regularly, playing Native American roles in major films, was around 2005 (Pathfinder completed filming in 2005). Minor roles followed – karma, blacklisted? By 2012, various people including Michelle, Rose, Susan, and others had started to reveal/question his ancestry claims. Around 2012, he changed his narrative to being, “just human.” Did the Mayan Calendar end, and with it, Janani’s license to claim that he was Native American? lol
It’s just odd that someone born to a Native American family, then adopted, would not return to his rez (Navajo) and his family (White Mountain Apache & Navajo side), and reunite with them or have a relationship. As Michelle said, had he been telling the truth we’d be hearing about his family… And, know which clan he’s from. The storyteller’s stories continue to crumble.
Jay Tavare was created in Hollywood
His brand of storytelling doesn’t seem like “medicine” but a psychoactive/hallucinogenic drugs that you trip on – bad trip. He sells fantasies and illusions as “Jay Tavare, multi-ethnic actor of Native American background.”
Perhaps fans do not care about his “Navajo/Apache-mix” storytelling because they are enamored with his cosplay/his looks. The personal myths he told people kind of reinforces this fantasy when they see these cosplay photos (thus indulging their bit of Indian-Fetish). Most of these were stills from a failed movie-idea, Winnetou.
This is Hollywood-style glamor and romanticization of the Noble Savage or Brave Warrior stereotypes. It is not about natives telling their own story, it’s about Hollywood making fantasies. Nothing changed, eh? It brings to attention that being native is dreamy and exotic, and something to cosplay. Every regalia, pose, depiction could have some culturally and spiritually significant meaning for people, so why use it in such a tacky, Hollywood way (and sell it)?
I agree with Janani when he said indigenous people need to tell their own stories. They’ve been disenfranchised and marginalized enough by having others depict them in history, literature, and arts. I’d like to hear more stories about indigenous people, written from the perspective of an indigenous writer, or see images seen through the eyes of an indigenous photographer – not a Hollywood photographer and model/actor.
Native Americans, and indigenous peoples in general, have experienced forced-acculturation into the mainstream dominant-culture, and seen their culture appropriated and commodified by Hollywood and others. Therefore, to see them actually tell their own stories is healing and uplifting to me (thanks to Truth About Janani FB for sharing this amazing video) >>>
Had Janani been a genuine “indigenous man,” and lived & breathed his culture, I am sure he would be embarrassed about these photos. If he were genuine, he would probably be mindful that he represents his family, people, tribe, rez, and so forth with dignity and honor… but he made a mockery out of native peoples.
This non-native, uses culture as some kind of opportunity to exhibit himself. It’s just tacky. What do you think?
Here is a great collage Truth about Jai Janani FB page:
Jay Tavare has a major problem- his “facts” rarely add up:
- His mother was not White Mountain Apache, not Deer Clan
- His father was not Latin and Navajo but from Iran
- He was not born on the Navajo reservation or adopted abroad
- He was not born in the United States
- He was not born in 1976 or 1971 or 1960s
- His name is not Jay Tavare but Jai Janani
- He is not 5’11 but closer to 5’6″ – Keri Russell is 5’4″ >> see [Photo]
- Claimed he never married but he did
- He was not adopted by an Apache elder but “befriended”
- He has no ongoing relationship with any rez nor visits them regularly
- He does not “honor” the Navajo and Apache people with his service; he’s not welcome back to their rez
- He is not the celebrity spokesman for a charity; he’s not welcome back
- Tears of the Shaman was never his musical album
- Claimed he was an accomplished screenwriter – IMDb forgot to include all zero of his writing credit
- He was not the Free Style Breakdance Champion (credited himself as “original b-boy”) – different competition. He was the Malibu World Disco Dancing Champion. Someone also figured out he did not make the tour, but the runner-up got to go>> link to article
- Claimed he went to “college.” I doubt he went to university, which is what Americans would assume when they hear “college.” Secondary level schools may be called “college,” too e.g., Eton College
- Won best actor award at small film festival – award-winning actor – WINNING!
- His blog on HuffPo is so popular that it is read by all his fans and all 5,000 of his imaginary fans
- Claims he “is in demand as a speaker by many prestigious universities” but only names Brown University (not speaker but panel member), no record found
- Claimed his stunt on CSI Miami (“Going Ballistic,” 2008) earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. Grumpy Cat says, “NO!” Let’s look at all the nominations for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. CSI: NY had been nominated, not CSI: Miami:
See his embellishments and lies on:
To read the blogs and pages about him, go to the Link section.
And to conclude, here is a presentation of a special award for Outstanding Liar of the Century:
We’re keeping you honest Tavare/Janani… hopefully he sets things right, go onto the correct path – one possible path he may choose to take, and his choice to make. Maybe I smoke too much hopium (hope + opium = hopium)?