Fact Check

Did Native Americans Shoot Down an Airplane with Arrows?

Social media posts claim this plane was shot down by "natives" protesting an oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Published May 4, 2017

A photograph shows an airplane shot down by Native Americans using wooden arrows.

A photograph purportedly showing an airplane with dozens of wooden arrows stuck into its underside is frequently shared online, accompanied by one of a number of fabricated backstories:

For instance, this image was posted to LinkedIn in April 2017, along with text implying that the plane had been shot down by "natives" protesting an oil pipeline in North Dakota:

Someone sent me this as the natives are protesting all the pipelines being built. Greenpeace supplied all the arrows since they are more environmentally friendly than bullets.

In April 2014, the web site Fellowship of the Minds shared the same image along with text holding that it depicted President Obama's plane after he undertook a flight over a reservation in Oklahoma:

Obama took a private plane flight over an Indian reservation in Oklahoma. This is what happened ...

This photograph does not show a plane that was attacked by Native Americans. Rather, it captures an installation that was created by the art collective Los Carpinteros. The piece, entitled Avião (Plane), was displayed at the Faena Art Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina in May 2012:

The exhibition presented in the Molinos Room at the Faena Arts Center consists of the works Avião (Plane), El Barrio (The Neighbourhood) and the site specific instillation Alumbrado Público (Street Lighting). These three works, realized with completely different techniques, are unified by the same question: how far is it good to be civilized?

Through an economy of improvisation and precariousness, the artist’s work utilizes industrial objects to ironically challenge the notions of civilization and the mechanisms of perception by juxtaposing affluent western society against a rationed society with minimal consumption.

An imposing Piper Comanche aircraft pierced by wooden arrows makes up Avião, a large-scale installation alluding to the development and conquest of space, and symbolizing the cultural shock caused by technological progress in various different civilizations.


Stolz, George.   "Los Carpinteros: Seeing Double."     Art News.   24 June 2013.

Hosmer, Katie.   "Hundreds of Wooden Arrows Pierce Airplane from Below."     My Modern Met.   24 June 2013.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.