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(there are) too many chiefs and not enough Indians

proverb There are too many people trying to manage or organize something, and not enough people willing to actually do the work. One of many expressions often considered offensive for making reference to Native American stereotypes or tropes. Everyone wants to be the brains of this project, but there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians!
See also: and, chief, enough, Indian, many, not

be the chief cook and bottle washer

To be involved in many aspects of a particular situation. Because so many people have left our department recently, I'm the chief cook and bottle washer, doing every little task that comes up.
See also: and, bottle, chief, cook, washer

big white chief

An important, successful, or influential person. The phrase is usually used humorously, but is potentially offensive due to its likely origin as a pseudo-Native American term. Jacob thinks he's a big white chief now that he's been promoted to assistant manager. I'm the big white chief around here, so you have to do what I say.
See also: big, chief, white

chief cook and bottle washer

One who is involved in many aspects of a particular situation. Because so many people have left our department recently, I'm the chief cook and bottle washer, doing every little task that comes up.
See also: and, bottle, chief, cook, washer

head cook and bottle washer

One who is involved in many aspects of a particular situation. Because so many people have left our department recently, I'm the chief cook and bottle washer, doing every little task that comes up.
See also: and, bottle, cook, head, washer
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

chief cook and bottle washer

Fig. the person in charge of practically everything (such as in a very small business). I'm the chief cook and bottle washer around here. I do everything.
See also: and, bottle, chief, cook, washer

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

Prov. Too many people want to be the leader, and not enough people are willing to follow to do the detail work. Everyone on that committee wants to be in charge. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. We'll never finish this project if everyone keeps trying to give orders. There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
See also: and, chief, enough, Indian, many, not
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

chief cook and bottlewasher

A person in charge of numerous duties, both vital and trivial, as in We have no secretaries or clerks; the department head is chief cook and bottlewasher and does it all . [Slang; c. 1840]
See also: and, bottlewasher, chief, cook
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

too many chiefs and not enough Indians

OFFENSIVE or

too many chiefs

If there are too many chiefs or too many chiefs and not enough Indians in an organization, there are too many people in charge and not enough people doing the work. This bank has 21 executive directors. No surprise, then, that some insiders say there are too many chiefs.
See also: and, chief, enough, Indian, many, not
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

big white chief

a person in authority. humorous
This expression supposedly represents Native American speech, and also occurs as great white chief .
1971 Roger Busby Deadlock You'd think he was the bloody big white chief instead of an OB technician.
See also: big, chief, white

chief cook and bottle-washer

a person who performs a variety of important but routine tasks. informal
See also: and, chief, cook

too many chiefs and not enough Indians

used to describe a situation where there are too many people giving orders and not enough people to carry them out.
See also: and, chief, enough, Indian, many, not
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

there are too many ˌchiefs and not enough ˈIndians

(British English, informal) used to describe a situation in which there are too many people telling other people what to do, and not enough people to do the work
See also: and, chief, enough, Indian, many, not, there
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

chief

n. the person in charge. (Also a term of address.) You got a couple of clams to pay the toll with, chief?

head cook and bottle washer

and chief cook and bottle washer
n. someone who is in charge of trivial things as well as the important things. Ten years I’m here, and I’m just the head cook and bottle washer. The chief cook and bottle washer ends up doing everything that has to be done.
See also: and, bottle, cook, head, washer

chief cook and bottle washer

verb
See also: and, bottle, chief, cook, washer
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

chief cook and bottle washer

Individual who has most of the many and quite varied responsibilities in an enterprise. This slangy Americanism originated in the first half of the 1800s. Alluding to kitchen duties, the term is used far more broadly, as in “Mr. Miller described himself as the ‘president, chief cook and bottle washer’ of his company” (New York Times, Nov. 7, 1992).
See also: and, bottle, chief, cook, washer

too many chiefs and not enough Indians

Too many bosses and not enough workers. This expression, also stated more hyperbolically as all chiefs and no Indians, originated in the first half of the 1900s. Although the term refers to native American tribal organization, it is not considered offensive.
See also: and, chief, enough, Indian, many, not
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Her doctoral thesis (University of Oxford) was a historical and archaeological study of the BaPhuthi chiefdom in nineteenth-century Basutoland and the eastern Cape.
Whatever the reason, we can safely say that the chiefdom Powhatan led in 1607 represented a recent creation forged through the crucible of tensions and conflict that surrounded his initial inheritance.
Summary of the archaeological evidence on the evolution of a stratified chiefdom on Huahine
1970: 'From tribute to tax in a Tikar chiefdom' in John Middleton (ed.), Black Africa: its peoples and their cultures today.
In November 2014, the IRC implementation team chose two chiefdoms (Gbo and Selenga) in Bo District as pilot areas to assess the feasibility and acceptability of CEBS.
Madinah, Rabi'I 23, 1436, Jan 14, 2015, SPA -- The Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Mounir Bin Mokhtar Tlili and President of the Islamic Chiefdom in Albania Iskender Bursag and their accompanying delegations, currently on a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, paid a visit to King Fahd Complex for Printing the Holy Quran here today.
SARAJEVO, Oct 19 (KUNA) -- The Islamic Chiefdom in Bosnia and Herzegovina called on Sunday on Serbian authorities to protect Muslim citizens and their properties after a spate of attacks on Albanian-owned businesses linked to the political provocation seen at the recent football match between Serbia and Albania.
In a revision of her doctoral dissertation in Latin American archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh, Cuellar examines the emergence of chiefdom societies with special emphasis on their economic organization.
In island ecosystems with plentiful productive resources, particularly arable land, population size and density could reach levels where intensification of the political, economic and social systems comprising a chiefdom were expressed in monumental construction.
On the evening of the 28th June 1875, at the start of the return leg of his collector's journey to the interior of Viti Levu island, the Baron Anatole von Htigel arrived in the large chiefdom of Serea (Roth and Hooper 1990:39ff.).
For instance, Powhatan and Monacan societies were described in terms that evoke characteristics of a chiefdom but the elements of social inequality seem absent.
In this paper, I examine the development of pottery production systems in a small-scale Philippine chiefdom which evolved in the Bais Region of Negros Oriental between about A.D.
Many women and men in the Chiweshe Communal Area 70 kms north of Harare, experienced the same problem of reconciling their village, chiefdom, and national ~locations' during the years between 1950 and 1980.