Posted 6 years ago
Considering we spent a century trying to eliminate the Native American, it sure is odd how many organizations and imbeciles tried to effect their dress. Why appropriate a culture you met with genocide? The answer is beyond me, and I really don't want to spend the time looking it up.
"Indian reenactors" were even bigger in Germany of all places. Go figure. I think it is like the Brits digging Delta Blues before we did. While we were suffering with Fabian and Pat Boone, the nascent Rolling Stones were already reconstructing Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters. At least they were sincere...read Keef's autobiography. However, until I find an explanation way better than "Dancing with Wolves" I'm going to have to figure these guys are just insensitive.
Of course we started the trend as far back as the Boston Tea Party, when the colonists dressed up as "Mohawks" before climbing on board and dumping tea. Some scholars have tried to explain it away claiming they were using "the Mohawk image as a revolutionary symbol of liberty" and such, but I suspect they were just cowards hiding their identity. I'm not alone. Attempts to deny that the colonial costume party came about to deflect blame, hide the perps and an early example of racism are seeming somewhat lame. But again, I'm no expert, and lean toward iconoclasm as a rule. What they taught it in school, I've spent a lifetime trying to shed.
At any rate, this is one the most extravagant displays of "Windian" behavior I have seen. No less than 25 of them, and they are armed to boot!
I don't think all would fit in the sole tipi (Lakota and made of hide, often decorated with spiritual images, not tent canvas like this one), but maybe they took turns getting in. It also appears they have clogged the smoke hole with a crumpled American flag...and if you look close behind the tent, some kid and his Dad are watching the big event in street clothes. Could this be a very early film still with the tribe coming from Brooklyn?
By the way? Halloween as an "indian?" Also not cool.
Other than that? This is a pretty cool photograph.
Untitled (Early Native American Reenactors) original silver photograph, 8" x 6" (Original mount 12" x 10" circa 1890? Collection Jim Linderman