Answer Key

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Answer: This is one of many advertisements that used Indian imagery to sell patent medicines. Here, the strength of the battling warriors suggests the potency of the “Tippecanoe” remedy. The reference is to the 1811 battle between Tecumseh’s followers and American soldiers at a site in Indiana. Situated in “nature,” the Indian in these kinds of ads offers Americans a cure for rheumatism, headache, toothache, and so on. These “medicines” were marketed to appeal to the stereotype of Indians having knowledge of nature’s curative powers that other Americans lacked.

Image 2

Answer: Nye writes: “Pontiac’s War was brought on by the Indians, who preferred the French occupation to that of the English. Pontiac organized a large number of tribes on the spoils plan, and captured eight forts. He killed a great many people, burned their dwellings, and drove out many more, but at last his tribes made trouble, as there were not spoils enough to go around, and his army was conquered. He was killed in 1769 by an Indian who received for his trouble a barrel of liquor till death came to his relief.” But Nye’s description distorts Pontiac’s life. The war against the British was promoted in 1763 by Pontiac and a Delaware prophet by the name of Neolin. The British had defeated the French and subsequently treated Native people arrogantly, refusing to participate in gift exchange, in trade with Native people. Their behavior convinced Pontiac and others that they would not treat them as friends and relatives, but as enemies. Neolin preached against the use of British trade goods, including liquor. Neolin subsequently had a vision experience in which he had a revelation that they should make peace with the British. By 1765 Pontiac was negotiating with the British to end hostilities, but there had been no decisive defeat, and villages tended to make their own agreements with the British. In any case, Pontiac was a war leader, not a civil chief, so in negotiating he lost stature and many of his followers drifted away. In 1769 he was in a Peoria village in Illinois country. In 1766 he had killed a Peoria man, and three years later that man’s nephew took revenge. He stabbed Pontiac in the back. There is no evidence that liquor was involved. Contrary to the point of view of Nye, the Native people were struggling over important issues in their quarrel with the British and Pontiac’s feat of uniting warriors from many different tribes was remarkable.

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Answer: This program cover shows an Indian lurking in the forest, excluded from the modern, progressive town.  The pageant, “The Glorious Gateway of the West,” was organized for Indiana’s centennial celebration.  The theme was the disparity between Indian life and modern progress.  The inevitability of progress was reinforced by the idea that land cessions that displaced Indians were legitimate (freely made).  In the finale, all the participants marched into the “future,” which suggested that American society lacked social conflict based on race or class.

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Answer: These two boys are dressed as long-ago Indians. In this panoramic view, they seem part of nature. The boys seem disconnected from the modern world.

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Answer: The Indian child is dressed as a 19th century Plains Indian, carrying a bow. He and the attendant hold up their hands in a “How” sign, as if the child cannot speak English. The other two children are dressed as modern Americans.  This imagery identifies “Indians” as people who live in the past, so contemporary Native people may be viewed as not “real Indians.”

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Answer: University of Michigan students created an Indian-themed university men’s club, “Fighting Braves of Michigamua,” in 1901. The men chosen to belong were the top students, athletes, and leaders. Initiation involved a hazing ritual in which the new members were stripped, painted red and given pipes and “Indian names.” In effect, they invented an Indian tribe for themselves. The club members went into town dressed as Indians and they put on a yearly reenactment of the conquest of Michigan, reinforcing the idea that the Indians had left. At the same time, the image of the Indian warrior of the past reinforced the idea that club members were manly. By the 1970s, there began to be formal protests. In 1989, after conflict with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the university agreed that the club would drop its representation of Indians, and by 1997 this was done, except for the name “Michigamua.”

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Answer: This caricature was the mascot of the Agronomy Department and featured as part of a departmental letter called “Squanto Speaks.” The mascot was retired in 1989. While Squanto is associated with providing corn and other food to the early colonists on the eastern seaboard, the portrayal of Squanto here is negative in that he looks both hostile and ridiculous, with a scowl and a large nose. Local Indian groups were bypassed when the department selected their mascot, which also suggests that it was generally, though erroneously, believed that Illinois Indians did not farm or were hostile to Americans.

Image 8

Answer: Cigar Store Indian sculptures mostly were popular in the late 19th century and used for commercial purposes to attract customers to stores that sold tobacco products. They also were used as decorations well into the 20th century, like the one in the photo. The statues usually had comic features and carvers created different types of statues: Chief, Maiden, Squaw, Hunter, Scout, and Brave. Some had names, such as “Black Hawk,” “Hiawatha,” or “Lo.” These statues portrayed Indians in stereotypical ways, for example, propagating the image of the stoic “wooden Indian.”

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