First of all, I never approached Mr. Ross. The first day I was on the beach, before I had even *spoken* to anyone, he started verbally abusing me. I couldn't believe it! He had no idea who I was as I had never seen him or been there before! Maybe it was because I had an AIM patch on my jacket. Maybe it was because I have braids that he assumed I was there to make trouble. I have no idea. But it was pretty obvious to me that there was no point in talking to him.
Other people however, *did* try to talk to him. In fact, I can think of at least five Indians who tried to talk to him on separate occasions. Every single instance resulted in Mr. Ross becoming verbally abusive. He even tried to provoke Tony Gonzales into a physical altercation.
And for the record, it was Indians who kept Indian culture alive. Buffalo Bill became rich off of exploiting cartoonish, inaccurate caricatures of Indian culture.
Regardless, it is a very racially sensitive subject. Mr. Ross knows this perfectly well. It should not be handled in a way that trivializes us and makes into a carnival attraction.
The "Lakota of Montana" are only a fraction of the total Sioux population, so their views don't tell us much.
I'm not sure the Wild West shows displayed any genuine aspects of Plains Indian cultures besides their superficial appearances. And I'm sure the shows didn't do much to keep the hundreds of Indian cultures beyond the Plains alive.
Indians owned slaves...so?
Ross goes into a long, gratuitous attack on Indian cultures, starting with:
Ross is big on saying Indians were and are flawed just like everyone else. But how does that justify his Wild West show homage? He wasn't showing real, flawed Indians with all their warts. He was showing Indians as nothing but the familiar stereotypes--literally as two-dimensional caricatures of reality.
Go ahead and create art showing Indians, Americans, and Europeans as slaveowners, Ross. To be fair, you'll want to show that non-Indians not only owned slaves, but engaged in an inhuman slave trade of horrifying dimensions. I'd support that art (in theory) because it would be more honest than your "valentine" to cowboys 'n' Indians stereotypes.
Following Ross's "logic"
I'm having trouble following Ross's "logic." He seems to be saying that because Indians were flawed, it justifies any depiction of them, no matter how stereotypical. And because they were flawed, any Indian who protests Ross's stereotypical depictions is trying to be politically correct. I.e., to falsely deify Indian as perfect paragons of virtue.
Needless to say, this is nonsense. As far as I know, Anquoe didn't demand that Indians be portrayed as flawless. His point was that Buffalo Bill's Indians were caricatures like something out of a minstrel show. None of Ross's responses address this point. So answer, Ross: Did the Wild West shows (and your artwork of same) promote an authentic or stereotypical vision of Indians?
Below: "Some Indians on the West Coast owned slaves. Therefore, it's okay if we dress up as stereotypical Plains chiefs and braves."