By Patricia Ecker
She saw the toy Thursday at an exhibit titled “Americana Indian: American Indians in the American Imagination,” an exhibit of Native American stereotypes at the Multicultural Education Center in the Bovee University Center.
“It is such a tragedy,” Betcher said.
One part of the broken knife goes through the lower jaw of the face, and the other part of the knife is coming out of the side of the head.
The only way to win is to connect the Indian with the teepees.
“The Indian doesn’t go with the bathroom or the classroom,” said Baker. “And the Indian is depicted wielding a tomahawk, dancing, and dancing with his arms in the air, as if he was war whooping.
“This limits how people conceptualize Native people. Think about the way culture works. This is a process of erasure.”
Europeans stoned people, drew and quartered them, burned them at the stake, etc. They shipped slaves across the ocean, threw prisoners into ovens, and incinerated them with atomic bombs. Meanwhile, Indians domesticated crops, developed medicines, built cities and pyramids, and calculated astronomical periods.
When you show me a range of toys reflecting negative European and positive Indian behavior, then we can discuss the appropriateness of an Indian scalping toy. Until then, scalping is a stupid stereotype that sends an obvious message about Indians. Namely, that "they" are much more savage than "we" are.
For more on Indian toys and games, see:
Native G.I. Joes
Happy Meal with Custer doll
Hopi Medicine Man toy
Indians in Playmobil comic
Indian kitsch collection
Below: One of the objects on display in the Americana Indian exhibit.