May 26, 2010

The three anti-Indian amigos

My posting about Custer's Last Stand and Ethnic Studies generated the following dialogue on Facebook:Custer got owned! Ha! Good riddance!

I've had in the back of my mind to do a Custer comic, simply because he really was quite a spectacular asshole of an anti-hero.

Him and that horrible guy who at Sand Creek...Chivington...Mr. "Nits-Make-Lice." Uff, the very name makes me squirm.

Chivington!!! Grrrrr!!! He made me stay up all night drawing very very very angry pictures when I was a little girl, accidentally watched Soldier Blue. Man I was PISSED!!!
Someone probably could do a good satirical comic book, video, or skit featuring Andrew Jackson, John Chivington, and Custer as the three anti-Indian amigos.*Chuckle*...jeezus, talk about Axis of Evil...Chivington probably changed his name from Smith or Jones so it would sound like knives being sharpened.

In the novel Custer's Luck, Custer survives Little Bighorn, is elected president, and becomes a Kennedy-style leader. It's actually well-done and plausible, believe it or not.What we hear even less of than Wounded Knee and Little Big Horn is the Sand Creek Massacre. Chivington rots in hell...And HE WAS A CLERGYMAN!

It's too easy to use Custer as a symbol. He was very complicated, and unlike many generals of his day (Sherman, Sheridan) he did not hate all Indians. He also almost missed being at the Little Bighorn because he was in Washington testifying how Indian agents were cheating the Indians. Custer is too complex to just be set up as a cardboard target.
It may be too easy to use Custer as a symbol, but 1) he brought it on himself, and 2) Americans have been using him as a symbol of heroism ever since Little Bighorn. It's only fair that Indians get to use him as a counter-symbol.

Besides, I'm mostly talking about the symbolism of Custer's Last Stand, not Custer himself. In mentioning Skimin's alternate history novel, I said something positive about Custer the man. I understand he's more than just a cardboard target, which is why I posted Custer's Anti-Indian Reputation.

For more on the subject, see Custer Country in Montana and Dan Simmons Tackles Black Hills.

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