May 01, 2010

Wamapoke wedding in Parks and Recreation

In this week's episode of Parks and Recreation, 94 Meetings (airdate: 4/29/10), Leslie Knope tries to save a historic gazebo. Standing in front of a mural, she explains the gazebo's importance:KNOPE: In 1867, the progressive Reverend Turnbill officiated a wedding between a white woman and a Wamapoke Indian chief. The secret ceremony was beautiful and romantic.The mural shows a Plains Indian chief and a white woman standing before a reverend in the gazebo.KNOPE: But then word got out and the reception was a bloodbath.The camera pulls back to show the rest of the mural. On the left are Plains chiefs and warriors shooting arrows and throwing tomahawks. On the right are US Army cavalrymen, one waving a sword, and settlers shooting and throwing things. One Indian is skulking on top of the gazebo.KNOPE: Fortunately there were two survivors. Unfortunately they were both horses.Portraying Indiana's Indians with Plains stereotypes is just plain wrong, of course.

The scene doesn't apportion blame for the alleged bloodbath, but the mural gives more space to the violent, weapon-wielding Indians. The casual viewer will conclude they're the aggressors.

A page on the faux Pawnee website refers to a similar incident. It could be the same incident, but the lovers' genders are reversed. In any case, the website confirms the show's flippant attitude toward Indians. People killing each other over Euro-American imperialism...ha ha.

Wamapokestone ParkYou may have heard local kids calling it “Wanna poke stoned” but lifetime Pawnee residents know Wamapokestone Park is one of the most romantic spots in town. In the words of Pawnee librarian Debra Fellinsich, “I got some! Finally!”

Wamapokestone Park was established in 1906 over the shared grave of a Wamapoke teen bride and the love of her life, an unknown White settler. Their story is like “Romeo and Juliet,” if Romeo had taken Juliet by force and Juliet’s father had then killed Romeo.
Poehler's poor record

Amy Poehler, the creative force behind Parks and Recreation, is building quite a track record on Indians. Unfortunately, it isn't a positive one.

There are these incidents in the series:

Spirit of Pawnee in Parks and Recreation
Face-Cutting in Parks and Recreation
Twisted to Death in Parks and Recreation
Indians in Parks and Recreation

Her Palin rap during the 2008 presidential campaign:

Palin Rap Features "Eskimos"

And this picture of her in a hipster headdress:

I wonder if this is the liberal equivalent of the conservative view of Indians. She doesn't come out and call them "savages," "drunks," or "lazy bums." But she appears to believe the most common stereotypes. Judging by the evidence, she's no more informed than the average ignorant student.

She may think she's helping or "honoring" Indians by including them in her show. But her tone is condescending, along the lines of: "Look at those quaint, colorful characters with their strange customs and clothing." It's the unconscious racism of a Stephenie Meyer or Hollywood exec rather than the conscious racism of a Pat Buchanan or Jim Marino.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians and US Report to the UN on Racism.


Anonymous said...

your fuckin' stupid. stupid fuck.

Rob said...

Says the idiot who can't even write proper English. Let us know when you have something intelligent to say, dumbass.