KINSEY: And I thought, following that, "Most routes to Boston, circle the wagons, we've got it surrounded." And there'd be wagons around a dot that says "Boston."
DON [skeptically]: I can almost picture it. Sal.
SAL: This is the first I'm hearing it, too.
DON: So it's about an airline that's flown by Indians? Maybe a plane with some arrows stuck in the cargo door? That's funny. That's what gets people's attention now, right?
DON: There has to be advertising for people who don't have a sense of humor.
KINSEY: I understand, Don.
DON: What else you got?
KINSEY: Several more Indian puns.
DON: Stop writing for other writers.
DON: It's about adventure. Could be a pirate. Could be a knight in shining armor. Could be a conquistador getting off the boat. It's about a fantastical people who are taking you someplace where you've never been. Blah, blah, blah, blah....
DALE: We could dress the stew as Pocahontas.
SAL: With the cheekbones.
PEGGY: How's his wife going to feel about that?
FREDDY: Air travel's too expensive to waste on your wife.
This sequence may approximate how so many Indians got on corporate logos and in ad campaigns. The ad men weren't overt racists; they were just oblivious to their blind spots. They thought it was "cute" to repeat the stereotypes they'd heard all their lives. They probably didn't think a single Indian was left alive to object.
Note how Dale returns to the ridiculous Indian theme even after Don has shot it down. Though of course Pocahontas has nothing to do with the Mohawks. This shows how much Native stereotypes have gripped our imagination.
Indians = adventure?
Though Don doesn't like the puns, his thinking isn't much better. He explicitly links Indians to pirates and knights--i.e., fantasy figures from the distant past. To him Indians suggest adventure. If you take a flight on Mohawk Airlines, who knows what may happen. Romance, intrigue, even arrows stuck in the cargo door.
I mention the arrows because Don's position is really no different than Kinsey's. Indians represent an escape from the drudgery of families and jobs--or more broadly, civilization. In other words, wildness and freedom. Adventure.
You could trace this kind of thinking back to Turner's Frontier Thesis--if not to the Boston Tea Party. Indians represent(ed) the uncivilized frontier. Americans traveled west to tame that wilderness for themselves. Don is proposing an echo of this: Mohawk (Airlines) as the illusion of adventure.
A little PC
A couple of Don's lines ring totally false. I don't think the typical adult knew about, or would bring up, the Mohawk Nation or conquistadors in 1962. These seem like examples of present-day political correctness to me.
I think the idea of calling tribes "nations" came into vogue much later--perhaps in the '70s or '80s. And I doubt Don would associate "majestic beauty" with an Indian reservation. The Mohawk reservation may be beautiful in some sense, but it's not "national park" beautiful.
The "conquistador" line just seems out of place to me. I think it's the writer's wink-wink way of saying, "We know Indians are real and bad things happened to them. We're not exploiting them or ignoring their plight."
For more on the subject, see Accuracy in Mad Men and Indians in Mad Men.