June 10, 2013

Stereotypical Whistling Warrior statue

Wedel creates sculpture to honor American Indian

By Tim HoranIt stands 10-feet tall.

It weighs about 500 pounds.

It is designed to whistle in the wind, thus the name Whistling Warrior.

It is a sculpture made by Steve Wedel of Abilene.

It's a freakin' chief throwing an arrow-like spear. So Plains chief stereotype? Check. Savage warrior stereotype? Check.

It's already a failure in terms of representation, but let's hear Wedel explain his tribute:Wedel said he has always had this great empathy for the Indian Nation.

“At one time historians say there were three to 18 million Indians living in America,” he said. “Over 90 percent of those died from the diseases brought in by the European immigrants. On our farm (25 miles south of Abilene) we have some residential artifacts. So this Indian is made to go to our cabin to honor those Indians.

“My goal was to make somebody that was proud and strong and athletic,” he added.

“One thing about the Indians, they lived in harmony with the land,” he said. “They had a great society. It’s not our fault that it happened but it did happen. They were part of the land like the animals. They didn’t dominate the land like we have done. They didn’t cut down the trees. They lived with what was there in a really pretty great society.
"The Indian Nation"...singular. As if all Indians were the same. That could be writer Horan's choice of words, but still.

"Proud and strong and athletic." I.e., primitive and animal-like, not modern and intelligent.

"Part of the land like the animals." Or just "like animals," period.

Everything about this sculpture suggests Indians as wolves in human form--kind of like the beast-men in Twilight. Thanks for the millionth example of this stereotypical and arguably racist "honor," but no thanks.

For more on Indian monuments, see Avon Buys Generic "Brave" Statue and Indian Statue for Staten Island.

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