March 16, 2008

Cub Scouts and Go Go Gophers

From correspondent DMarks:What children are taught about Indians

On a long road trip today, my mind wandered to something I had not thought of in many years. I recalled this song:

"Big Chief Watopotami
Sat in the sun and said "Me hot am I
Sat in the shade and said "Me cooler
Such is the life of an Indian Ruler."

I remember it well enough to remember the music to the words. This page contains it. It is one of the very few mentions of the little song on Google. This page is of interest:

A guy quotes the lyrics, and how they are not good.

I was taught this in elementary school, probably 2nd or 3rd grade. I do not recall being taught anything else about Indians in grade school other than this. The other exposure to Indians I recall from that age was through Cub Scouts and "Go Go Gophers."
Comment:  My exposure was similar, but it was the Woodcraft Rangers, not the Cub Scouts. You may have learned Indian lore, but we actually pretended to be Indians. The organization was clearly a variation on the Y-Indian Guides.

Of course, I also had my Hopi coloring book and the faux "kachina" I made in 2nd-grade art. And like me, you probably saw Tonto on The Lone Ranger and the occasional Indian on Roy Rogers, Bonanza, or some other Western TV series. Also, Indians made isolated (and stereotypical) appearances on such shows as I Love Lucy, Green Acres, The Time Tunnel, Star Trek, and The Brady Bunch.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.


dmarks said...

For whatever reasons, I did not watch westerns as a child. I think most of them were gone by then, other than "Gunsmoke".

Rob said...

Didn't you turn on the TV and catch some of them inadvertently? They were hard to miss.

How old are you, DMarks?

dmarks said...

I knew Gunsmoke was on at night, and I did not watch it. Dredging memory. perhaps I recall "Bonanza" being around, too. I don't think it was lack-of-interest that made me see them and dismiss them (I don't recall any aversion to Westerns). The most exposure to TV Westerns for me was the obligitary western-themed episode just about every show (Star Trek, Land of the Lost, Gilligans Island... I think, Flintstones, Brady Bunch, Time Tunnel etc).


Rob said...

Ah, you're still a young whippersnapper. ;-)

You seem kind of young to remember The Go Go Gophers. Maybe I'll ask my sister, who's 44, if she remembers it.

P.S. For some reason, The Go Go Gophers didn't make Time magazine's list of best TV shows either. I don't think any show with an Indian theme did.