January 11, 2012

"Secret Indian Predictions!"

The Sun Tabloid Reveals (Faux) ‘SECRET INDIAN PREDICTIONS!’

By Gale Courey ToensingThe Sun, a weekly tabloid published by American Media, Inc. of New York, proclaims on the front page of its January 9 issue: “Stunning PROPHECIES that will change your life: SECRET INDIAN PREDICTIONS FOR PEACE & PROSPERITY.”

“Your life will be soon be (sic) changed for the better, say scholars studying the long-lost final writings of two Native American elders,” reporter Alan Burgroft says in his lead sentence. Burgroft goes on to tell the fantastic tale of an alleged prophet, a “Brule Sioux veteran and wise man named Follows Bear” who passed away at a Christian mission outside Minot, South Dakota in 1953. As he was dying, his nephew, a college student wrote down Follows Bear’s last words and, following the elder’s instructions, placed the notes inside a small iron box inside an elm tree growing near his uncle’s grave.
After listing a few predictions, Toensing concludes:As amusing as such tabloid stories may be, they raise questions about the portrayal of American Indians in popular culture. Do such stories continue to support the false stereotypes so familiar in the Hollywood cowboy-and-Indian shoot ’em up movies?Comment:  Although Toensing mostly paraphrases the predictions, they refer to climate change, a great recession, soldiers returning home, and a new political movement. It sounds suspiciously like they were written six months ago, not 60 years ago.

These Indian predictions" appear regularly in the tabloids. Here's a previous note about one example of them: "100 Secret Indian Prophecies."

The image of a chief in warpaint is stereotypical, of course. As is the notion that Indians have a mystical ability to see the future. Only the first stereotype commonly appears in "Hollywood cowboy-and-Indian shoot ’em up movies."

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