June 16, 2016

Savage Indians in The Sweepstakes

"Gilligan's Island": The Sweepstakes (TV Episode 1965)
Episode aired 14 October 1965Gilligan wins a million-dollar sweepstakes and is invited to the Howell's country club. After feeling lonely he issues IOUs to the others so they may also attend. He quickly misplaces the wining ticket and they all get evicted.Comment:  In a "Wild West" dream sequence, Prospector Howell and Marshal Gilligan meet sweet, innocent Mary Ann. The following dialogue ensues:GILLIGAN: Keep your hands where I can see 'em.

MARY ANN: Oh, marshal. it's just me.

MARY ANN: Sweet little warm-hearted girl of the golden west me.

GILLIGAN: Why are you crying, Mary Ann?

HOWELL: Will you have a little drink on me?

HOWELL: Would you like a little drink?

MARY ANN: Oh, dare I say it in front of a stranger?

HOWELL: Well, I'm not a stranger.

HOWELL: I'm a friend of your father's.


HOWELL: You mean, he passed over?

MARY ANN: Helped by the Apache.

HOWELL: Well, your mother and me, we were kind of friendly.

MARY ANN: Pushed out by the Cherokee.

HOWELL: Your brother, Tom?

MARY ANN: Sioux.

HOWELL: Your sister, Emily?

MARY ANN: Navajo.

HOWELL: Your dear, sweet, innocent little grandmother?

MARY ANN: Shot by the marshal.

GILLIGAN: Well, you can't win 'em all.
The obvious meaning is that Indians are anonymous and interchangeable savages. As if tribes in three widely separated regions took turns surrounding a cabin and picking off settlers one by one.

The dialogue doesn't explicitly say the Indians killed anyone, but it strongly implies it. No one would get the impression that the Indians kindly "helped" the settlers pack up and move to a better location.

It's a typical example of 1960s stereotyping--trying to have it both ways. The writers might have learned enough not to label Indians as bloodthirsty killers and scalpers. But they wanted to use that racist idea, so they cloaked it in veiled language and slipped it in.


Chief Smelly Boar said...


I am Kee-Tah-Ho-Chak, Chief Smelly Boar, of the Navajo people. I come to you in a time of great distress.

The land is Mother to all Navajo and all manner of beast, from Brother Elk to Sister Raccoon. The river that flows like the snake slithering through the grass is Father, and nourishes all with His water. We have honoured and respected them since I'oka'ne'to the Dutiful strung his bow and gave birth to the sky.

Recently, it has been revealed to us that the land contains what the White Man calls oil. He uses it to feed his Iron Machines and Thunder Chariots. Now the White Man has demanded that he build a giant Iron Tepee on our land to extract this oil. We refused his offers of gold and silver, and he left disgruntled.

Unfortunately treachery is abound! The nearby Lakota tribe, whom we have traded with for many moons, is in the White Man's pocket. They have now declared war on my people, if we do not bow down to the White Man's demand. They threaten to scalp ever brave, and take every squaw captive. We are a noble people, but we do not want war.

What I request of you is this: use your electronic smoke signal here to spread the word of the White Man's threats, and the Lakota's treachery. Send every electronic horse you have running across the Interweb lines so that everyone comes in to help us. As payment for your services, we offer you 6 horses, 10 pigs, and my youngest daughter Squaw Used-For-Treaties.

Please respond to me as soon as you can, Outlander.

Anonymous said...

Where are you Rob? So much has happened.....


Anonymous said...

For the record, since you were discussing Taylor Lautner, his mother's ancestry is now publicly available and there are no Native American ancestors anywhere, certainly not in his recent past.

All his family up to at least his great-great-grandparents are listed as "White" on censuses.