Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians, 1883-1933

Overview

Between the 1880s and the 1930s Show Indians depicted their warfare with whites and portrayed scenes from their culture in productions that traveled throughout the United States and Europe and drew huge audiences—well over a million people in 1885 alone.

The view that they were tipi-and-war-bonnet Indians exploited by entrepreneurs like Buffalo Bill was commonly held by reformers of the 1890s, and has been uncritically accepted ever since. This book, now available in paperback, ...

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Overview

Between the 1880s and the 1930s Show Indians depicted their warfare with whites and portrayed scenes from their culture in productions that traveled throughout the United States and Europe and drew huge audiences—well over a million people in 1885 alone.

The view that they were tipi-and-war-bonnet Indians exploited by entrepreneurs like Buffalo Bill was commonly held by reformers of the 1890s, and has been uncritically accepted ever since. This book, now available in paperback, is the first to examine the lives and experiences of Show Indians from their own point of view. Their dances, re-enactments of battles, and village encampments, the author demonstrates, helped preserve the Indians' cultural heritage through decades of forced assimilation.

This book also looks at Wild West shows as ventures in the entertainment business. By considering financing, scripting, recruitment, logistics, and public and creditor perceptions, L. G. Moses reveals the complexity of the enterprise and the numerous—and often contradictory—meanings the shows had for Indians, entrepreneurs, audiences, and government officials.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826320896
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,006,105
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

L. G. Moses is professor of history at Oklahoma State University and the author of several books on American Indians.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Before the Wild West Show 10
2 The First Years of Cody's Wild West 21
3 The Wild West of London 42
4 Reformers and the Image of the Show Indian 60
5 Indians Abroad, 1889-1890 80
6 Ghost Dancers of London, 1891-1892 106
7 Indians on the Midway: Fairs and Expositions, 1893-1903 129
8 Show-Indian Students in St. Louis, 1904 150
9 The Wild West Show in Its Prime, 1900-1917 168
10 Federal Policies and Alternate Images, 1900-1917 195
11 Filming the Wild West, 1896-1913 223
12 Decline of the Wild West Shows, 1917-1933 252
Epilogue 274
Abbreviations 281
Notes 283
Bibliography 341
Index 351
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