Tuesday, 15 November 2011

19th Century Native American Image

This image is taken from a 19th century American magazine and demonstrates a native American man 'scalping' another man who was new to the country, called Nelson Lee. The reason for doing this was because the native Americans, especially those from the Arikara tribe, would treat someone who had been scalped as an outcast. An account from someone called Thomas Gist, who had been held prisoner by the same tribe described the events- "The men began to scrape the flesh and blood from the scalps, and dry them by the fire, after which they dressed them with feathers and painted them, then tied them on white, red, and black poles"-This account makes the native American people seem very uncivilised, but it was common practice at this time and maybe it could have been made to look worse because the story was told through a non-native American's voice, and for a new American's magazine.

The reason why this may have been published in a magazine could be down to the fact that the new Americans, who had colonised the country, believed the natives to be savage and inhumane. Rather than publishing the positive things that the natives do for the country, the negatives were focused on to try and prove that the colonisers were right, ie. giving them a reason to try and wipe out the native population through discrimination.

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