Nineteenth-Century Representations of Native Americans Criticism: The Indian As Exhibit - Essay

Sarah Blackstone (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Simplifying the Native American: Wild West Shows Exhibit the ‘Indian,’” in Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama, edited by Marc Maufort, Peter Lang, 1995, pp. 9-17.

[In the following essay, Blackstone examines the Wild West Show of 1880-1920 in which Native Americans were exhibited as examples of both the noble savage and the bloodthirsty barbarian.]

The dominant white culture in American has long been content to view the Native American as a representative of a single homogeneous culture (Indian), and within the binary construct of noble savage/barbarian. Native Americans have not often been portrayed as, or considered...

(The entire section is 3587 words.)

Paul Gilmore (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Indian in the Museum: Henry David Thoreau, Okah Tubbee, and Authentic Manhood,” in Arizona Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 2, Summer, 1998, pp. 25-63.

[In the following essay, Gilmore suggests that Native Americans were represented in nineteenth-century museums as masculine and unsubmissive—which corresponds to Henry David Thoreau's mythologized image of them.]

In the February 27, 1843, edition of the New York Herald, P. T. Barnum advertised his American Museum as a “Combination Of Unequalled And Unprecedented Attractions.” An “Ethiopian Extravaganza” and “The Indian Chiefs, Warriors, And Squaws” headline the list of attractions Barnum...

(The entire section is 14319 words.)