From stereotype to archetype

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From stereotype to archetype American Indian identities in art and literature
Vickers, Scott Bryson
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Indians in literature ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Pictorial works ( lcsh )
Indians in literature ( fast )
Indians of North America ( fast )
Pictorial works. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Pictorial works ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 184-190).
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Humanities.
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by Scott Bryson Vickers.

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University of Colorado Denver
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FROM STEREOTYPE TO ARCHETYPE AMERICAN INDIAN IDENTITIES IN ART AND LITERATURE by Scott Bryson Vickers B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1991 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities 1994


1994 by Scott Bryson Vickers All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Scott Bryson Vickers has been approved for the Humanities Program by Charles Moone


Vickers, Scott Bryson (M. H.) From Stereotype to Archetype: American Indian Identities in Art and Literature Thesis directed by Professor Bradford K. Mudge ABSTRACT This thesis follows the development and perpetuation of certain stereotypes of the American Indian from the moment of contact by European colonists in 1492 up until the present, with special emphasis on the period between the 1880s and the 1940s. A premise of the thesis is that these stereotypes have had the cumulative effect of dehumanizing and deracinating Indians in the causes of Manifest Destiny and Christian hegemony, posing critical survival and identity crises for Indian cultures and individuals. The thesis discusses the way stereotypes evolve from racist ideology, from colonial imperatives, and finally from within the religious myths of both traditional Indian lore and Christianity. On a national level, it shows how stereotypes were conceived and perpetrated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as part of a national policy to void Indians of their historical Indian identities as a pretext for cultural and actual genocide. In contradistinction, this discussion then attempts to show how certain writers and artists helped bring about a humanizing re-vision of Indians as significant human entities, formed from an archetypal context of traditional tribal mythology and individual characterization. Writers Helen Hunt Jackson, Oliver La Farge, and Frank Waters are cited as helping iv


to create both a new national consciousness about Indians and unique fictive Indian characters who belie stereotypical notions. In addition, artists William R. Leigh and members of the Taos Society of Artists are examined for their contributions toward more deromanticized images of Indians that attempt to portray them "as they really are." Bringing the discussion into the present, the thesis then focuses on three modern Indian artists, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Edgar Heap of Birds, and Diego Romero, who bridge the gap between stereotype and archetype in their distinctive works. The thesis concludes that, although significant progress has been made in literary and artistic representations of Indians by both Indians and non-Indians, the legacy of using racial detenninants to define the authenticity of Indian identities continues to plague both Indian-white and Indian-Indian relationships. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. recommend its publication. v


Dedicated to my human and animal alliesMark, Alexander, Fanny, Luke, and Molly; and to the Power of Indians everywhere.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The inspiration for researching, writing, and compiling this manuscript has come from many diverse sources and people whose contributions I would like now to acknowledge. I hope this work will repay in some part their financial, professional, and emotional support. My parents, Bill and Adelle, have given me immense encouragement and support during all of my academic career, and I hope they are at last thankful that I have finished something I started. Professor Kent Casper and the Humanities Department at the University of Colorado at Denver have been generous enough to award me two tuition grants toward the completion of this thesis, as well as showing genuine concern for my academic livelihood. I am indebted to my thesis advisors, Professor Brad Mudge, Professor Charles Moone, and Professor Kent Casper for their advice and reading of this manuscript during its various manifestations, for which they have received no compensation but for its completion. I would also like to thank Tom and Marilyn Auer of The Bloomsbury Review for introducing me to the rich world of modem multicultural literature and for ideas and resources they have provided during my research. Bob Nauman, a doctoral candidate at the University of New Mexico, was instrumental in helping me find a focus for this thesis and has been a vii


consistent inspiration and resource on Indian artists and the history of Indian art. Foremost, I would like to thank my longtime companion Mark Waddell for making immense personal and financial sacrifices that I might reach this watermark in my life. I say with all humility that I could not have done it without all of the aforementioned's support, encouragement, and love. viii


CONfENTS CHAPTER 1. 2. 3. . . . .1 What Constitutes a Stereotype? 5 What Constitutes an Archetype? 8 Authority, Authorship, and Authenticity 13 NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF Meet Your Maker: A Semiological View .15 27 Puritan Projection: A Psychological View 35 WROUGHTEN SCOtJNDREIS The Bad Indian, Hollywood Style Good Indians Can Be Bought Here 40 46 51 4. PORTRAITS OF DISHONOR 58 Father Salvierderra's Dream 59 5. A RECAPITUlATION OF INDIANNESS 71 6. THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE DISENFRANCHISED William R. Leigh 85 89 Bert Greer Phillips 102 joseph Sharp . . . . . 1()9 ix


7. Walter Ufer 115 THE GROL1'.TUS FOR MYTHIFICATION 123 The Book of the Hopi 127 The Man 'Who Killed the Deer 132 Pumpkin Seed Point 142 8. FROM STEREOTYPE TO ARCHETYPE 151 9. A Brief History of the "Indian Artist" 155 Three Indian Artists Close-Up 163 CONCLUSIONS 176 BIBLIOGRAPHY 184 X


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUOlON It seems native peoples' histories have been ignored and replaced by the myths of historians. This is not acceptable. -joanna Osburn Bigfeather, Cherokee artist The issue of human identity has always been intertwined with "histories" of different kinds-personal psychic history, genealogical family history, "tribal" history associated with ethnic and/or racial origins, sociopolitical history, ideological or cultural history involved with the development of so-called "points of view," the history of human origins in general (whether mythological or scientific), and ultimately cosmological history that is personified by a deity or deities who may or may not be involved intimately with human identity. How such histories are conceived and passed on from person to person and from generation to generation inevitably involves the use of language, whether written, oral, or pictorial, and thus identity becomes a construct of language of some sort. As the Biblical Gospel of john states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" ( 1:1), a passage that established a vivid link between language and the ultimate identity, that of God. In the process by which individuals and cultures seek their identity, 1


language thus plays a supremely powerful role as the bearer and creator of all histories. What, then, can Joanna Bigfeather mean when she complains that "native peoples' histories have been ignored," that they have been supplanted by the "myths of historians"? The answer lies in the plasticity of signification inherent in language, and in the way different histories are told in vastly different languages. The foundational "Word" that "was God" for John is not the same word that is God for Joanna Bigfeather. John's word "was made flesh" in the person of Christ, and, as written language, made palpable and reproducible. For non-Christian cultures, those that do not have a mythological history based on the Biblical word, the word that is God was made flesh, or became incarnate symbolically, in an immense diversity of other manifestations. North American Indian cultures evolved without a written language: their traditions were communicated orally and pictorially. Thus the ultimate identities of Native Americans, as assumed through their emulation of the identities of their god(s), are based on histories that have little to do with the Word of John. Personal and cultural identities, then, become linguistically and semiologically attached to the meanings behind the words for God, meanings whose very nature can be ignored, permutated, denigrated, "written over" (in the sense of a palimpsest), or even obliterated by other meanings, other Words. Because identity relies so much on the significance of a combination of linguistically transmitted histories, it is 2


precarious and subject to the intrusion or influence of other histories, other identities. Unless individuals act to retain their personal and cultural histories, as they perceive them, they can face an insignificance that precedes their very extinction, as has nearly been the case with American Indians. In the discussion that follows, I will address the way language in various forms acts as both a destroyer and a creator of identity. As the guiding mythos of the colonial culture of white Euramerica, Christianity as a linguistic construct has, by various machinations, sought to destroy the historical identities of Indian cultures and individuals. In collusion with the political imperatives of colonialism, Christians have created numerous self-perpetuating stereotypes of Indians that, because they have subsumed Indian histories, have sought both to void Indians of any viable identities with their own cultures, mythologies, or themselves, and also to inject in their stead the "whiteness" endemic to Christian culture and identity. Indians, having no written language, have had to contend with the Christian "Word of God" largely on an intuitive and ceremonial level. Their history has literally been written by the dominating culture, and this writing has subsumed the oral and pictorial histories by which Indians knew themselves during the centuries before contact. Consequently, Indians have become a tragically conflicted people. As Flathead-Salish artist ]aune Quick-to-See Smith has noted, "I was born a redskin, raised an Indian, and now I'm a Native American, an indigenous person, a 'skin,' or a 3


citizen of an Indian nation." "Each one of these names," observes art critic Lucy Lippard, "had and has historical significance; each is applied from outside or inside according to paternalistic, parental, or personal experience" ( 1990, 19). The distinction Lippard makes between "outside" and "inside" is crucial to the discussion at hand, for it highlights a parallel distinction between objective and subjective identity. Throughout this argument I 'Will bring into play a bipolar differentiation between stereotypes, which construct identity from "outside," or objectively, and archetypes, which construct identity from "inside," or subjectively; these two concepts deserve some definition at the outset. During the last five hundred years of colonial expansion in the United States, what Indians have long considered to be their heterogeneous identities (for all Indian tribes have each developed differing tribal identities) have slowly and methodically been restructured, by "the myths of historians," into a more homogenous identity that groups all Indians into a single amalgamated "tribe." This amalgamation has been accomplished by the "outside" influences of the colonizing culture, whose goal has been "the delirious illusion of uniting the world under the aegis of a single principle-that of a homogeneous substance of the Jesuits of the Counter Reformation," as Jean Baudrillard has suggested ( 1983, 109-10), or, in the United States, that of Puritan Protestantism. In accomplishing this end, it has been necessary to formulate a single Indian entity out of many, a process that has in turn 4


necessitated the formulation of stereotypes that replace historical Indian identities \o\oith an easily manipulated sameness. At the level of theocracy, this translation of the Indian has largely been effected through a denial of Indian religious heritages and a simultaneous indoctrination into Christianized mythology. As we shall see, this "conversion" has met \o\oith considerable resistance, as it has in all colonized cultures, that has in tum sanctioned the use of military, legal, and political forces that have marginalized traditional Indian identities not only theologically but physically and economically as well. That this conversion has been implemented through a racial ideology, a collusion of mythopoesis and racism, is the main topic of this discussion. What Constitutes a Stereotype? The stereotypes that have been projected on American Indians from "outside" fall into two distinct categories, one "positive" (that of the Noble Savage) and one "negative" (that of the Ignoble Savage). The various subgroups \o\oithin these two categories are delineated in Chapter Three, but as an introduction to them in general I would suggest the following criteria by which the supposed "racial inferior," in this case the American Indian, can be and has been stereotyped. 5


Conditions of the "Positive" Stereotype The stereotyped group is glamorized as the Noble Savage representing a lost or vanishing human species deemed worthy of emulation or sustained nostalgia; The "racially inferior" group is seen as a harmless, childlike race in need of paternalistic guidance, self-improvement, education, civilization, conversion, and/ or patronization; The racial inferior is permanently consigned to an idealized past, frozen in history as an artifact who can be appreciated philosophically and aesthetically (as a "copper god" or a "natural philosopher") but who has no present political reality; Having been converted and/ or civilized by the dominant culture, the racial inferior is then seen as a good example to his/her people of the ostensible benefits of such a conversion; and/or, The racial inferior is seen as a subservient yet honorable character capable of assisting the dominant culture toward the fulfillment of its destiny (the "my man Friday" syndrome). Obviously, these various conditions, like those that follow, can be interchanged and combined to produce characters of varying degrees of acceptability or unacceptability to the dominant culture. 6


Conditions of the "Negative" Stereotype The "racial inferior" lacks a recognizable psychological realityi.e., motivation for his or her actions, emotional content, coherent thought processes and speech, personality, bodily self-awareness, cultural context, humor, and a "spiritual condition" or soul; The racial inferior does demonstrate any of the above in a negative and only negative connotation; i.e., as "murderous," "rapacious," "prinlitive," "one-dimensional," "naked," "heathenish," "wooden," "full of gibberish," or "devilish"; The racial inferior is portrayed as "less than human," animalistic, and lacking any conscious or moral motivation; The skin color or racial features of the racial inferior are exaggerated, caricaturized, or in themselves sufficient to deny him or her human status; The racial inferior has no historical or cultural reality, and thus s/he is as s/he is portrayed by the defining entity, without recourse to self-defense, testimony, or other inalienable rights to an autonomous selfhood; and/ or, The racial inferior is, by Biblical definition or inference, a "child of the devil" and a hostile Other. Examples of these criteria will be evident throughout the text in various manifestations. It should be emphasized that "negative" and 7


"positive," or "good" and "bad," appellations regarding these stereotypes are entirely relative to the preconceptions and needs of the dominant culture, and that the use of any stereotype regarding the portrayal of Indians is herein considered to be contributory to their dehumanization and deracination. What Constitutes an Archervoe? Self-naming and identity also emerge into consciousness, as Lippard suggests, from "inside" the individual in the form of pre-conscious psychic experiences as a child, as dream.s and "visions," as the contents of subvocal speech, as intellectual deliberation, through identification with oral traditions, histories, rituals, myths and cosmologies, and as the creative intelligence that empowers us to reinvent ourselves, among a variety of quite subjective-intuitive phenomena. Within the epistemologies of religion and the "sciences" of genetics and psychology, many different models emerge that attempt to describe the subjective phenomena of selfgeneration and self-revelation, each using terminologies unique to themselves, many of which have come into common usage. Some religions, for example, speak of the "inner voice" that contains the wisdom of the deity, sought through fasting, prayer, and meditation. Some Indian religions practice the shamanistic inducement of inner visions via the rituals of the "vision quest" and/ or the ingestion of vision8


inducing, psychotropic drugs such as peyote and mescaline. Since the discovery of the DNA molecule by Watson and Crick, a whole generation of geneticists have sought to explain how identity, both physical and psychical, might consist of a myriad chemically progranuned reactions that determine the way proteins interact to form unique, inborn individual identities. Similarly, modem neuroscience is concerned with the production and interplay of "neurotransmitters" as they impact the psychic life generated in the brain. The tripartite psychological model of Sigmund Freud is widely known to consist of the subtle relationships between the ego, id, and superego that form and inform personality. These are just a few very oversimplified examples of how identity constructed from "inside" the individual is thought to occur. The word "archetype" has emerged into modem usage as part of a psychoanalytic model articulated principally by C. G. Jung. It is, however, an ancient word first used, according to Jung, by Philo Judaeus, an early Greek philosopher, "with reference to the Imago Dei (God-image) in man." The word continued to be used by Gnostics, alchemists, and philosophers to denote a primal form or "material" (like "archetypal light" or "archetypal stone") that they proposed was the originary creative element of the universe. In Jung's adaptation of the word, he theorizes that "we are dealing with archaic or-1 would say-primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times." Jung's concern with archetypes is one of manifestation and transformation. His 9


conception of the formation of individual and cultural identity, which he calls the "process of individuation," depends upon how the various archetypes emerge into consciousness: "The archetype is essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming conscious and by being perceived, and it takes its colour from the individual consciousness in which it happens to appear." What makes the Jungian concept of the archetype useful in this discussion is its antithetical function in contrast to the stereotype, and the implication that, unlike stereotypes that are projected on individuals from the "outside," it derives from within the individual via either the "personal unconscious" ("a more or less superficial layer") or the "collective unconscious" ("'which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn"). Furthermore, Jung's own interest in the way that "primitive tribal lore is concerned with archetypes that have been modified in a special way" will assist us in pursuing the intrinsic correlation between Indian histories and Indian identities (]ung 1969, 3-5). Archetypes, because they constellate in individual consciousnesses in different ways and are "coloured" by them, tend to produce heterogeneity and individualism, and may be seen as part of a dynamic model of identity formation. Stereotypes, on the other hand, tend to produce homogeneity and a static model of identity, fixed in language and in time. While both are ultimately concerned with images, "an experience in images and of images ," the archetypes suggest a living, transitive, and 10


thus historically active concept of identity, one involved in "making" the world (38). 'When a race's history is erased, or ignored, so then is its potential for a continued making of identity. As mythologist Roland Barthes has suggested: "The oppressed makes the world, he has only an active, transitive (political) language; the oppressor conserves [the world], his language is plenary, intransitive, gestural, theatrical: it is Myth. The language of the former aims at transforming, of the latter at eternalizing" (1972, 149). Although Barthes tends to view all myth as stagnating, malignant, and oppressive, Jung perceives that there are, in practicality, two kinds of myth, one oppressive and the second liberating. In his discussion of archetypes, Jung makes a crucial distinction between those that have found expression in myth, fairytale, and tribal lore, "received a specific stamp and have been handed down through long periods of time," and been codified as "tribal lore" or "the ruling world religions," and those that emerge spontaneously as "complexes that come upon us like fate, [whose] effects are felt in our most personal life" (5, 7, 30). The first kind, like Christianity or the traditional myths of Indians, "all claim supreme authority for themselves" and are thus engaged in the cultural and religious warfare of the world. This type of myth "is constituted by the loss of the historical quality of things: in it things lose the memory that they were once made." Further, it "is a language which does not want to die: it wrests from the meanings which give it its sustenance an insidious, 11


degraded survival, it provokes in them an artificial reprieve in which it settles comfortably, it turns them into speaking corpses" (Barthes 1972, 142, 133). The second types of myth, consisting of the "archetypes of transformation," resist supreme authority-"the one thing consistent with their nature is their manifold meaning, their almost limitless wealth of reference, which makes any unilateral formulation impossible" (]ung 1969, 3 8). In the discussion that follows, I have applied the first meaning of myth, or mythos, to denote the messianic, colonial imperative of Christianity. The second I have reserved for those instances, in the literature and art that I discuss, that denote Indian characters or identities that do not conform to the "stamp" of either their own tradition or of stereotype. "They are ambiguous, full of half-glimpsed meanings," and as such represent "authentic" human beings engaged in "a rhythm of negative and positive, loss and gain, dark and light" (38). But I hasten to emphasize that this distinction does not imply that all Indians are more inclined to individuation than to tradition, nor that all white Christians are more inclined to tradition than to individuation, but only that, over the course of American history, the significant trend has been to deprive Indians of their heterogeneous identities and histories so that white colonists might more easily advance their Christian agenda of imperial homogeneity. Indians are no more immune to the exercise of racial prejudice than are any of other races of the world, as my conclusions will 12


emphasize. Indeed, the focus of my interest is how codified myth of any origin acts as an adjunct to racial ideology, and how both collude in creating the "hideous nighnnare [that] lies upon the world" (253). Jung of course was alluding to the more recent atrocities of Geiman Fascists in World War II, but the near genodde of American Indians serves as yet another salient example, among many, of the nighnnare of ethnic genocide. Authoritv. Authorship. and Authenticity Related to the structures of identity, history, and mythology, the issues of authority, authorship, and authenticity come into play as agents of power. If Indian history since 1492 has been "written" (authored) by white authority, as is the case, then how can Indians attain or retain authentic identities? The author of history also assumes the power of the author of identity and the arbiter of authenticity. Both "authority" and "authorship" derive from the Latin word auctor, meaning "originator," while "authentic" is defined as being "from an origin that cannot be questioned," giving rise to a triumverate of linguistic power over identity. I would further offer this definition of "authenticity" as it might apply to Indian characters and images discussed herein: Authenticity implies a conscious participation in the authorship of one's own identity. The origins of traditional Indian identities lie in the archaic past, and are contained in their creation myths such as thqse of the Hopi of 13


Arizona, which I will discuss in Chapter Seven. Significantly, the first words spoken by the "first people" in Hopi myth were "Why are we here? Who are we?," certainly questions concerned with identity. Like all autonomous cultures, the Hopi found their own unique answers to these questions. After the Conquest and the settlement of their land by whites, they were compelled to give up these answers to a new authority that denied their authenticity as a culture, and thus the authorship of that authenticity. For this reason, Joanna Bigfeather says, "This is not acceptable" (1991, 28). That it is not is the premise with which I proceed, beginning with an analysis of the conception and perpetuation of stereotypes of the Indian, and followed by examples of what I believe to be significant deconstructions of those stereotypes by selected writers and artists. 14


CHAPTER2 NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF REINVENTION We are tbe bold marauders, We are tbe white destroyers. And deatb will be our darling And Christ will be our name. -Richard Farifta, "The Bold Marauder" The formulation and usage of Indian stereotypes in American political language is easily discovered in the "official language" of the national leadership, in this case that of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a federal governmental agency founded on March 12, 1824. Between the years 1824 and 1977, forty-six men served as commissioners of the bureau, whose charge it was to formulate official policy regarding the "Indian problem" (indeed, to formulate the "Indian problem" itself), and to decide the fate of the 300,000 or so Indians remaining in the country preceding the last of the great "Indian Wars." Operating, at first and for a long while to come, under the manifestly paternal attitude that "Indians-like children-often did not know what was best for themselves" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 6), the commissioners of the BIA became the mouthpieces for the national conscience regarding the treatment of Indians and the designers of a racial ideology with which to justify the westward expansion of Manifest Destiny. Their official proclamations and philosophical 15


positions regarding the nature of the Indian reflect the prevailing notions of Indianness, and thus form a linguistic distillation in which we can sense the careful construction and perpetuation of Indian stereotypes. With the notorious Indian fighter Andrew Jackson as President, the BIA's original position under Elbert Herring ( 1831-36) "exemplified the ethnocentrism that characterized Jacksonian Indian policy," a policy motivated by a racial ideology founded in and justified by Christian prejudice against anything non-Christian (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 12). Jackson himself, according to David E. Stannard, had supervised the mutilation of 800 or so Creek Indian corpses-the bodies of men, women, and children that he and his men had massacred-cutting off their noses to count and preserve a record of the dead, slicing long strips of flesh from their bodies to tan and turn into bridle reins. (1992, 123) Herring, writes Ronald Satz, "was unwilling to concede that the Indians might have a cultural distinctiveness and integrity worth preserving" and "found native civil laws, communal landholding patterns, non-Christian religious beliefs, and occupational preferences extremely obnoxious" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 13). During his administration, the removal of most Indian tribes east of the Mississippi to "reservations" in the West commenced. The continuing impetus of the bureau hinged on an either/or premise concerning the Indian: "The only alternatives left are, to civilize or exterminate them," announced Secretary of the Interior Alexander H. H. Stuart in 1852 (52). How best to "civilize" them became the ostensibly humanitarian mandate and the "white man's burden" of the bureau, and 16


involved considerable consternation among its various commissioners, many of whom, having had no firsthand experience with Indians, were forced to rely on and amplify stereotypical notions of the Indian in order to justify their political maneuverings. Federal Indian policy assumed several things about Indian culture that reinforced earlier stereotypes and created others. William Medill, commissioner from 1845 to 1849, assumed Indians to be "ignorant, degraded, lazy, and [in possession of] no worthwhile cultural traits." Medill possessed no prior knowledge of Indian affairs, yet was able to say, with great conviction, that too much federal support of impoverished tribal welfare led only to "the means of living for a time, independent of industry and exertion, in idleness and profligacy, until the indisposition to labor or the habit of intemperance becomes so strong, that [the Indian] degenerates into a wretched outcast" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 30). He was a strong advocate for punishing drunken Indians, whom he assumed to be legion, and was instrumental in introducing manual labor schools and missions onto the reservations. Medill's successor, Orlando Brown, professed in 1849 that by means of government policies of education and assimilation, "and with the aid of religious and benevolent societies, [Indians] may be, perhaps, turned from their roving habits, their thirst for war and bloodshed allayed, and they may be gradually won over to agriculture, and ultimately civilization" ( 44). The litany of obvious racism continued under Luke Lea (1850-53), who "believed the Indian to be a barbarian and often 17


expressed horror over the actions of some of the 'wild' tribes" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 50). Lea was eloquent in his justification for the "civilizing" of the Indian: When civilization and barbarism are brought in such relation that they cannot coexist together, it is right that the superiority of the former should be asserted and the latter compelled to give way. It is, therefore, no matter of regret or reproach that so large a portion of our territory has been wrested from its aboriginal inhabitants and made the happy abode of an enlightened and Christian people. (54) Manifest Destiny has never had a more plainspoken advocate. Lea's administration was "troubled" by Apache skinnishes in the new Texas territory ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, by Indian resistance to the white onslaught into California prompted by the Gold Rush, and by the beginnings of the great Sioux Wars. By 1865, such sentiments as Lea's had achieved the level of policy, and Dennis Nelson Cooley (1865-66) "clearly saw the elimination of Indian culture as a laudable objective" (102). During the previous year, Colonel John Chivington had perpetrated one of the two worst massacres in Indian history, the Sand Creek massacre near Fort Lyon, Colorado, during which over "200 Cheyennes were [slaughtered], more than half of them women and children" while a white flag of truce flew over their encampment (Waldman 1988, 51-52). Cooley referred to some of his Puebloan Indian wards as "the miserable lizard-eaters of Arizona," and was instrumental in making the "small-reservation system" a reality by gaining large treatied land cessions from the Osage, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokees. 18


John Q, Smith (1875-77) again echoed the national consensus that the stereotyped nature of Indians (being composed chiefly of "ignorance, degradation, indolence, savagery, and superstition") was in itself cause for their oppression (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 149). With Smith's administration, the beginning of the end of Indian military resistance to white colonization was realized during the War for the Black Hills (or Sitting Bull's and Crazy Horse's War, 1876-77) that was to culminate in 1890 with the Massacre at Wounded Knee (Waldman 1988, 224). By 1883, a Court of Indian Offenses was inaugurated by Hiram Price "to abolish rights and customs so injurious to Indians," among which were "participation in certain dances, plural marriages, the destruction of property by mourners, the purchase of wives and concubines" and the engagement of medicine men in their "usual practices" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 175, emphasis added). It was hoped that such prohibitions, along with those introduced later against alcohol consumption, long hair, and tribal religious practices, would hasten the now brutalized heathen Indian along the road to Christian civilization. The goal, until the administration of John Collier in 1933, was consistent and unrelenting: "to impress American civilization upon the Indian, to whiten the red man," whether by political, religious, or military might (169). Recurring among the several commissioned viewpoints are three central imperatives that are served by and demand a basic ignorance of Indian culture-a blissful ignorance, as it were-that made the cultural and 19


A photographic manipulation of the image of black actor Paul Robeson into that of a "\vhitened" African American. By Daniel Tisdale, 1988. "Torn Toslino, Navajo, arrived at the Carlisle Institute in Pennsylvania in 1882. Three years later, the school had done its best to 'civilize' hirn."--Stephen Trimble, The People, 1993. 20


possible physical genocide of Indians palatable to both the commissioners and the white population at large. First was the either/or, "us or them" position announced by Stuart in 1852, and echoed again in 1909 by Commissioner Robert Valentine: "It is possible to do only two things with the Indians," he said, "to exterminate them, or to make them into citizens. Whichever we choose should be done in the most business-like manner (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 234, emphasis added). It should be noted that in both instances, and throughout the history of the BIA, the word "extermination" does not refer to anything but actual physical genocide; the implementation of cultural genocide falls on the other side of the coin, that of "civilization." Both options, then, constitute one form of genocide or another, a point that makes the supposed resolution of an "Indian question" rather moot. Second, as George M. Frederickson has pointed out, the first dilemma incorporates a subset of two related dilemmas facing the Christian hegemony: There were two crucial distinctions which allowed Europeans of the Renaissance and Reformation period [and afterwards] to divide the human race into superior and inferior categories. One was between Christian and heathen and the other between "civil" and "savage." (1981, 7) As the BIA went about its business trying to "civilize" its Indian wards, it consistently voiced its belief that civilization and christianization were to go hand in hand toward helping the savage Indian achieve full membership in the human race. Commissioner Thomas Hartley Crawford 21


(1838-45) was the first to recognize that the replacement of Indian traits with those of the white Christian might best be effected through a comprehensive reeducation effort: "Between 1838 and 1845, the commissioner drew on [his past] experience to help construct an educational system for Indians that was to have a profound impact on their lives and that survived for generations" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 25). Crawford also conjoined "civilization" with "christianization" forever in the policies of the BIA: "Indians must be civilized, as well as, if not in order to their being, Christianized" (26). Cooley ( 1865-66) reinforced this alignment by encouraging the practice of "using religious denominations to oversee the transition from savagery to civilization" (102). This prospect was reaffinned, during its actual continuance in practice from Crawford's day, by Roland E. Trowbridge who, in 1880, "retained the old rule that at each Indian agency a single [religious] denomination held an exclusive missionary franchise" ( 169). As late as 19 2 3, the BIA reiterated its position that "it should do everything in its power to assist the religious volunteers who worked among the Indians." Although Charles Henry Burke (1921-29) was completely ignorant of Indian customs and ceremonials, he "instructed his superintendents to limit the duration of Indian dances and to put a halt to certain 'degrading ceremonials' which the missionaries charged were a part of the dances" (259). In his "Message to All Indians" of 24 February 1923, Burke wrote: I do not want to deprive you of decent amusement or occasional feast days, but you should not do evil or foolish things or take so much 22


time for these occasions. No good comes from your "giveaway" [potlatch] custom and dances, and it should be stopped. It is not right to torture your bodies or handle poisonous snakes in your ceremonies [as did the Hopi]. All such extreme things are wrong and should be put aside and forgotten. (Lippard 1990, 209) The bureau's policy, then, was one of eviscerating Indians of their religious beliefs while at the same time replacing those beliefs with Christian ones, a process akin to that of the inoculation that I will discuss shortly. Third among the bureau's most overriding imperatives was to act in the "best interests" of its Indian wards as regards the allocation and management of Indian lands. Implied in this "burden," of course, was the stereotypical and expedient notion that Indians were not competent to rule over their own lands (those few million acres that were indeed left for them to manage). Also at stake was the question of whether Indians had lawful claim to any of the lands they had occupied before contact and colonization, despite treaties to the contrary. By the 1860s, "Congress and the public had begun to doubt that Indian tribes had any valid aboriginal land claims" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 96). The administration of Cato Sells (1913-21) perhaps best exemplifies how the ostensibly good intentions of the bureau regarding Indian land were, and are, irreconcilably intertwined with colonial imperialism. Caught in the middle between land-hungry whites and "incompetent" Indians whose land allotments had run out of federal protection twentyfive years after the Dawes Act of 1887, Sells tried his best to defend Indians 23


,. _,. ,,' ( $ ,' t .. '. 11.' \, The dramatic diminishment of Indian lands between 1850 and 1990 was but one of the impoverishing effects of BIA policy. 24


against both taxation and other means toward usurpation of their land parcels. The BIA heretofore had allotted some 138 million acres of reservation land to individual Indian families in the hopes that private ownership would break down tribal relations and thus accelerate the assimilation of Indians into the greater capitalist society of private landholders and entrepreneurs. The ostensible "good intentions," as proffered by John D. C. Atkins ( 1885-88), promised "Indian progress and development" towards an agrarian economy, "self-sufficiency, personal independence, and material thrift" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 182). As usual, it was not admitted but well-known among BIA bureaucrats that most Indians preferred holding their land in common, either as clans or tribes, and had not the faintest desire to own land privately. Twenty-five years later, when the federal trust protecting these allotments ran out, Sells found that most Indians still remained "incompetent" (by BIA criteria) to assume fee simple ownership of their allotments, which meant in effect that the allotments remained under the control of the BIA, as did the fates of the Indian tribes who held them. Those who were deemed "competent," half of whom were among the reservation Indians of Oklahoma, quickly sold their land to white entrepreneurs. Ironically, while the bureau failed to break down tribal affiliations as intended by the Dawes Act, it also failed to force Indians into assimilation and enculturation, and by the 1990s the reservation system was still the norm, and "incompetent" Indians still the wards of the BIA. Between 1887 25


and 1934, as a result of the failure of the Dawes Act, traditionally Indian lands were reduced by some sixty percent through broken treaties, white purchases, leases, and government reallocation. To this day, the management of most remaining Indian lands in the lower 48 states is assumed by the BIA and the Department of the Interior, whose propensity it is to provide white businessmen (mining companies, water grantees, oil drillers, lumber companies, etc.) with lucrative leases on Indian land. Indian scholar and activist Ward Churchill notes the chillingly ironic economic results of BIA land policy based on perpetuating the stereotype of the indolent, incompetent Indian. In his 1992 study Fantasies of the Master Race Churchill writes: ... federal officials saw to it that indigenous populations were restricted to what was then thought to be the least useful and productive portions of North America, mostly arid and semi-arid parcels deemed unfit for ranching and agriculture, and typically lacking in timber and other renewable resources. It is one of history's supreme ironies that this same "worthless" acreage turned out to be extraordinarily rich in minerals, overlying about twothirds of all known uranium reserves within the boundaries of the continental United States [and various other rich yields of oil, natural gas, copper, bauxite, zeolite and other ores]. These minerals, plainly belonging to other [i.e., Indian] nations, constitute the bulk of what federal economic planners now like to refer to as "U.S. domestic reserves." ( 6) Although most modem tribes have their own governing structures and legal systems, the BIA and Department of Interior control land usage and thus determine the economic viability of Indian communities. The stereotype of the incompetent Indian, as we will see, has been taken up by such authors as Oliver La Farge and Frank Waters, and the policies of the 26


BIA, whose real "literary" function was to "write" the Indian stereotype for the public imagination, is accurately ridiculed by modern Indian artists like jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Jesse Cooday. Whatever humanitarian feelings toward the Indian some commissioners might have held (and, to be fair, some did harbor and express genuine custodial instincts and compassion), the cumulative effect of 170 years of BIA policy-making has been to amplify popular stereotypes of Indians in order to wrest from them their Indianness, whether that be exemplified by their religion, land, livelihood, culture, or ultimately their lives. Meet Your Maker: A Semiological View That the mythos of Christianity has played such an important role in the process of deracinating and marginalizing Indians should not go unnoticed, and is indeed part and parcel of the "whiteness" that Indians have been forced to emulate upon threat of their extermination. Certainly it can be said, after examining the "national language" of the federal bureaucracy, that the conceptualization of the Indian as an alien and hostile Other, even as the devil incarnate, is largely derived from the sacrosanct, mythological language of Christianity. Indeed, the commissioners of the BIA depended on Christian missionary zeal and the great converting imperatives of its mythos for just that purpose: to 27


dehumanize the Indian Others in order to justify their extinction as significant or signifying human entities. This process of stereotyping the Other via a mythic imperative has been well thought out by such eminent "mythologists" as Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard, both of whom are also concerned with the phenomena of colonization and enculturation. Essential to understanding how and why stereotypes are born is an understanding of the motivation of the stereotyping agency, in this case that of the westering American Christian. "Myth has an imperative, buttonholing character," argues Barthes, "stemming from an historical concept [like Manifest Destiny], directly springing from contingency [like the removal of the Indian from the path of Christian progress]" (19 7 2, 12 4). Examining French imperialism, Barthes elaborates on a photograph in Paris-Match of a black man in a French uniform saluting the French flag, noticing that it contains within it a semiological system, or model of signification, that suggests the presence of myth. In interpreting the photograph, Barthes makes this observation: The form of the myth is not a symbol: the Negro who salutes is not the symbol of the French Empire: he has too much presence, he appears as a rich, fully experienced, spontaneous, innocent, indisputable image. But at the same time this presence is tamed, put at a distance, made almost transparent; it recedes a little, it becomes the accomplice of a concept which comes to it fully armed, French imperiality: once made use of, it becomes artificial. ( 118, emphasis added) 28


We can well imagine a similar scene in one of the BIA Indian schools, for instance, in which a young Hopi child is saluting the American flag. The Hopi child is there at that moment because he has been forcibly dragged from his family and into this missionary school because the government has deemed his spontaneity, his innocence, and his essential nature to be in need of "taming" and redefinition. He is there because of his "indisputable" yet deniable authenticity as an Indian, an authenticity that must be voided and made artificial in the name of colonial imperialism. He is to be used by the guiding mythos of the Christian missionaries as a gesture of complicity in the national myth that Indians can and should become civilized. In the process, both the Hopi boy and the French Negro "are halfamputated, they are deprived of memory [and history], not of existence: they are at once stubborn, silently rooted there, and garrulous, a speech wholly at the service of the concept. The concept, literally, deforms, but does not abolish the meaning; a word can perfectly render this contradiction: it alienates it" (Barthes 1972, 123). Both are there, as well, because they have been previously stereotyped as "uncivilized heathen" in need of an inoculation of "whiteness." The BIA policy of "whitening the red man" can thus be seen as a universal policy employed by the mythos of Christianity in all colonial episodes involving racially or religiously antithetical parties. 29


Barthes also speaks of the oppressed as the makers of the world, having "only an active, transitive (political) language," who are continually at odds with their oppressors, whose language "is plenary [like government policy], intransitive, gestural, theatrical: it is Myth" (149). More needs to be said about the process of inoculation as it affects the "red Illall"Bourgeois ideology continuously transforms the products of history into essential [stereo-] types ... .it cannot rest until it has obscured the ceaseless making of the world, fixated this world into an object which can be forever possessed, catalogued its riches, embalmed it, and injected into reality some purifying essence which will stop its transformation, its flight towards other forms of existence. ( 155, emphasis added) Indians, given the BIA options of extermination or civilization, have of course generally resisted both with all of their "transitive" will because, as Barthes makes clear, they have perceived that there really is no option at all. Indeed, they tried to "flee," to preserve their forms of existence, but were encapsulated on reservations and forced into compliant encul turation. Indians today, more articulate than ever in realizing the precariousness of their situation, understand the necessity of finding an antidote to inoculation. Echoing Barthes, who surmises that "the best weapon against myth is perhaps to mythify it in its tum" ( 135), Salt River Pima Earl Ray says: "Our Indian kids today are going to find life twice as challenging as the non-Indian. They have to learn to take both ways and interweave them-taking things where they apply-take mythology and use 30


it as a political tool" (Trimble 1993, 450, emphasis added). We will see how this same strategy applies in the literary works of Oliver La Farge, Frank Waters, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Diego Romero, all of whom effectively "appropriate" or incorporate Indian mythology and iconography as a countermyth to the racist ideologies of Euramerica. It seems apparent from the BIA files that some of the most effective and powerful among its commissioners were precisely those who had little or no knowledge of Indians or Indian culture. Those who spoke most convincingly about the "degrading" nature of Indian religion had never witnessed a ceremonial; those who were most enthusiastic about reeducation and assimilation had never visited a pueblo or heard an Abenaki creation myth; those who were most involved with relocation and the reservation system, and the presumptuous notion that agriculture or cattle raising was the best life for Indians, had no knowledge of their traditionallifeways as nomadic peoples; and those most revolted by their supposed savagery and barbarity had never met a real Indian. All of these instances, at first, seem ironic, or at least to reflect a dismal incompetence among the majority of the commissioners. But, in practice, their very distance from their work facilitated the purpose of their office; i.e., to perpetuate extant stereotypes of the Indian and to create new ones when the need arose. To know Indians too well, or even at all, would have been a hindrance in their conceptualization and "simulation" of the Indian in the cause of colonial expansion. This separation-this intentional and blissful 31


ignorance-brings us to another aspect of the birth and propagation of stereotypes: the process of "simulation" as expressed by Jean Baudrillard. Both stereotypes and archetypes are concerned with images, as is the "precession of simulacra" that engages Baudrillard. The further from a "basic reality" an image is, the more it tends to be a total abstraction, or "simulation." Baudrillard outlines this precession as follows: This would be the successive phases of the image: -it is the reflection of a basic reality -it masks and perverts a basic reality -it masks the absence of a basic reality -it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own simulacrum. (1983, 11) We can safely assert here that the first phase of the image comprises, for our purposes, completely "real" and fully human Indians, existing as a physical and psychological reality in a particularized extant culture. They are the Indians as they know themselves to be, situated in history and in place, living day-to-day lives pertaining to their own needs-creating, destroying, eating, thinking, copulating, etc. Baudrillard hypothesizes that this first order is "of the order of sacrament"-that it is "good" in that it is so essential as to be pure existence (12). Now, for BIA bureaucrats to acknowledge that such "real" Indians exist would indeed have defeated their whole purpose, and cause them no end of self-scrutiny and selfconsciousness. It would certainly have aborted their mission by rendering the "heathen" as autonomous human entities sacrosanct in their own reality. It would, in Baudrillard's words, have dissuaded them from their 32


Christian mandate, from their "delirious illusion of uniting the world under the aegis of a single principle" ( 1983, 109). Instead, as we have noted, the BIA and other image-makers of the 19th and early 20th centuries have successfully opted for and in large part created the second stage of the image, "an evil appearance-of the order of malefice" (12): stereotyped Indians as we have seen them portrayed above. "Thus, at the beginning of colonization," continues Baudrillard, there was a moment of stupor and amazement before the very possibility of escaping the universal law of the Gospel. There were two possible responses: either to admit that this law was not universal, or to exterminate the Indians so as to remove the evidence. (20) Luckily for the BIA, Christian missionaries had evolved a third possibility, that of "mental colonization," as Frantz Fanon has called it, or of conversion and civilization, an aesthetic compromise that would not make the bureau appear as barbaric as the Indians were alleged to be, and would not, in effect, be any less deadly to real Indians. The simulated Indian, "an evil appearance," would naturally lead to his own demise in the face of white goodness and righteousness. The construction of the Other involves psychological and semiological processes driven by "the grey eminence of politics" ( 10) and the inability of the "master race" to admit that any race other than its own can possibly be essentially viable or real. As Barthes observes, "the petitbourgeois is a man unable to imagine the Other. If he comes face to face with him, he blinds himself, ignores and denies him, or else transforms 33


him into himself .... any otherness is reduced to sameness" (1972, 151). Herein we can understand why the American media have long insisted on portraying all Indians as being alike. Raymond William Stedman, writing about the persistence of cliches and stereotypes of the Indian in modem film, literature, television, and advertising, notes that "all Indians have one national, ethnic, and linguistic identity ... all Indians look, think, and talk alike" (1982, 243). Similarly, Churchill argues, "The essential idea of Native America instilled cinematically is that of a quite uniform aggregation of peoples (in dress, custom, and actions) .... all the geographical/cultural groups presented are portrayed in exactly the same manner" (1992, 232-33). The simulated Indian of Hollywood thus achieves a homogeneity that belies the immense diversity and heterogeneity of actual Indian nations, tribes, clans, and individuals in order that myth might prevail. Commissioner William A. Jones ( 18 9 7-1904) unconscious! y uttered the utility of such a sameness in prodding the Other to become assimilated into the larger homogeneity of white culture, to disappear as a vanishing breed: "As a self-supporting, useful member of society," Jones prophesied, "the Indian will pass out of our national life as a painted, feather-crowned hero ... to add the current of his free, original American blood to the heart of this great nation" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 213). Or again, "When fact and fiction fuse into an intentionally homogeneous whole, mythology becomes the norm" (Churchill 1992, 19). When Indians, as a homogeneous fictional entity, can then be consigned to the larger fiction of a mythology 34


of the Other, they are voided of historical truth, cultural diversity, and any archetypal relationship with the "real world," and become stereotypes to be manipulated by their oppressors into a nonexistence preliminary to their ultimate extirpation. Puritan Projection: A Psychological View As we know from history, many Others besides the Indian have suffered the consequences of American colonial thinking. In fact, the only racial/ethnic group not to have been consigned to Otherness in America is that of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) of either English or Dutch/German descent. Irishmen, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Polish, Italian, Arab, jew, Hispanic, Russian, and various other racial/ ethnic groups, as well as women and homosexuals, have all endured the marginalizing prejudices of the WASP mentality throughout the course of American history. The particular psychological and semiological dynamics involved in formulating Otherness in America seem curiously attached to the psychology of Protestant Christendom, especially in the forms of Calvinist Puritanism and Lutheran Protestantism. These, of course, are the religious founders of the United States, the "master race" in America. Catholidsm served the same purpose in Europe, Asia, South America, Mexico, and Canada: they were there first. As Frantz Fanon argues, "All forms of exploitation resemble one another. They all seek the source of their necessity in some edict of a Biblical nature" (1967, 88). 35


Fanon represents the Others of the black races of Africa and the West Indies and, as a psychologist and intellectual also schooled in French imperialism (like Baudrillard and Barthes), helps articulate the psychological aspects of colonial myth-making, as Baudrillard and Banhes do the semiological. Fanon, relying heavily on the Jungian concepts of "projection" and "the shadow," offers up a cohesive paradigm for the mental formulation of the Other that may in fact precede the linguistic. "The scapegoat for white society, which is based on myths of progress, civilization, liberalism, education, enlightenment, refinement," he postulates, "will be precisely the force that opposes the expansion and triumph of these myths," which, in the case at hand, are Native Americans defending their country and culture. The Jungian concept of projection involves those psychological mechanisms by which the Indian becomes the "red devil," an antithesis of the white man's image of himself that, paradoxically, emerges from within himself via the psychic act of projection. As Fanon succinctly puts it, "Jung consistently identifies the foreign with the obscure, with the tendency to evil .... This mechanism of projection [works thusly]: In the degree to which I find in myself something reprehensible, only one solution remains for me: to get rid of it, to ascribe its origin to someone else" (190). In so doing, one "authors" that "someone else." One can see this process written into the (white) history of Indians: they are the bloodthirsty savages, not us; they are the rapacious land-hungry 36


manipulators, not us; theirs is the primitive, superstitious religion, not ours; they are the incarnation of evil, not us, and so on. For the black man, the intrinsic whiteness of Christian goodness made him a de facto symbol of all that was dark, unconscious, and uncivilized: "Those Negroes were the principle of evil" (190). This dynamic plays out the same way with Indians, the "red devils," or the Chinese/Japanese, the "yellow peril," "the thieving Jew," ad infinitum. The overwhelming incidence of Other making among the Puritan forefathers, those most repressed and repressive of all Christians, suddenly seems to make sense in light of the theory of projection; they, as Hawthorne knew only too well, were themselves possessed of a savagely "persecuting spirit," "being of the most intolerant brood that ever lived" (Baym, et al. 1989, 1211). The early Puritans conceived themselves to be intimately involved in a transhistorical drama in which the ultimate intentions and apocalyptic judgments of their Lord and Creator were to be acted out on Earth. As a result, their contacts with Indians in the New Zion they hoped to create in America were fraught with symbolic associations of a Biblical nature. Both good and bad versions of the Indian appear frequently in Puritan letters and sermons, their contrasting valuations due largely to the way Indians deported themselves on behalf of the Puritan agenda. Incidents of hostility from the Indians of Powhatan caused Puritans the utmost fear, by which they projected onto the Indian various negative images. The preacher Cotton Mather was especially virulent in his assessment of the Indians as 37


the scourge of God, as was his father Increase, both of whom enlarged on the captivity tale of Mary Rowlandson (published in 1682), who described her captors as "aetheistical, proud, wild, cruel, barbarous, brutish, (in one word) diabolical Creatures .... the worst of heathen" (Berkhofer 1978, 84). Berkhofer, citing the work of Michael Rogin and others, echoes Fanon's argument for projection in saying: "If the Puritans, for example, could project their own sins upon people they called savages, then the extermination of the Indian became a cleansing of those sins from their own midst as well as the destruction of a feared enemy" (27). If Indians brought food to their table or helped them clear land for planting, on the other hand, they were seen as good Indians acting out the providential nature of the Puritan God. The concept of projection as a form of psychological witchcraft will be taken up later regarding the work of Frank Waters. BIA policy, perceived as literature of the most banal yet representative sort, offers an introduction to the mass-produced imagistic canon of the Indian as a topic for general literary and artistic treatment. Indeed, the Indian was an almost ubiquitous character in "pioneer" literature and art, most of which made the reflective notions of the BIA and its Puritan progenitors into stock characters who have, with few exceptions, retained their stereotypical dimensionlessness unto the present day. While I will not attempt to canvass the entire catalogue of Indian images that have emerged into the popular imagination over the last five 38


centuries, as has already been done most effectively by such writers as Stedman, Berkhofer, and Churchill, I will enunciate some of the major stereotypes in order to show how the writers and artists whose work I will discuss have made significant, perhaps revolutionary, debunking alterations and expansions upon these stereotypes. They have done so largely to help save the Indian from both physical and cultural extinction, a motive as political as that which drives the BIA and as semiologically and psychologically mythic in nature as the Christian metalanguage of Otherness. 39


CHAPTER 3 WROUGHTENSCOUNDR85 The Noble Savage image is as much a stereotype as the ignoble one. -Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., The 'White Man's Indian As Baudrillard has envisioned, even from their first crucial encounters with Native Americans the white pilgrims began to manufacture the Other around them to avoid having to admit that these might be real human beings with sacramental natures of their own. They were, of course, preconditioned by the existing literature on Indians in France, Spain, and England from whence they came, as to what to expect from Native Americans. Columbus was the first commentator to attach a dualistic, good Indian/bad Indian character to the natives. While his "Caribs" were cannibals, so his Arawak. tribesmen were "timorous," generous to a fault, and religious. As noted above, the Puritans also had ambivalent notions of the Indian, and the principle enduring stereotypes of the Rousseauian Noble Savage and the colonial Ignoble Savage found new life in the Puritan literature of the 1600s. Within these two major types, various subtypes appear in various contexts. Diaries and letters of the early colonists, sermons and religious proclamations, and published literature such as travel accounts, pamphlets, and captivity tales brim with descriptions of the Indian in different lights. 40


Churchill cites four early examples from colonial writing-a letter of John Smith's, a religious pamphlet by Alexander Whitaker, the fanciful observations of Thomas Morton, and another Puritan tract by Edward Johnson-that he feels illustrate four early stereotypes, respectively: ( 1) the "subhuman, animal-like creature," (2) the "godless heathen" and devil worshipper, (3) the "noble savage," and (4) the Indian as a "criminal hindrance" to progress (1992, 22). The Whitacker pamphlet contains a cohesive example of the Indian as "red devil," and deserves repeating here: Let the miserable condition of these naked savages of the devil move you to compassion towards them. They acknowledge that there is a great God, but they know him not, wherefore they serve the devil for fear, after a most base manner .... They live naked of body, as if the shame of their sin deserved no covering .... They esteem it a virtue to lie, deceive, steal ... if this be their life, what think you shall become of them after death, but to be partakers with the devil and his angels in hell for evennore? (22) Added to this account were further descriptions of the predatory, brutish, warlike, bloodthirsty Indian who dashed children's brains out against tree trunks, raped and scalped white colonists, tortured captives (in a imaginative variety of ways), and burned and pillaged white settlements from Connecticut to Oregon. Further embellishments on this negative stereotype were the "reservation Indian," indolent, drunk and generally incompetent; the "Mission Indian," squalid, pathetic, and cowardly; the "statesman Indian," crafty, deceitful, and treacherous; and the "stupid Indian," full of gibberish, irascible, and childlike. Any or all of these attributes could be combined arbitrarily by the white writer or artist into 41


innumerable other concoctions of the bad Indian who became the stuff of fiction, poetry, political propaganda, anthropological monographs, theater, cinema, and the pictorial arts. Many such types persist even unto the present day. As Churchill observes, "It seems to matter little what American Indians are converted into, as long as it is into other than what they are, have been and might become" (38). Such late 19th-century descriptions of Indians as the following, startling one by Mark Twain in Roughing It (1872) attest to the historical persistence of negative racial stereotyping. Twain's description distills into one paragraph many of the commonly perceived stereotypes of his day. Twain is describing the Gosiute Indians of the Great Basin: Such of the Goshoots as we saw, along the road and hanging about the stations, were small, lean, scrawny creatures; in complexion a dull black like the ordinary American negro; their faces and hands bearing dirt which they had been hoarding and accumulating for months, years, and even generations, according to the age of the proprietor; a silent, sneaking, treacherous-looking race; taking note of everything, covertly, like all the other "Noble Red Men" that we (do not) read about, and betraying no sign in their countenances; indolent, everlastingly patient and tireless, like all other Indians; prideless beggars-for if the beggar instinct were left out of the Indian he would not "go," any more than a clock without pendulum; hungry, always hungry, and yet never refusing anything that a hog would decline; hunters, but having no higher ambition than to kill and eat jackass rabbits, crickets, and grasshoppers, and embezzle carrion from the buzzards and coyotes; savages who, when asked if they have the common Indian belief in a Great Spirit, show something which almost amounts to emotion, thinking whiskey is referred to; a thin scattering race of almost naked black children, these Goshoots are, who produce nothing at all, and have no villages, and no gatherings together into strictly defined tribal communities-a people whose only shelter is a rag cast on a bush to keep off a portion of the snow, and yet who inhabit one of the most rocky, wintry, repulsive wastes that our country or any other exhibit. (cited in Berkhofer 1978, 105-06) 42


The Death of Jane NcCrea by John Vanderlyn, 1804, was one of rrany irages that aroused public hostility towards Indians. 43


The DeaLh of Jane McCrea inspired these two modern illustrations, both of which appeared in children's history books. 44


1 n.t abound Il:Tages of 11bad Indian" pervaded the public rredia. 45


What Twain notices herein, of course, is but the pitiful state in which rampant white colonialism had left the once thriving Great Basin Indians who, although they practiced no agriculture because of their harsh environs, eked out a meager existence hunting and gathering. Once part of the assortment of tribes who inhabited this extreme environment-the Paiute, Ute, Shoshone, and Bannock-the Gosiutes have no progeny in the present. The Bad Indian. Hollywood Style The history of the Indian in American film provides a fairly consistent glossary of typical "bad Indian" motifs even up unto the 1990s. Perhaps no Hollywood star exemplifies the movie industry's approach to Indians as succinctly as John Wayne, whose many roles as an Indian-hater and stalwart champion of American imperialism as both cowboy and pioneer endeared him to aficionados of the Western genre movie. Before Wayne, a tradition had evolved in Hollywood of rescue films that, like the captivity tale of Mary Rowlandson, capitalized on the image of the brute, rapacious Indian who lays his devilish hands on a hapless white heroine. In his chapter entitled "And You Know What They Do to White Women," Raymond Stedman details the procession of this genre from the 1903 one reeler Rescue of Child from Indians through D. W. Griffith's The Battle at Bderbush Gulch (1913), The Last of the Mohicans (1936), and Northwest Passage ( 1940) to John Ford's highly acclaimed vehicle for Wayne, The 46


Searchers, produced in 1956 (Stedman 1982, 108-11). Ironically, this last film was originally acclaimed not only for its complex screenplay (by Frank Nugent, derived from an Alan LeMay novel) but for its "anti-racist" sentiment regarding Indians. I say ironically because the film itself is hardly anti-racist as we would interpret that criticism today. In The Searchers, Wayne is cast as Ethan Edwards, a returning Confederate soldier who comes home to his brother's family in what is ostensibly Texas (though the film was shot in the Technicolor country of Monument Valley). The Indians portrayed herein are Comanches (or "Comanch," as Wayne pronounces it), and are depicted as a roving band of murdering, pillaging, and raping savages. Moments into the story, these Indians raid the pioneer homestead while Wayne, Martin (the half-breed adopted son of Wayne's brother, played by Jeffrey Hunter), and Ward Bond, as a clergyman and Texas Ranger, are lured away by the Comanches. Wayne's brother and his wife are killed (and she presumably raped), while his two nieces, Lucy and Debby, are abducted by the Indians. Wayne and Martin, whom Wayne barely tolerates because of his mixed blood, proceed on a prolonged five-year search for the missing girls, during which we witness Wayne the Indian-hater at his virulent best. Several events, both linguistic and physical, accentuate the racism evoked in the film. First, Wayne's general attitude towards Indians shows a generalized racism that is projected through his dialogue. There is perpetual usage of the terms "buck," "'Injun," and "squaw" (artist Jaune 47


Quick-to-See Smith has remarked, half-jokingly, that the word "squaw" refers to the fact that Indian women "squawked when we were raped" [llppard 1990, 250]). After the search party finds niece Lucy dead (raped and presumably mutilated, since they don't recover her body), Wayne remarks: "They'll keep her [Debby] until she comes of age to ... well, you know ... Coming upon some other captured white women in the custody of the U. S. Cavalry, all of whom are crazed beyond reason by their experiences among the Indians, an officer remarks, "It's hard to believe they're white," to which Wayne replies, "They ain't white no more. They're Comanch." When they finally find an older Debby (played by Natalie Wood), Wayne comments to Chief Scar, her captor, that "you speak pretty good English for a Comanch." Debby, since her capture, has evidently become a wife of Chief Scar and doesn't wish to return to the white world, saying that "these are my people now." This revelation, combined with the nuance that Debby has had carnal knowledge with an Indian, enrages Wayne so much that he wishes to kill her. After he is wounded in a skirmish with Chief Scar's tribe, and presumably near death, Wayne acknowledges that Scar's Indianness has contaminated even Debby's blood. Bequeathing his earthly belongings to Martin, who protests saying "Debby's your blood kin," Wayne pronounces, "Not anymore ... She's been living with a buck." Though Wayne has a change of heart at the end, all this pernicious dialogue has served to illustrate the unreasonable hatred Wayne's character has for Indians simply because 48


they are of another, alien race. And, though he forgives Debby, he murders and scalps Chief Scar. The issue of Debby's blood being tainted by her sexual encounter with an Indian is the main theme of the film, and emphasizes the sexualization of racism and the lingering insinuations of eugenics that I will cover more fully in Chapter Four. Other, physical events in the movie further denigrate the image of the Indian characters. Upon finding a dead Indian buried beneath some rocks, Wayne shoots out the dead man's eyes to deny him an afterlife. Later, another scene involves Martin unwittingly trading cheap hats for an Indian wife, who, despite Martin's protestations, slavishly follows him on foot to his campsite. When she tries to lie down at his side at bedtime, Martin cruelly kicks her down a hill to the approving laughter of Wayne. The issue of the Indian as chattel, as a slavish and pariah creature, is embarrassingly plain here. "Regrettably," notes Stedman, "because he is John Wayne, because he is so untiringly skillful in the pursuit, his motivation dominates in building audience attitude" (1982, 112). "Uvin' among the Comanches ain't livin'" is the final verdict that falls on Indian life in this sorry film, whose creation in 1956 projects Puritan stereotypes well into the modem age (Ford 1956). Also regrettably, Wayne's character off-screen was not much more enlightened towards Indians. Jesse Cooday, a Tlingit artist, has created a telling image entitled Wayne's World 1992 that consists of a simple line drawing of Wayne in cowboy regalia that is overprinted in orange and blue 49


with the image of a Tlingit ceremonial mask, as if to "deface" Wayne's image. Beneath the image is printed graphic text uttered at some point by Wayne in real life: I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it all for themselves. ("Artists Who Are Indian" 1994) The cinematic and off-screen influence that such great American idols as Wayne could wield against the Indian character was of course abetted by the monied interests behind them. Since no Indians have had the fmancial wherewithal to produce a major motion picture, the genre has naturally been controlled by wealthy whites who have had little interest in real Indians beyond their potential for self-subverting roles in hackneyed plots where they "bite the dust" of their white leads. For an exhaustive accounting of negative Indian stereotypes in film, see Stedman's work Shadows of the Indian (University of Oklahoma Press, 1982). Wayne's World 1992 by Jesse Cooday 50


Good Indians Can Be Bought Here While one is sometimes tempted to consider that good images of the Indian as Noble Savage, "nobleman of the forest," or "Roman of the plains," are acceptable even as stereotypes because they offset their negative counterparts and promote a white tolerance of Indianness, this position is not wisely taken, for it too deprives Indians of an historical reality apart from white projections. The development of the Noble Savage ideal is well-known to be principally the work of French intellectuals of the Enlightenment and Romantic periods (Rousseau, Voltaire, Chateaubriand, and Diderot especially) who embellished earlier colonial accounts of the Indian to their own philosophical ends. Perhaps the principal works influencing these Frenchmen were those of the French expatriate Baron de Lahontan, who published his Dialogues avec un Sauvage in 1703, and the writings called Relations, published yearly by Quebecan jesuits from 1632 to 1674. Both put forth a comprehensive and enticing image of the American native as a Greek-like embodiment of nobility, bodily perfection, keen intelligence, subtle feeling, valor, prudence, and high moral character, all derived from an instinctual and innocent relationship with nature and the Great Spirit. "It is important to know," reminds Georges Sioui of Dialogues avec un Sauvage, "that Lahontan's observations date from the most troubled period in the development of New France, a time when other observers 51


created the negative image of the Amerindian that still does so much harm" ( 1992, 64). While Sioui is defensive of Lahontan's "dialogues" with his adopted Huron brother Adario, who enunciates the "real" qualities of Indian religion, laws, medicine and health, and social customs, and while the authenticity of Lahontan's and Adario's description of Huron life has not been disputed successfully, in the context of myth-making such descriptions have become universalized and hackneyed into a white-constructed image of little but romantic substance. Berkhofer adroitly observes that ... in this way the American Indian became part of the bon sauvage or Noble Savage tradition so long an accompaniment of the Golden Age or paradisical mythology of Western civilization. First the natives discovered and conquered by the Spanish and then those invaded by the French and English joined the bon ethiopien, bon oriental, and bon negre as a convention for enunciating the hopes and desires of European authors. (73) Furthermore, the image of the Noble Savage is, like that of the Ignoble Savage, based purely on the moral and ethical foundations of Anglo, European, and Euramerican cultures and, as a romantic construct, portrays the Indian as outside of history and in the realm of mythology, making it easy for whites to project this image, along with that of Christian goodness, onto the Indian as a sign of complicity in the saga of colonization. One way to imagine the danger of images like the Noble Savage is to notice their purposeful exoticism. The Noble Savage is often pictured as a stoic red man replete with ceremonial (usually Plains Indian) headdress, breechcloth or buckskin leggings, certainly a breastplate of bone or a 52


Crow Indian with Peace Pipe by James Barna, 1984, illustrates the pro pensity of modern artists to freeze Indians in pre-1900 images. 53


jacket with delicate headwork, moccasins (again adorned in delicate bead or quill work), and carrying a sacred pipe, tomahawk, bow and arrows, or spear, parfleche or other conventional regalia. Just to make sure that the Indians he photographed would fit the Noble Savage image, photographer Edward Curtis carried with him a full set of such standard Indian regalia to dress his subjects of whatever tribe or custom, regardless of what their traditional clothing might have been. The Noble Savage usually looks askance to the heavens, or across a landscape bathed in sunset: he is a departing visionary, a wise and retiring nobleman of the plains or forest, "disembodied through the very glamour of images" (Barthes 1972, 94). Exoticism, as it is infused into the image of the Noble Savage, tends to mythologize the topical, to essentialize diversity, and to hold its images outside of history as icons of an essential romantic type. In portraying Indians thusly, exoticism transforms them into a moment of nostalgia always receding into the past, which seems in fact the basis for most primitivism and millenarianism whose impossible fantasies lie either in an idealized past or a paradisical future (Berkhofer 1978, 72). Utopia, it should be remembered, is Latin for "nowhere." As Barthes has further queried, "How does one assimilate the Negro, the Russian? There is here a figure for emergencies: exoticism. The Other becomes a pure object, a spectacle, a clown" ( 152). The wide use of the Koshare or clown kachina, one of many available Puebloan Indian images, in art produced by the Taos Society artists and others in the 1920s attests to this tendency. 54


The Noble Savage type lends itself to other undesirable uses and inflections. Its embodiment as an eternal type, for instance, reinforces the notion that the Indian is a relic of the past. This provides further insinuations that Indians exist(ed) only in the past, as a vanishing or vanished race, or that their collective imago, as fixed in the public imagination, should exist only in the nostalgic past, frozen forever in what Berkhofer refers to as the "ethnological present," or as what Baudrillard describes as being "frozen, cryogenized, sterilized, protected to death, they have become referential simulacra" (29; Baudrillard 1983, 15). "The media," asserts Stephen Trimble, "continues to do its best to make all Indians the same and then to freeze them in the 'traditional times' of 1880" (1993, 457). The Noble Savage as a nostalgic ideal serves only to facilitate such regressive attitudes toward Indians. In addition, as Churchill observes, the "mystic warrior" and other component types of the Noble Savage make the appropriation of lndianness easier for those who wish to capitalize on this conception. Churchill cites a resurgence of "plastic medicine men" who reinforce the "mystic warrior" image for their own capital use, selling Indian religious experiences (such as "vision quest" and "sweat lodge" ceremonies) on the open, often New Age, market, mostly to whites, with little regard for either the sanctity of traditional shamanism or its ceremonial purposes (1992,172). The American Indian Movement (AIM) has issued a powerful warning against such impostors, whose appropriation of Indian spirituality relies heavily 55


on the public conception of the Noble Savage. The recurrent iconography of both non-Indian and Indian pictorial artists also draws substantially from this stereotype, as ubiquitous today as it was in the 1930s. One need only attend such events as the Denver Indian Market to witness the proliferation of Noble Savage and mystic warrior-type images for sale. "I shall flee the next Indian art show where the grand prize goes to an Indian painter whose only idea of Indian art is a picture of someone transformed into an eagle," protests an imaginary participant in Rennard Strickland's essay "Tall Visitor at the Indian Gallery." "To whites, that is Indian art!" ( 1986, 294) The net effect of this appropriation and stagnation is that "the present for the native could be perpetually precluded through the maintenance of a seamlessly constituted surrogate reality as myth" (Churchill 1992, 33). Crow-Blackfeet artist Susan Steward agrees, saying, "We are often thought of as not contributing much to the mainstream [of art], and the few contributions that are recognized are thought of as quaint or [as supporting] the 'mystic warrior syndrome'" ("Artists Who Are Indian" 1994). Whether clothed (or unclothed) in the ignoble rags of depravity and stupidity or the grand costumes of sanguine nobility, Indians as they have existed in both the fictive and official imagination of the United States have been prisoners of linguistic and psychological projection, just as they have been literal prisoners of the dominant culture. As a result, the identity of the individual and collective Indian throughout post-contact history has 56


been largely one of manipulation and schematic Other-destruction. That the design of the white hegemony against Indians has had at its heart the ultimate intention of genocide can hardly be denied. That the Indian has bitterly resisted such intentions, through the various strategies of warfare, the signing of (broken) treaties, resigned dislocation to reservations, religious conversion, legal recourse, economic savvy, retribalization, political activism, and demythologization, is nothing short of heroic. Central to their fight for cultural autonomy is the realization that Indian stereotypes, whether noble or ignoble, must be defused, both internally within Indian communities and individual psyches, and externally through critical theory, vigilant demythologization, and a resurgence of Indian "autohistories" and individuated Indian voices in the arts and literature as well as in politics. As we have seen, both literature and art have surreptitiously abetted the saga of colonialism by the perpetuation of stereotypes. Beginning in the 1880s, some literature and art became part of the revolution/revulsion against stereotypes, a reversal whose practitioners are the subjects of the following chapters. 57


CHAPTER4 PORTRAITS OF DISHONOR: The Legacy of Helen Hunt jackson The only good Indian is a Christian Indian. While the identity of the American Indian was being shaped and constructed by other forces emanating from the American government in Washington and its religious allies, the literary world responded with a somewhat more sympathetic voice that reinforced the ideas of paternalism and Christian missionary morality. Euramerican writers not exalting the expansionist view of Manifest Destiny concerning the Indian were few among journalists, illustrators, and fiction writers. Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha (1855) and James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans and The Leatherstocking Tales (1826-41) remain notable exceptions that tried to assume an empathy with Indian subjects facing the encroachment of the white man, albeit with distinct failings of their own. In the American West, the publications of Helen Hunt jackson's A Centwy of Dishonor in 1880andRamona in 1884 mark a daring departure from the usual depictions of Indians as the accursed Other in American politics and fiction. These works, however, do promote other stereotypes that, while certainly painting Indians in a more compassionate light, still tend to deprive them of any realistic cultural autonomy. 58


Jackson, a lifelong friend and protege of Emily Dickinson, was born Helen Fiske Hunt in Dickinson's Amherst, Massachusetts, where she and Dickinson were childhood playmates. She left Amherst in 1844 for the West, marrying William S. Jackson, a founder and leading member of The Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Jackson and Dickinson maintained their relationship over the years, both by mail and through the mediation of mutual friends, and jackson was possibly the only person who ever told Dickinson that she was a "a great poet," while Dickinson "read Jackson's work with a reverence she reserved for Shakespeare" (Gordon 1990, foreword). It seems evident in Ramona that the two women shared a common sensitivity toward their fellow human beings, though it must be said that Jackson's sentimentality in religious matters was not shared by Dickinson, while both exhibited a buffering of sentimentality in their perceptions of social injustice. Father Salvierderra's Dream Ramona is in many ways a morality tale that can be favorably compared to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) both in intent and effect. While Stowe was responding to the imprecation made to her by her sister-in-law Mrs. Edward Beecher that "if I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is" (Douglas 1981, 8), Jackson was acting in 59


the same spirit concerning the fate of the "Mission Indians" of southern California. The historical facts behind Jackson's canonization of the Spanish missionaries' treatment of the California Indians, however, leave Jackson's sentimental portrayal of these Indians in the realm of romantic fantasy, however much her sentiments do humanize her Indian characters and her observations of their mistreatment resound as viable social commentary. The Spanish Mission period in California is treated nostalgically by Jackson as an era in which Indians were mercifully converted to Christianity and given happy and meaningful work on mission properties, rather like a pre-abolitionist Southern plantation is romanticized in Stowe's work. Jackson evokes a similar scenario in which "thousands and thousands of Indians [were] all working so happy and peaceful at the Mission" in an aura of idealized paternalism (Jackson 1884, 268). I will not go further into the similarities between these two works except to say that they both project upon their respective nonwhite subjects an inflexion of martyrdom largely derived from their Christian perspectives on the ostensible moral "value" of suffering at the hands of the white hegemony. The historical background of the Mission Indians of California begins with the founding of San Diego in 1769 by Gaspar de Portola and the Franciscan Father Junipero Serra. As Carl Waldman notes in his Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, "A military man and a priest often traveled together so that both state and church were represented," and


such was the case throughout the Spanish conquest of the Southwest. To quote further from Waldman, junipero Serra stayed on in California and founded many more missions along with other Franciscans-21 in the coastal region between San Diego and San Francisco. The Indians they missionized had been peaceful hunter-gatherers, living in tune with their plentiful environment. But soldiers at the missions' neighboring presidios (forts) rounded them up and forced them to live at the missions. The friars taught them to speak Spanish and to practice the Catholic religion. They also taught them to tend fields, vineyards, and livestock, as well as how to make adobe and soap. Then they were forced to work-to build churches and to produce food. If the Indians refused or ran away and were caught, they received whippings as punishment .... Before long, the Indians had lost their own language and religion as well as their tribal identity. (1988, 135-36) In contrast, Jackson characterizes Fr. Serra as an heroic man destined "to reclaim the wilderness and its people to his country and church" (217). Following the closure of the missions in 1834 by the Mexican government came the Mexican Cession of 1848 and the California Gold Rush of the next year, all of which further disempowered and dislocated Indians and brought on a tidal wave of white settlers and gold seekers who eventually got title to much of what was traditionally Indian land. One of these tribes, now only named by what the Spanish called them because their native name has been forever forgotten, were the Luiseiio, who are the Indian subjects of Jackson's novel. As we have noticed hitherto, negative and positive stereotypes often confront and play off of each other in the portrayal of the Indian, and such is the case in Ramona as well. The story centers on a faltering 61


Mexican rancheria whose misguided matron, the Seiiora Moreno, has taken in her older sister's adopted child, a "half-breed" named Ramona Ortegna. Ramona is not privy to her mixed heritage, though Sra. Moreno and others of the older guard are, so she lives the first part of her life in naive bliss as a senorita of the household. Jackson uses Ramona's ignorance of her Indian nature as a ploy to show how racial prejudices and ideologies involve the still prevalent, pseudo-scientific notions of genetic inferiority based on bloodlines, which in tum produced a racial ideology that tyrannized all peoples who did not have the "pure" bloodlines of the dominant race. This Social Darwinism eventually led to the concept of eugenics and promoted the concept that racial purity was the sine qua non of social evolution, and that a mixing of the bloodlines would result in devolution and the appearance of the atavistic, if not bestial, characteristics commonly attributed to Indians. If one does not know one's bloodline is "tainted," however, as is the case with Ramona, then racism cannot exist. That most "Mexicans" like Sra. Moreno were historically of mixed race, part Spanish and part Indian (mestizos), is not alluded to here. Like the "mulatto" of African-American literature, the half-breed Ramona serves to signify a true Other who is neither white (as was her father, a Scot) nor Indian like her mother. She is thus a true vessel, or alembic, in and through whom Jackson can demonstrate her own liberal feelings about the "blood" or authentic substance of Indianness versus that of whiteness. In so doing, she illuminates both the stereotype of the 62


romanticized Indian princess (the result of her sympathy with her characters) and that of the brute Indian (the result of her observations concerning prevailing social views). The central tension of the work is between Ramona's Indianness and her whiteness, a battle for identity fought thematically between the Sra. Moreno, for the latter, and the full blooded Indian Alessandro Assis, for the former, but ultimately within the heart of Ramona herself. The romanticized Ramona is evident from the beginning of the novel. She seems indeed the epitome of la belle sauvage. Upon her meeting with the old Franciscan monk who has known her since childhood, the monk's impression of this now adolescent Ramona is tellingly sublime and reverential: "She had looked to the devout old monk, as she sprang through the cloud of golden flowers, the sun falling on her bared head, her cheeks flushed, her eyes shining, more like an apparition of an angel or saint, than like the flesh and blood maiden he had carried in his arms when she was a babe" (45-46). The heavily romanticized illustration accompanying this text, by N. C. Wyeth (see following page), further promotes the ambiance of blithe spirituality and sensuality. Father Salvierderra further notes the exotic beauty of her mixed racial heritage, thinking to himself that "she had just enough of olive tint in her complexion to underlie and enrich her skin without making it swarthy" (45), in which characterization one senses a subtle paean to the prospect of appropriating from Indians just enough of their identity so as to enliven 63


Ramona ru,d Father Salvierderra as interpreted by N.C. Wyeth in the 1939 edition of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona.


and enrich the paternal race aesthetically, as some Romantic French painters often did on canvas (see Delacroix, Ingres, and the British painter Benjamin West). Such depictions of the ethereal Indian princess hark back to the 18th century, as does this one by explorer William Bird in Histories of the Dividing Line ( 17 28): "Her complexion was a deep Copper so that her fine Shape & regular Features made her appear like a statue in Bronze done by a masterly Hand." They also carry over into the 1900's, as in Carl Sandburg's poem "Cool Tombs" (1918), wherein we find "Pocahontas' body, lovely as a poplar, Sweet as a red/haw in November, or a paw paw in May" (Stedman 1982,17). According to Stedman, Pocahontas-type figures waltzed across the American stage in several incarnations, from]. N. Barker's lavishly romanticized The Indian Princess; or La. Belle Sauvage in 1808 to John Brougham's "popular burlesque" Po-Ca-Han-Tas (1918). jackson, of course, takes her stereotype seriously as a martyr to the Indian cause. While Jackson idealizes her Ramona, she also portrays the meanness and hypocrisy of the paternalistic attitude that pervaded the Mission paradigm. When the charismatic Alessandro, a full-blooded Luiseiio sheep shearer, appears on the rancheria, the Sra. Moreno, thinking to hire him full time, refuses to consider "the possibility of an Indian's being so born and placed that he would hesitate about becoming permanently a servant" (Jackson 1884,102). Sra. Moreno, casting herself as a representative of the cult of Mary, the Franciscan clergy, and the Mexican 65


aristocracy, embodies the several views of the Indian that facilitated and justified their "destiny" as a slavish and inferior race. "Naked savages they themselves too, to-day [sic), if we had not come here to teach and civilize them," she snorts. "The race was never meant for anything but servants" (104). Perhaps most telling about the Other-creating dynamics of Sra. Moreno's mind is the following passage: "[Ramona] may be ill: but people do not die of love like hers for Alessandro." "Of what kind do they die, mother?" asked Felipe, impatiently. The Senora looked reproachfully at him. "Not often of any," she said; "but certainly not of a sudden passion for a person in every way beneath them, in position, in education, in all points which are essential to congeniality of tastes or association of life." The Senora spoke calmly, with no excitement, as if she were discussing an abstract case ( 197-98, emphasis added) The Senora's evocation of a "congeniality of tastes" brings to mind the homogeneity from which stereotypes are made, and the narrator's feeling that she is "discussing an abstract case" emphasizes the distance between Alessandro as he might actually be and the "simulation" that she has made of him. Jackson as narrator tries to be more magnanimous, but we can still hear couched in her more "liberal" authorial voice a condescension that bespeaks the times. "But he was not a civilized man," she writes of Alessandro; "he had to bring to bear on his present situation only simple, primitive, uneducated instincts and impulses" (63). These are traits that Jackson admires, nonetheless, though hardly stated ironically enough to soften the sting of Christian prejudice. The notion that all Indians were 66


heathen ripe for conversion to a more civil and proper Christian life carries with it the darker impulses to enslave and subsume an alien culture. No matter how well-meaning the Spanish and Anglo missionaries and patr6nes might have been, and that is certainly open to argument, the Christianizing mechanisms for conversion still required that the alien race or culture be dehumanized. Another of the Senora's ranch hands, Juan Canito, speaks of "those beasts of Indians" (82); "it is a good thing for those poor Indian devils to get a bit of religion now and then," he says on another occasion. As the story unfolds, Ramona falls in love with Alessandro, a situation that the embittered Seftora cannot abide. She tells her son Felipe, who has grown to love Ramona both as an adopted sister and as a potential wife, "If you had a sister, you would rather see her dead than married to any one of these Indians," and torments him with the probability that should Ramona go against her and marry Alessandro, they would both be driven from the ranch. Indeed they do marry, and in their exile become akin to Christian martyrs in the romanticization of their plight. Since Ramona is forced to choose for her identity "an alien's position," as the Seiiora puts it, she must now live the marginalized life of the Other, ostracized against all reason beyond the help of the paternal church or the maternal ranch. She is now fully an Indian, and as such Ramona and Alessandro are hunted for horse-stealing; Alessandro's village is forfeit to forged Anglo land claims; their child dies, ostensibly because 67


Ramona "had offended the Virgin and ... in one short hour the Virgin had punished her" (354); and, after further travail, Alessandro is gunned down in front of his own house. Jackson parlays the tragedy into an epiphany of Christian morality, for as Alessandro dies, Ramona rose, went into the house, brought out the white altar-cloth, and laid it over the mutilated face. As she did this, she recalled words she had heard Father Salvierderra quote as having been said by Father junipero, when one of the Franciscan Fathers had been massacred by the Indians, at San Diego. "Thank God!" he said, "the ground is now watered by the blood of a martyr!" (371) The local sheriff would do nothing, for "to betray sympathy for Indians was more than any man's political head was worth" (376). In previous passages, as well, the spiritual superiority of Alessandro is alluded to by jackson, wherein he becomes aligned with the mystical warrior stereotype. Early on, he magically cures Felipe of a long illness by building him a special bed and playing the violin for him. Juan Canito notes his "native amiability and sweetness," and the narrator concludes that "when it came to the things of the soul, and of honor, Alessandro's plane was the higher" (87). Indeed, both Alessandro and Ramona are well thought of by the narrator, the priests, and most other parties in the novel. Jackson humanizes both of them through the manipulation of her stereotypes to serve the cause of the Indian, but principally that of the converted Indian. Significantly, the only mention of drunkenness occurs among white traders, never in regard to the Indian characters. Jackson also offers 68


several lucid instances that portray the real plight of Indians. As Alessandro complains to the good Father, "They say the Americans, when they buy the Mexicans' lands, drive the Indians away as if they were dogs; they say we have no right to our lands" (77). The historical issue of the theft of Indian land resounds throughout the book, as do those of the mistreatment and murder of Indian peasants and the issue of assimilation. At one point, Ramona suggests to Alessandro that they go to Los Angeles and live among the white culture-"What does Majella [Alessandro's pet name for her] think would become of one Indian, or two, alone among the whites? If they will come to our villages and drive us out a hundred at a time, what would they do to one man alone?" No man will pay an Indian but half wages .... And now they pay the Indians in money sometimes, half wages; sometimes in bad flour, or things he does not want; sometimes in whiskey .... One man in San Bernadino last year, when an Indian would not take a bottle of sour wine for pay for a day's work, shot him in the cheek with his pistol, and told him to mind how he was insolent any more. (327) The stereotype of the Mission Indian is illuminated herein as slavish, pathetic, and as a pariah race unworthy of human consideration. Ramona remains, despite its effulgent romanticism, nostalgia, and paucity of social realism, the first fictive account by a white author to take the Indian side of the racial question. By constructing stereotypes on both sides, Jackson provides us with a morality play that both patronizes and honors Indian characters. Her awareness of the social and economic plight of Indians-as exemplified by her attentiveness to the problems of 69


assimilation, land grabbing, miscegenation, reservation politics, and racial prejudice-make her work exceptional for its time. Jackson also emphasizes the growing confusion about "authentic" Indian identities, and questions about authenticity that arises solely from racial blood-typing are dealt with in a serious way. The book's greatest failing is that it does little to help us understand Indians as they lived within their own culture, and even less to accentuate the historical tragedy that lay, in the Missions, at the feet of Christian capitalism and expansionism. The converted Indian, such as these envisioned by Father Salvierderra, is the nostalgic icon herein, and Ramona finally holds out hope only for a "new dispensation, in which the Mission establishments should be reinstated in all their old splendor and prosperity, and their Indian converts again numbered by tens of thousands" ( 42). 70


CHAPTERS A RECAPITULATION OF INDIANNESS "I forgot the gods then. I followed the jesus trail." -"Carne With War" If Christian sentimentality formulated the stereotyped Indians in Ramona, and made them martyrs to a more or less Christian moral about prejudice and racial purity, we find quite the opposite in Laughing Boy, a romantic portrayal of Indian mythology and religion that pits itself against Christian influences. Oliver La Farge, like other great dramatists, saw the literary and political value of posing a countennyth against the master myth of the ruling culture. By personifying his Indian Others and grounding them in a cosmology separate from that of Christian culture, La Farge creates a powerful antidote to the "alien" nature of the Other-he makes him a deeply human hero, adored by gods and men alike. If Christianity views the Indians principally as heathens, besotted by false gods and primitive notions, and thus seeks to void them of their Indianness on these grounds through conversion or extirpation, then what better means to combat that process than by filling lndianness with its own substantial mythos, enforced by "real," active gods who, in this novel, have the ostensible power of the "Slayer of Enemy Gods" (La Farge 1929, 60)? With a charismatic Indian protagonist, Laughing Boy, and his Christian-71


tainted wife, Slim Girl, caught up in a Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of cultural warfare, La Farge has written a landmark work that ennobles and humanizes Indians and begins the literary turn from stereotypical to archetypal characterization. However, as Win Blevins has noted, "In Laughing Boy ... Navajo life still seems a kind of pastoral idyll, a Rousseauian tribute to a natural life that must be viewed nostalgically" (Deloria 1993, 151). This criticism is underscored by l.a Farge's own hand. He writes in his foreword, for instance, that "this book was written about a people who have now vanished" by a writer (whom La Farge purports to have known) who was "ferocious [and] romantic at the same time" (1929, x). Such a statement, which sounds ingenuous and incorrect today, still enunciates the lingering stereotype of the Noble Savage that plays out in the text: ferocious and romantic. Stedman makes the issue of a "vanishing breed" one of his criteria for deciding whether or not a fictive work relies on Indian stereotypes, pointing out that by portraying Indians as an "extinct species," an author reinforces the nonexistence of Indian culture as a present and therefore tangible reality ( 1982, 247). l.a Farge also dissembles that "this story is meant neither to instruct nor to prove a point, but to amuse," a claim that belies the effect of the work, which is highly polemical and acutely anti-white (l.a Farge 1929, xi). Such affectation, of course, eases white readers into the problems confronted in the story by making them think they are to be amused, rather charmed, by what one 72


unnamed Saturday Review critic called a "long story of primitive love in which the story complex is so completely kept within its native color and tone," which is to say: it is an Indian curiosity not to be taken as important literature. We will see how important it may be in the context of this discussion. The time of the novel ("romanticism made him [the fictitious author] feel that he should cast back in time to a less corrupted, purer era, so he chose 1915 as the date of his story" [vii]) lends itself to some historical scrutiny. It was a time when the American Southwest was becoming that most idealized locale, "the Land of Enchantment," and images of the Indian were everywhere to market it as such for the tourist trade. Perhaps foremost among its advertisers was the Santa Fe branch of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF). The great westering spirit of American entrepreneurship was abetted by a national longing for the grandeur of the West as inspired by painters such as Alfred Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, and by poets such as Whitman, who wrote prophetically in 1871 about his own westering spirit: "I see over my own continent the Pacific railroad surmounting every barrier/ ... I hear the locomotives rushing and roaring, and the shrill steam-whistle/ I hear the echoes reverberate through the grandest scenery in the world" (Baym, et al. 1989, 2061, "Passage to India," 11. 49-52). And the AT&SF obliged, completing its penetration of New Mexico in 1878 by laying rail over Raton Pass. 73


Tht_ (]aitf is still t'ldei-i Iii I lhitf -Advertising posters for Santa Fe line of the AT&SF from 1929 show the Indian as a Noble Savage collaborating in expansionism. 74


What followed was a major promotional campaign for tourist traffic into the new territory, called "Indian Detours," that relied heavily on the allure of native cultures and romantic portrayals of the Indian, reproduced nationwide on calendars and in brochures produced by the Sante Fe. The line into New Mexico was named The Chief, and its logo carried a stylized Indian. As T. C. Mcluhan observes in his excellent study Dream Tracks "The Indian became a popular theme in the paintings of these [regional and corporate] artists, even though they knew little about the culture they were 'capturing'" (1985, 27). Significantly, Laughing Boy and Slim Girl set up their household along these very same "dream tracks" in the fictional town of Los Palos, and make their living by crafting traditional Indian jewelry and weaving for the tourist trade. This incursion of the white tourist/settler into the ostensible sanctity of Indian culture is the catalyst of the novel's tragedy. "The attraction [to artists] was twofold," continues Mcluhan: The Indians' unity with their natural environment as expressed through their religious ceremonials and daily life stirred the spirit and aroused the curiosity of the artist. In addition, their colorful and picturesque appearance and strange and exotic customs provided a strong visual stimulus. (27) The art produced during this heyday, mostly by transplanted European and East Coast illustrators, painters, and printmakers, is some of the most elegant and colorful of any American art. The famous "New Mexico light" and the uniqueness of the desert landscape, coupled with the exoticism of Indian subjects, made for very romantic and dramatic compositions whose 75


use of the Indian as subject is discussed more extensively in Chapter Six. Most of these painters aspired to a painterly ethereality like that of the great French and German romantic painters of the previous century, like Ingres, Delacroix, and Friedrich. They could easily have been illustrators for La Farge's novel, whose language verges on the poetic and the mystical, as does his theme. Laughing Boy (whose Indian name is "Sings Before Spears") and Slim Girl ("Came With War") live steeped in the mysticism, superstition, and ceremonial religion of traditional Navajo life as observed directly by La Farge, an Eastern intellectual who nonetheless lived in and studied the culture extensively. They are, in the words of poet Gary Snyder, heirs of the ancient Anasazi culture, "up to your hips in Gods/ your head all turned to eagle-down/ & lightning for knees and elbows/ your eyes full of pollen" (1969, 3). They also inhabit a landscape of sublime, painterly beauty: Right before their horses' feet the cliff fell away, some fourteen hundred feet, and there, under their hands, lay all the North Country. It was red in the late sunlight, fierce, narrow canons with ribbons of shadow, broad valleys and lesser hills streaked with purple opaque shadows like deep holes in the world, cast by the upthrust mesas. The great, black volcanic core of Agathla was a somber monstrosity in the midst of colour. Away and away it stretched, jumbled, vast, the crazy shapes of the Monuments, the clay hills of Utah, and far beyond everything, floating blue mountain shapes softer than the skies. (La Farge 1929,150) While such a description certainly has a ring of authenticity to it, it also partakes of the romantic grandeur of the "land of enchantment," a term 76


used in the novel itself, meant to reinforce the enchanted nature of the Indian characters. Reflecting somewhat the sentimentality of jackson, La Farge attempts to create Indian characters who embody the pastoral and idyllic simplicity of the Noble Savage. "It is the essence of pastoral life," exudes the narrator. "Cigarette smoke rises lazily in the hot air, the sun is comfortable upon one's bones, the gently moving animals make peace" (128). Laughing Boy and Slim Girl imagine and act out an elegantly simple life together, he a silversmith, she a weaver; "to complete her idyll, she wanted to weave" (115). She sees in Laughing Boy the "mystical warrior" stereotype that La Farge makes of him in part, a character who, like Alessandro in Ramona has the innate charm and power of the supernatural. It is Laughing Boy who embodies the untainted purity of the ancient ways, who maintains the mythic force of the Navajo "path of beauty" and walks with the gods. He is "that imperious warrior who gave her [Slim Girl] orders .... a religious man, schooled to obedience of absolute conventions" (72-73). He is also one of the "copper gods" (as Ramona was), replete with the physique that La Farge idealizes in his Indian boys with "slender, golden-brown bodies, the bodies of perfect boys" (50). He is an exemplar of The People, or Dine, as the Navajo call themselves. What La Farge hopes to do here, however romanticized, is to portray a culture that has an autonomous religious history and identity that is not in need of conversion. In addition, as I will discuss later, T7


Laughing Boy and Slim Girl are also three-dimensional, humanized Indians who go about the everyday business of living in a very casual and believable way; i.e., they are portrayed as ambiguous and complex human beings. The story of Laughing Boy and Slim Girl is, again, the story of two cultures locked in the battle of racial ideologies. While Laughing Boy and traditional Navajo culture assume a central power here, poor Slim Girl, on the other hand, is cursed by her affiliation with white American culture, try as she might to escape its corrupting influence and go "back to the blanket" via her love for Laughing Boy. Several historical resonances appear in the story that highlight the tragic Indian policies of the government in "Washing don," as it is referred to by Slim Girl. She is one of the thousands of Indians who were taken from their homes and heritages, often by force, and sent to "away schools" run by the white government under the auspices of the BIA. "By 1913," writes Trimble, "the eight BIA boarding schools on the reservation-in addition to more distant off-reservation schools and several mission schools-began educating hundreds of Navajos in Anglo ways" (1993, 146). The idea that Indians must become assimilated into Euramerican culture rather than practice their own traditional lifeways was, like conversion, based on the assumption that Indians as Indians were undesirable to the Christian hegemony, and the schools sought to void their students of Indianness. As Slim Girl recalls, '"They did not want us to be Indians .... They wanted us to be ashamed of 78


being Indians. They wanted us to forget our mothers and fathers'" (La Farge 1929, 78). Trying to be an "American," Slim Girl "forgot the gods then, [and] followed the Jesus trail" (258). She then got pregnant by a white man who refused to marry her, leading her to become abandoned by the priest who converted her. Slim Girl found herself in the company of whores, who took her in and cared for her; she became a whore, hoping to someday avenge herself on the white ways that corrupted her: "I made up my mind that an American should pay for what an American had done" (261). Her love for Laughing Boy is her only hope for restoring herself to The People, but, in her quest for material security and revenge, she continues to service sexually another white rancher while she is married to Laughing Boy and is discovered. Although Laughing Boy forgives her, and they begin their journey away from the "dream tracks" back into their own culture, she is murdered on the way, becoming a stereotypical victim of American corruption. like another character, Yellow Singer, who becomes an alcoholic thanks to American whiskey, Slim Girl is the epitome of the corrupted Indian who has wandered from the traditional "path of beauty" and dies from the machinations of the alien mythos of white Christendom, which now pervades the otherwise "pure" mythos of lndianness like "something in the air, something that perverted the world" (233). White Americans are known to the Indians appropriately as "The Hunger People." 79


Through the figure of Laughing Boy, the Navajo "way" emerges as a magical realm in which nature and the supernatural are conjoined and indistinguishable. Hozoji, or h6zh6 in a more modem spelling, is and was at the center of Navajo mythology: it "embraces wholeness, life force, rootedness in the Earth, completeness, and 'continuous generational animation'" (Trimble 1993,127). Thus laughing Boy is portrayed as constantly praying in the spirit of hozoji, 'Now with a god I walk,/ Striding across the foothills./ Now on the old age trail, now on the path of beauty wandering./ In beauty-Hozoji, hozoji, hozoji, hozoji-i, hozoji" (La Farge 1929, 32). But there is also a constant question as to the power of hozoji to oppose the white man's "magic": "He walked to and fro. My mind is made up, I shall make things as they should be. Now with a god I walk-or is it a game, looseness?" (34). In the context of this novel, the identity of the Indian protagonist is not to be consigned wholly to either racial or religious stereotypes. Details of laughing Boy's day-to-day existence and his personality also defy the stereotypical "mystical warrior" image we and Slim Girl might have of him. He is, in many ways, just an Indian boy doing Indian things that have less to do with a grand mythos than with the mundane business of life: he herds and cares for his horses, drinks coffee with too much sugar, smokes the traditional cigarette, gets drunk enough times to teach himself not to, gambles and races horses, enjoys attacking and even killing "Pah-Utes" and is not above intertribal rivalries, plays sly tricks on


American tourists and traders, and in general is far from being an idealized, omnipotent character capable of slaying the "enemy gods." In the end, he cannot even save Slim Girl, who had hoped to "make a god of him" as part of her revenge against white culture (74). There is an ambivalence about Laughing Boy's character, and about hozoji itself, wherein we discover the more archetypal Indian who, like the kachina dancers who impersonate the gods during ceremonial dances, are "just Indians ... dressed up in a rather silly way," as Slim Girl realizes; "all of them knew that the gods were no more than men in masks" (161). Although Laughing Boy "loved the gatherings of people, the huge fires, the holy things" (136), he also believed that "what he had was so vastly superior to anything in their philosophy" (139). This ambivalence regarding the codified myths of Indian lore suggests that, within both of these characters, more archetypal, self-defining forces are at play, forces that emerge from "inside" their personas as intentional attempts at authenticity. La Farge has evoked a largely accurate and powerful Indian mythos only to engage us in a personification of believable Indian characters. This strategy, rather than the Olympian intervention of a supernatural masked god, is what dismantles white racial ideology. We realize that the Indian Laughing Boy, like us, is just an all-too-human actor in the strange pageant of life, an expression of a more psychologically accurate human dilemma of identity. Upon the death of Slim Girl, Laughing Boy discovers himself that "now he was not a Navajo terrified of 81


the dead, not an Indian, not an individual of any race, but a man who had buried his own heart" (284). His presumed identity is thus shaken by an "archetype of meaning" (death) that Jung suggests surfaces when we are caught and entangled in aimless experience, and the judging intellect with all its categories proves itself powerless. Human interpretation fails, for a turbulent life-situation has arisen that refuses to fit any of the traditional meanings assigned to it. It is a moment of collapse. ( 1969, 32) Such collapse, in Jungian theory, signals the beginnings of individuation; in literature, it signifies an attempt to humanize Indian characters. Laughing Boy, returning to a ceremonial after five days of fasting and prayer at the grave of Slim Girl, finds at last that "the past and present came together, he was one with himself. The good and true things he had thought entered into his being and were part of the whole continuity of his life" (302). Clearly, he is a fully articulated fictional Indian who easily surpasses any previous depictions in American literature. One stereotype giveaway for Stedman and others is the faithful transliteration of Indian dialect and/or the granting to Indian characters a speech that is not merely gibberish or pidgin English. "Do the People speak in 'early jawbreaker' or in the oratorical style of the 'noble savage'?" is one of the criteria of Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale, who edited and published the teachers' guide Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children in 1992. Stedman asserts that the Navajos' speech in La Farge's novel is "almost exclusively ... not of the English pattern," and criticizes Slim Girl for speaking with "disses" and "dats" to 82


the white rancher she services (1982, 60). Just for the record, Slim Girl and Laughing Boy do speak in this way at times, but only in the presence of whites, and they do so with the conscious knowledge of doing so because they wish to conceal their intelligence in front of whites for their own advantage. All else of these characters' language, both verbalized and subliminal, is elegantly simple, poetic, and often full of deep insight: "You will see what is left of a man when he leaves our way, when he walks in moccasins on the Americans' road. You have seen other People who live down there. Some of them are rich, but their hearts are empty. You have seen them without happiness or beauty in their hearts, because they have lost the Trail of Beauty. Now they have nothing to put in their hearts except whiskey." (La Farge 1929, 171) Laughing Boy is emblematic of a more enlightened period in American history when the ideas of cultural anthropologist Franz Boas were beginning to gain wide acceptance, at least among white intellectuals like La Farge, who studied anthropology at Harvard. Boas stressed "actual history over conjectural history" in his studies of American Indians, believing that Indian cultures ought to be studied as individual paradigms (Berkhofer 1978, 62-63). The terms "cultural relativity" and "pluralism" were initiated by Boas to defuse the notions that white civilization was innately superior to other, "aboriginal" civilizations and that social evolution, as Social Darwinism had earlier insisted, necessarily eventuated a white-like social structure. While not as dynamic a shift as it might first appear, Boasian anthropology at least unveiled the historical heterogeneity among Indian tribes and ascribed to them unique cultural histories, which 83


in some measure led to the dissolution of the stereotypically homogenous Indian. Certain Navajos were displeased with the accuracy with which La Farge scrutinized and reiterated their cultural ways, a sign that he was of the same mind as Boas regarding explicitly Indian traits and activities. On the other hand, the publication of Laughing Boy catalyzed a new selfinterest among Indians who read it and spawned the first generation of Indian novelists, four of whom published major works in the decade following 1929. 84


CHAPTER6 THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE DISENFRANCHISED The "dream tracks" that brought thousands of new whites into the Southwest as tourists also brought several artists who, in a close association with the railroad, fomented a thriving art market dealing in images of Indians and their symbolism and regalia. Thanks to the clever and aggressive marketing strategies of the AT&SF and a hotel and restaurant entrepreneur named Fred Harvey, these artists were given a substantial vested interest in portraying Indians as picturesque primitives imbued in a glowing landscape. The romantic elements of exoticism and wilderness locales, the architectural peculiarities of Puebloan culture, and the cooperation of curious and ftattered Indian subjects, not to mention the financial impetus created by tourist trade promoters, all combined to ensure a profusion of pictorial images that both ennobled and exploited Indian culture. Because most white Americans living east of the Mississippi had acquired a fearful, neurotic impression of the Indian based on the good Indian/bad Indian literary, political, and pictorial stereotypes foisted upon them by the various media prior to the tum of the century, the railroads who ventured toward California in the last decades of the 19th century 85


needed a new image of the Indian to attract customers into Indian country, which by this time was reservation Indian country largely confined to the western mountain states. Corporate image-makers thus sought to capitalize on the Edenic notions of the wild West that had also crept into the public imagination via the art of the great landscape painters Bierstadt and Moran, who had already effectively ephemeralized the West, and through the wide exposure "tame" Indians had gotten through such promoters as Buffalo Bill Cody. "It fell on the shoulders of William Haskell Simpson," writes Mcluhan, "Assistant General Passenger Agent for the line and in charge of Santa Fe advertising operations for more than twenty-two years, to lure a nation full of potential customers by instilling an image of 'the people's kind of railroad"' (1985, 18). The Indian was to be made a significant agent in this seduction; having been effectively neutralized as a potential threat, Indianness could now be exploited as a symbol of a pre industrial primitiveness that technology-weary eastern.ers might find liberating. Simpson was to prove a genius in his field. Although it was CEO Edward Ripley who bought and reproduced the first official AT&SF artwork, a scene of the Grand Canyon by Moran, and distributed copies of it widely to advertise the line, Simpson was to become corporate America's biggest art patron. An art lover to begin with, Simpson continued to give free rail travel into the Southwest to any artist who wanted to paint the new territory, a practice that began with Ripley in 1895. While several 86


Woodrow W. Crumbo's Land of Enchantment, 1946, provides an Indian's view of his people as tourist attractions. R7


Indian Detour by John Sloan, 1927, was, in Sloan's own words, "a satire on the Harvey Indian Tour." 88


members of what was to become the Taos Society of Artists (TSA) had already visited New Mexico and were duly impressed with its artistic potential, Simpson was instrumental in luring them to stay in and around Taos and in attracting other neophyte artists into the aura of Indian enchantment. Foremost among these were Ernest L. Blumenschein, Joseph H. Sharp, Eanger Irving Couse, Walter Ufer, Bert Greer Phillips, Oscar Biminghaus, and, although never a TSA member, William R. Leigh. The strange alliance between these artists, Simpson, and Harvey was to produce a major re-visioning of the Puebloan Indian, as well as a new denigration of the Indian into a tourist attraction and a "collectible" entity. William R. Leigh Like La Farge and Frank Waters to follow, William R. Leigh was fascinated enough with Puebloan Indian culture to immerse himself in the day-to-day banalities as well as the ceremonial grandeur of its present reality in the 1920s and 30s. "In the commonplace scenes of southwestern Indian life Leigh found the content for his finest work," comments D. Duane Cummins ( 1980, 6), and he found it most especially among the Zuiii, Navajo, and Hopi. Having gained his art schooling at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he initially began his career with portrait painting and illustrating but did not find immediate success. Wishing to broaden his horizons, and having been impressed by Moran's appeal for "more native art, independent of European fads," Leigh headed out West on one of the 89

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Santa Fe Railroad junkets under the auspices of Simpson, who expected a painting of the Grand Canyon out of the deal. "There in New Mexico [at the Laguna pueblo], all the pieces suddenly fell into place" (87). Leigh made some twenty-five trips to the area throughout his productive years. Leigh and Simpson's association was to become typical of that between the railroad and its artists. The railroad bought five of his paintings in 1906, one of which became the cover for the dining car menu on "The Chief' line (McLuhan 1985, 19). Though he did not deal exclusively with Simpson after that, Leigh's chief subject matter was to come from the Southwest. Leigh was an artist, like Moran, heavily influenced by the French romantic painter Delacroix. A French magazine reviewer noted, six months before Leigh's death, that "in our country he [Leigh] would be compared to Delacroix whose dash and romanticism the American painter often shows" (Cummins 1980, xvi). His love for the romantic sublime in nature and his attention to and invocation of atmospherics are also reminiscent of Turner in his palette-knife paintings. Rain Clouds, Kayenta, Arizona ( 1922), Sunset (n.d.), and Laguna, New Mexico (n.d.), all sparse landscapes of distant buttes, are nonetheless full of sky whose air is thick with the electricity of color and motion that recall Turner's The Battle of Trafalgar. Yet, despite these romantic leanings, Leigh was able to paint the Indian with much less exoticism than might be expected. For Leigh, like Taos Society artists Phillips and Ufer, was genuinely interested in Indian society and managed

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to expel at least some of his romantic conventions when addressing Indian subjects. Cummins recounts one instance that characterizes Leigh's obsession with authentic Indian customs. In 1939, he had spend most of nine days and nights with the Navajo during a Night Chant being held in midwinter under the direst of conditions. Cummins retells the situation thusly: Long ago he read of the Night Chant and now, late in years, he had risked his health in the dead of winter to be an eye-witness. Freezing on one side, baking on the other, with children laughing, shouting, and jumping about, he studied the dance intently. At last, satisfied that all conditions were precise, he took a pencil from his pocket and on the pad in front of him began drawing with loose and heavy strokes. (3-4) The result would be the mural-sized Navajo Fire Dance, one of his most eloquent works, completed in 1943. The Indian figures, though somewhat angular and assuming some improbable contortions, dance around a large bonfire in stylistic authenticity. The night air is lit with the magic of a full moon half-obscured by a spruce tree and the intensity of the Wright-ofDarby-like fire epitomizing the sublime fury of nature. In the immediate foreground sit the Navajo attendees, huddled against the cold and the frozen ground. The "serious play" of Navajo ceremonialism intrigues without being overwrought, and the dancing Indians are depicted in traditional clothing of their own tribe: a red headband/bandanna, mid-calf leggings, and breechcloths. That Leigh studied the entire Night Chant, with its twenty-four episodes and 324 songs, and sat through its performance, attests to his concern that Indian rituals be portrayed with a 91

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Navajo Fire Dance by William R. Leigh was first sketched in 1939 during a performance of the Fire Chant. Painting, 1943. 92

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Boasian sense of their sacramental importance and not just exploited for their curiosity (Waldman 1988,154). Forcing the viewer or reader into an intimacy with Indian life through depictions of day-to-day Indian activities has a way of humanizing them as well. Leigh constructed several of his best Indian paintings around just such intimacy. Hopi Courtship (1915), for example, portrays a Hopi couple sitting alone on a stone outcropping, illuminated only by the moon and stars. The woman wears her hair in the traditional Hopi "squash blossom" style, and the man the traditional red headband. They are obviously musing the idea of marriage without a lot of fuss or overt passion, serene yet thoughtful in the magical night. This couple could be Laughing Boy and Slim Girl, for they are evoked by a poetic simplicity reminiscent of La Farge. In Leigh's Hopi Firing Pottery (1912), a similarly simple scene conveys intimacy by showing a Hopi woman on her knees laying the last rocks over a carefully built "kiln" that is traditionally accurate: after creating a bed of hot coals, Indian poners, like the modem Maria Martinez of San lldefonso Pueblo, would balance over the coal bed rocks and pots in precarious combination, and cover the whole over with dried dung to maintain the smoldering heat. Again, Leigh's attention to such details as dress, hairstyles, and traditional ways emphasizes respect for Indian culture without much exoticism. In Cbende Hogan ( 1950), Leigh illustrates the well-known Navajo fear of the dead, also expressed in Laughing Boy and in such modem works 93

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as Ron Query's The Death of Bernadette Leftband (1993). "A dead person was taboo," writes Leigh correctly in his memoirs, "[and] must not be touched. Moreover, the house in which the person died must be destroyed, to the end that the thronging devils might be extirpated" (DuBois 1977, 96). On the other hand, however, Leigh was not above repeating the "Indians attack wagon train" syndrome that occupied many western painters and book jacket illustrators. His 1942 painting Wesrward Ho fits into this typical genre, as do several of his cowboy paintings, but many illustrators of the period, struggling to make a living during the war, lapsed into stereotype and convention when they had to. Even Blumenschein, another accomplished painter, would illustrate the novels of Zane Grey, an East Coast dentist who wrote cowboy/Indian fantasies with great success (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 150). Leigh's Master of His Domain (1906-1916) shows another unfortunate lapse into conventionality. Against a backdrop that is certainly the desert Southwest, Leigh posed a generic Indian wearing all the accouterment of a Lakota Sioux (warbonnet, beaded moccasins, parfleche, and medicine bag). Leigh's artistic accomplishments, while suffering from an idealization of the Indian as a romantic figure, still show signs of the turning of artistic consciousness away from legendary stereotype to a more socially conscious empathy that tended to humanize the Indian figure. Perhaps unaware of the potential political damage to be done to the Indian by portraying him in an overly romanticized light, painters of the 94

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Southwest like Leigh were understandably eager to capture the effulgent beauty of the region and its inhabitants, who many believed were not long for this world. Though their motivation to capture the Indian as a human subject was sincere, even radical individualists like Leigh could not overcome the impress of stereotype, as illustrated in his early uncharacteristic poem "The Painted Desert" (1912)-Ah! the lonesome, lonesome places Of that wan, wide, wasted land, Where on crazy crooked bases Giant boulders balanced stand. Where fantastic spurs and spires, And titanic mesas rise, Tinged as by satanic fires High against cerulean skies. Carved as by a race of Devils Who in ultra-freakish moods, 'Mid demoniacal revels, Sought to mock the solitudes. And with drunken reel and laughter, Splashed crude colors far and wide, Which kind Nature long thereafter Touched, and strangely unified. And the wilderness undaunted, He [the painter] is eager to invade, And his pathway seems enchanted And his feet with wings arrayed. And the mystery and the wonder Lure him on forever more, All the lonesome spots to plunder Of their wealth of secret lore. (DuBois 1977, 103-04) 95

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Unabashedly romantic, the poem serves to illustrate a white mindset still obsessed with the deliciously satanic nature of the Indian and the colonial imperative to "plunder I Of their wealth of secret lore." Two other of Leigh's paintings, Hopi Indian Runners (1913) and A Close Call ( 1943), serve to demonstrate how the Indian Other, either as Noble or Ignoble Savage, operates psychologically to validate the need of white culture to fortify itself as the "good." As David Deitcher has noted in his 1991New York Times essay "A Newer Frontier": "The vast majority of the art in these galleries hinges on a pair of stereotypes [of the Amerindian]: the 'noble savage,' in harmony with nature, and the bloodthirsty demon, a force of an altogether more malignant nature." Deitcher's observations derive from the controversy surrounding the 1991 National Museum of American Art's exhibition, "The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920," and efforts by this show's curators to demystify much of the show's content with revisionist (some said "anti-American") rhetoric, and compelling new interpretations of the art's significance. "Inventing the Indian" was a major thematic section of the show, and it emphasized the stereotypes that Deitcher mentions and that still pertain to some of the pieces at the Museum of Western Art in Denver, where these two paintings by Leigh now hang. The first painting, Hopi Indian Runners serves as an example of the first, or Noble Savage stereotype. Herein, three young Indians dominate the foreground of a composition that is expertly romanticized and 96

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Hopi Indian Runners by \'Villiarn R. Leigh, 1913. 97

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charismatically painted. Two of the figures are in full stride, closing in on an escaping jackrabbit, while the third has just fallen to the ground, apparently in exhaustion; they appear almost on the surface plane of the canvas, their perfectly Olympian bodies caught in a dynamic of taut athleticism, and immediately catch the eye with their exuberance. Oddly, they achieve a double impression of both innocent fun and savage resolve: are they chasing the jackrabbit (who is also turning into the foreground) for the chaste excitement of the chase, or are the boomerang-like weapons they are hurling at the rabbit meant to kill it? The Hopi did use such weapons to kill prey, and they seem an obvious aboriginal signifier in this case (Seaman 1993, 76). What further romanticizes the runners is the Tumeresque landscape they are joyously splashing through. What in reality must be the harsh and hot desert of northeastern Arizona is rendered by Leigh into atmospherics of pastel lights and soft painterly forms-the desert sand indeed seems ethereal enough that only one of the runners is obliged to wear moccasins, the sagebrush seems more like lamb's ear, and there is no hint that this environment can cause great bodily harm if run through unclothed and unshod as depicted. The faces and heads of the Hopi runners are also strangely rendered-the faces appear leathery with expressions verging on the grotesque, and the hair is wildly inflamed, suggesting both the motion of the run and an untamed psychic nature. In short, they seem exoticized so as to depict a barbarian nature, childlike yet cruel. The romantic 98

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fascination vvith exotic races (in this case, both genetic and sporting) has its mythological overtones, which Barthes has observed function to obliterate the responsibility of the artist (and the culture he represents) to depict the life of the Other in realistic terms. These exerpted and adapted observations from Barthes' essay "The Lost Continent" (197 2, 94) seem to resonate in Leigh's painting: The [painting] is euphoric, everything in it is easy, innocent. Our [subjects] are good fellows, who fill up their leisure time with child like amusements. They play with their mascot [or jackrabbit]. All this 'primitive' folklore whose strangeness seems ostensibly pointed out to us has as its sole mission the illustration of 'Nature': the rites, the cultural facts, are never related to a particular historical order, an explicit economic or social status, but only to the great neutral forms of cosmic commonplaces. If we are concerned with [Hopi runners], it is not at all the type of [running] which is shown; but rather, drowned in a garish sunset and eternalized, a romantic essence of the [runner]. "All told," Barthes concludes, "exoticism here shows well its fundamental justification, which is to deny any identification vvith History." Hopi Indian Runners as well seems a work concocted from romantic ingenuity and exoticism whose effect, though strikingly beautiful, bespeaks a historical naivete from which sprang the notion of the Noble Savage. A Close Call, on the other hand, provides an interesting sidelight on that other stereotype, the flip side of the romantic sublime and its psychological twin-that of the Amerindian Other as bloodthirsty and savage pagan. \tVhile other works of the period show graphic portrayals of Indians massacring, marauding, mutilating, and othervvise being bothersome to white expansionists, this work is haunting in that the enemy 99

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A Close Call by William R. Leigh, 1913. 100

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is not exactly at hand. In it, a mounted cowboy is seen bursting into the foreground up a rocky escarpment, his gun drawn, his horse terrified, his hat flying, his gaze anxiously turned back over his shoulder. As in the previous painting, the pictorial surroundings are rendered in bright, soft pastels, while the main figures (man and horse) are in an opposing state of vivid coloration and suspended animation. But, other than the title's suggestion and the expressions of the rider and horse, there is no physical evidence of any threatening aspect, so what is not portrayed directly becomes suddenly more important to the viewer than what is. This void becomes an interesting locus for speculation and for projection by which viewers are seduced into betraying their own culturally programmed fears. The unknown itself becomes a succinct component of the painting's significance, and a certain psychological dynamic involved in creating the Other comes into play. One is invited to project the stereotype into the painting, rather than have it explicitly drawn out for him or her, and in so doing becomes an active participant in the dynamic of "naming the Other." Was it a rattlesnake the rider encountered? Not likely, considering that whatever it was still poses a threat though it is now at a distance. Was it a rock slide, or a bushwhacker? A mountain lion or marauding bear? Surely the painter would have wanted us to know from whence this excitement comes, were it from something so prosaic as these. No, the UN-narning of it by the artist seems to infer something more terrifying, more abstract, more spiritually sublime: something more along the lines of the Other, a 101

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projection of our innermost fears. In the context of this painting, the marauding Indian's mysterious and fearful Otherness lurks behind the historical moment being depicted, just as it lurks behind the imagery of Leigh's poem above, and behind that of John Ford's film The Searchers, where the exact nature of what the "Comanch" have inflicted upon the white women is always left to the imagination of the viewer, though it is always insinuated that the deed was something heinous and sexual. This painting finds its true value, then, in depicting the Other by not depicting it, a tactic through which the Other is seen in its truest sense as a projection of internalized, mythological fear. We do not need to ever have seen "the devil" to know that he lurks there, waiting to be incarnated by a doctrinal, historical context into a human image. Bert Greer Phillips Of the members of the Taos Society of Artists, founded in 1915 as a cooperative to negotiate with Simpson, Harvey, and the AT&SF Railroad, only three had any real interest in Indians beyond their usefulness as subjects for painting. While some critics accuse the entire membership of social naivete, saying that "the imagery they created favored the idyllic and ignored social ills," Bert Phillips, Joseph Sharp, and Walter Ufer all took a personal interest in their Indian subjects and their welfare, though such interest may not always be evident in their paintings (Witt 1992, 4). 102

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Ernest Blumenschein, a perfectionist and something of a dandy (he has been called a "drugstore cowboy" by historians Sherry Clayton Taggett and Ted Schwarz), was most adept at the business side of the society's relationship with the railroad, negotiating sales, touring exhibitions, and other means of exposing the artists collectively to the public. At his request, Simpson agreed to purchase works for cash money instead of free rail passes and, though the artists received no royalties from the use the railroad made of their paintings afterward (such as postcards, calendars, and prints), they did have a steady market for their work and wide public exposure. Some were commanding $20,000 for a single painting (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 157), and demand for the work of all the artists increased dramatically between 1913 and 19 2 7, when the society dissolved. Blumenschein, however, epitomized the attitude among early Taos artists that Indians, like the landscape of the Southwest, were incidental to their painting, providing thematic and compositional intrigue essential for romanticizing them on canvas. While "their images were an affirmation of sympathy with Indian life.," argues McLuhan, "these artists were, however, lacking in any apparent awareness of the particularities of the culture they were representing. They painted what they felt and what they wanted to feel" (1985, 28). Unlike Phillips, Ufer, and Sharp, Blumenschein had no real interest in particular Indians as people. Phillips and Blumenschein first entered the Taos Valley in 1898 via buckboard from Denver. Eager to try out anything "western," the two had 103

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an arduous trip plagued by broken wheels and sprung suspensions. Blumenschein walked the last three miles carrying a wheel into Taos for repair. Once there, it was Phillips who immediately took to the place and its people. He wrote in his diary, somewhat naively: The Indians worship all things beautiful .... It is not the passive appreciation that is the frequent reaction to beauty of many white people. It is an integral part of their being. Their religion revolves around the rhythm and life of nature. Their love of beauty is born of knowledge as well as of what we call superstition ... Why not expect something unusual from an intelligent people who have had only one book for thousands of years, which they have studied and upon which they have depended for their physical, mental and spiritual life-the book of nature. To understand something of this is to understand something of the Indian people. Their whole life is keyed to the rhythm of nature as evidenced by their sense of design in their blankets, pottery, baskets and in their music. (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 77) Phillips became involved in the Taos Pueblo's historic battle over its sacred Blue Lake, becoming the first ranger in the newly created Taos Forest Preserve that oversaw the lake until 1965, when the pueblo finally gained back full title to the 130,000 acres the government had appropriated for the preserve (Trimble 1993, 78). For his paintings, he would visit Indian friends in their homes instead of posing them artificially in other surroundings, a practice that almost caused him to go blind due to the lighting conditions under which he painted them there (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 111). As a tribute to his real empathy with his Indian friends, some who had posed for him in their homes voluntarily brought their accouterments to Phillips' studio where he had better light. 104

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Phillips' paintings, however, are typical of the genre. His The Last Trail (n.d.), for instance, portrays an Indian woman getting ready to mount her pony for what is ostensibly a last ride into the sunset, playing on the stereotypical theme of the vanishing breed. The War Chief (n.d.) is a rigidly posed portrait of the Noble Savage variety, showing a stolid Indian in a composure of resigned dignity. As Patricia Broder has noted, "Phillips' Indians are not individuals but are representations of an ideal, posed in order to give rhythm and balance to a composition" (1980, 108). That Phillips was somewhat reticent about probing very deeply into Indian life is perhaps best illustrated by his involvement with the Penitente cult of the Hispanics, whose rather gruesome religious rituals he observed firsthand. Having actually witnessed a human crucifixion, and revolted by both the actual event and the fact that he had jeopardized his own safety by seeing it, he "would be haunted by the spectacle of the Penitentes the rest of his life, a demon he dared not exorcise through art" (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 108). Instead of painting what could indeed have been a masterpiece of southwestern drama, he chose instead to portray the innocuous and stylized Penitente Burial Procession. Despite his closeness to and good intentions toward Indians, Phillips was unfortunately unable to convey much sense of intimacy with his subjects. 105

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The Last Trail by Bert Greer Phillips, ca. 1915. 106

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The War Chief by Bert Greer Phillips, ca. 1910. 107

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' ., .... ). \ I Penitente Burial Procession by Bert Greer Phillips, ca. 1905. 108

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Joseph Sharp Joseph Sharp, who first traveled West in 1883, had somewhat better success conveying a sense of Indian vitality and idiosyncrasy in his work. Also sensitive to the plight of Indians, "he was aware that changes were occurring which would ultimately destroy the various Indian nations as they had existed for centuries. Most Indians were on reservations. Intermarriage among tribes and intermarriage between whites, blacks, or Hispanics and Indians was taking place. The customs, the religion, even the physical appearance of the people would not last" (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 113). His concerns carried over into political action as well. In a letter to the Office of Indian Affairs dated 1902, Sharp responded to the BIA injunction of Commissioner Jones that "[Indian] boys be shorn or their braids and be given haircuts typical of white youths" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 214). In the letter he defended the Indians' right to wear their hair long, pointing out that "it would be the greatest sacrifice you could have them make .... [for] only on rare occasions is their grief so great that they cut their hair" (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 120). While Phillips had shied away from painting his most visceral experience among the Penitentes, Sharp painted his Penitente Flagellants in 1934 based on Phillips' experience. The painting has a dark intrigue that suggests the religious intensity of the local mestizos who, though not Indians, represent the fervor with which they also practiced their religion. Sharp also painted an authentic rendering of Indian ceremonials 109

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in Tbe Harvest Dance of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico (1893), which correctly shows dance regalia typical of the Taos Puebloans (spruce boughs, gourd rattles, tablitas worn on the head, feather anklets, etc.) and, unlike Leigh's Navajo Fire Dance, is noticeably lacking in romantic histrionics. The Indians portrayed do not all look alike, and there is a casual yet reverential communal appeal to the work that seems appropriate. Compared with Blumenschein's highly stylized Moon, Morning Star, Evening Star painting of the Taos Deer Dance, Sharp's rendering is much less stylized and exoticized. Sharp could also paint village life with the same sense of realism that makes his work attractive. Taos Indians ( 1924) is composed of six Indians gathered along a bench outside an adobe structure. One smokes a cigarette and all seem engaged in a casual repartee, dressed in plain blankets (except one) and moccasins. The very lack of decorative embellishment and the unposed look of the subjects contributes to an unusually naturalistic feel, and the subjects are neither glamorized nor degraded but appear as common folk going about their daily business. 110

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Penitente Flagellants by Joseph Sharp, 1934. 111

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The Harvest Dance of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico by Joseph Sharp, 1898. 112

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Hoon, Mornina Star, Evenina Star by Ernest L. Blumenschein, 1922. 1 ., J.)

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Taos Indians by Joseph Sharp, 1924. 1M

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Walter Ufer Of all the Taos Society painters, Walter Ufer seems the one most attuned to what it meant at the time to be a "real" Indian in a white man's world. Taggett and Schwarz maintain that "Ufer brought the first hint of social consciousness to the area," an assertion that is born out in some of his paintings ( 1990, 17 8). Ufer was a political activist and follower of Trotsky before he arrived in Taos in 1914, and thus well-versed in the plight of oppressed people. As a student in Dresden, he also knew the hard facts of poverty, saving bread crusts in a tin can for those days when he would have nothing else to eat. Once in Taos, he immediately sympathized and identified with the Indians as brothers and sisters of the working classes, people who led exhausting lives just eking out a living. His respect for both the dignity of hard work and the struggle of poverty were not just philosophical: he himself participated in both for most of his life. Although he sold more paintings than most of the other society artists, he was frequently broke and was a hard drinker as well. A volatile, fiercely independent man, Ufer, unlike his contemporaries, resisted the conventional iconography that overlaid most paintings of the Indian, preferring instead to try and picture them as they really were. Emphasizing his human kinship with Indians, Ufer painted himself in Me and Him (n.d.) as an Indian with an Indian, wearing his hair in identical braids and with each man holding a fanning implement-"each man an equal partner in work" (Broder 1980, 216). "The Indian is not a 115

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fantastic figure," Ufer once told his patron, Chicago mayor Carter Harrison. "He resents being regarded as a curiosity-as a dingleberry on a tree. He is intelligent and a good businessman ... and he is quick to challenge any false statements about himself or his life" (225). While most of the other Taos painters posed their figures in alluring, cozy adobes surrounded by traditional Indian crafts and symbolic regalia, Ufer's subjects often appear at work in the service of the white man. Luncheon at Lone Locust (n.d.), for instance, shows an Indian waiting tables filled with well-to-do whites, and Bob Abbott and His Assistant (n.d.) portrays an Indian man as an apprentice mechanic. In jim and His Daughter, Ufer paints Jim as an "Americanized Indian" wearing cowboy trappings rather than traditional "costumery," work clothes that suggest the real-life hardships of the Indian cowboy. "In Ufer's paintings," comments Broder, "the contrast of the brilliant sunlit desert with the passive, lifeless figures of the Indians emphasizes the weariness of the Pueblo people and their stoic acceptance of the burdens of life in a transitional age" (227). Perhaps Ufer's most eloquent and moving statement regarding the plight of the Indian is in his painting entitled Hunger (n.d.). Before an altar composed of a crucifix, on which hangs a disjointed, doll-like Christ figure, and another reliquary santo common in the Hispanic Southwest, two Indian figures pray in earnest. Christianized Indians, living at the time in the syncretic world in which Christianity, embellished with native iconography, held sway over traditional Indian ceremonial religions, 116

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appeal to the white man's God for relief from their hunger. The painting resonates the incongruities inherent in the process of assimilation, which Ufer understood was "more in the fantasy of the white man than in reality," and shows the Indian as being at cross-purposes with regard to the white man's religion that had simultaneously disenfranchised him and given him surrogate hope for a better life ( 179). As Broder observes, "In Hunger he utilized the theme of crucifixion and religious images ... to protest the condition of deprivation and misery in the Indian world" ( 215). Rather than naively celebrating the beneficence of christianization, Ufer noted instead the cultural and spiritual dissolution that it had engendered among his Indian friends. The era defined by the existence of the Taos Society of Artists is one fraught with contradictions. While Ufer, Phillips, Sharp, Leigh and the others helped portray Indian culture as intelligent, artistic, hardworking, and generally humane, such portrayals were in part the result of the commercial mandates of the new tourist trade. Ufer, for instance, despite his more personally inspired work, "sold a reported $150,000 worth of paintings in three years by turning out the same picture over and over, an Indian on a white horse posed against a Taos mountain looming in the background" (McLuhan 1985, 33). Simpson, Harrison, and Harvey, principle among the several significant patrons, were also careful arbiters of what kinds of images of Indians would reach the public imagination, and these were generally "calendar Indians" designed to attract tourists to the 117

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Top: Me and Him; Bottan: Jim and His Dauqhter by Walter Ufer, ca. 1915. 118

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Top: Luncheon at Lone Locust; Bottom: and Eis Assistant by Walter Ufer, ca. 1915. 119

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Hunger by Walter Ufer, ca. 1920. 120

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Land of Enchantment. Harrison, who had urged Ufer to "consider the realistic presentation of Indians," also insisted that he paint their flesh tone "darker than ... natural because he feared people would not think they were real Indians" (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 190-94). Simpson, writing to Irving Couse about a painting he had submitted for calendar reproduction, advised: Note how we [the railroad image-makers] have experimented by pasting on a slip to see how it would look if the warbonnet [not a Puebloan feature anyway] was made larger. Rather like the effect, and wish you would kindly correct the sketch accordingly. While the face is attractive and out of the ordinary, [we] ... feel that it might look a little more like the Indian Chief most of us have in our mind if following changes were made. (McLuhan 1985, 31) Ufer's fear that the Indians had become nothing more than tourist attractions was based on such exploitive and manipulative experiences, of which he himself was obviously guilty as well. By the same tum, the artists themselves wished to protect their vested interest in Indian images. When galleries began publishing price lists of their work, the society put a stop to this practice because several Indian models, who were getting twenty-five cents an hour for posing, had read the lists and then insisted on getting a portion of the going rates. "Instead of being helpful to some nice white men engaged in a rather odd profession, they suddenly saw themselves as valuable parts of a profitable enterprise. They wanted their share" (Taggett and Schwarz 1990, 169). By 1917, it was too late for the Taos Indians to effectively stop the white capitalist appropriation of their cultural significance as initiated and 121

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perpetuated by the AT&SF. Some, however, would reap the enormous benefits that the tourist trade would bring in the form of an insatiable desire for traditional Indian arts and crafts, a desire that still enriches, albeit not without some hellacious controversy, the lives of many Indian artisans and artists of the Taos/Santa Fe Valley. Modem Indian artists, as I shall discuss later, are today steeped in controversy over what constitutes Indian art and, indeed, who is racially eligible within the Indian communities to market their art as "Indian." 122

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CHAPTER 7 THE GROUNDS FOR MYTHIFICATION Frank Waters in "The Red Atlantis" Pictorial artists were not the only colonizers of and advocates for the community of Taos. Soon after the founding of the Taos Society of Artists, Mabel Dodge Luhan, a Taos socialite, invited a young Boasian "cultural pluralist" and progressive named John Collier to visit her and tour the pueblo. Collier's reaction to what he witnessed at Taos was soon to have a profound effect on American Indian policy. Kenneth Philp's reiteration of Collier's impression epitomizes the way white Americans came to adulate certain Indian communities: At Taos, Collier discovered that a few hundred Indians "had survived repeated and immense historical shocks" in order to live "amid a context of beauty which suffused all the life of the group." They had created a "Red Atlantis" where community life flourished. Collier believed that his discovery had universal significance because the Indians were the only people in the Western Hemisphere who still possessed "the fundamental secret of human life-the secret of building great personality through the instrumentality of social institutions." (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 274) Such were the auspicious theoretical beginnings of the "Indian New Deal" initiated by Collier when he ascended as Commissioner of the BIA under Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. 123

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The author of another "new deal" for Indians, Frank Waters, settled in Taos in the 1930s, and was also introduced to the area, and to the works of C. G. Jung, by Luhan. At the time of this writing, Waters is 92 years old and still has thirteen of his books in print. Not many of these books receive scholarly attention, nor have they in the past, a curious oversight that is only now beginning to be rectified. Too often Waters has been dismissed as a regionalist (as if Faulkner and Melville were not regionalists!) or a "mystic" whose works border on that verboten literary land of metaphor and magical themes. As David Jongeward has ascertained, "His work follows long-standing traditions of writers who have worked with dream, myth, mystidsm, human life rooted in the natural world" (Deloria 1993, 25). Academic deconstructionists and postmodernists seem to typically resist literature with theological presumptions or cosmological underpinnings. But if Barthes is right in suggesting that "the best weapon against myth is perhaps to mythify it in its tum," perhaps Waters, and La Farge, can be forgiven, and even praised, for articulating American Indian mythology as a linguistic and psychological weapon against white racial stereotypes (1972, 135). In addition, the mythological views of Waters are not unequivocal, nor do they leave us back in the ideological battleground over "supreme authority" fought between myth mongers and traditional religions. Waters was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a marginal neighborhood called Shook's Run. His boyhood, as remembered 124

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by his close friend Charles Hathaway, was one of punching bags, pranks, and a sensitivity toward suffering brought out by his grade school exposure to Hugo's Les Miserables His Grandfather Dozier kept a library full of "wonderful books ... on mysticism or something," some of which Waters apparently read while still an adolescent (Deloria 1993, 40-43). He also developed an early empathy with Indians: "I have always, as you know, been interested in Indians," he told Stephen Kress for Hoka Hey Magazine in 1992. He himself is alleged to be of one-tenth Cheyenne blood, though he is generally referred to as an "Anglo" by Indian purists (174). In any case, Waters has, since 1930, been writing extensively of Indians, Hispanics, and Anglos of the American Southwest in ways that are largely atypical and in great empathy with his native subjects. In so doing, he has fmally earned the praise of a wide spectrum of Indian activists, intellectuals, and writers (like Vine Deloria, Jr. and Leslie Marmon Silko), white academics (like Charles Adams and Alexander Blackburn), and other southwestern writers and scholars (like Rudolfo Anaya and David Jongeward). For purposes of this discussion, I have selected three of Frank Waters' works as illustrative of his experiential as well as mythopoetic literary adventures among the Puebloan Indians of New Mexico and Arizona. The Book of the Hopi, published in 1963 by Swallow Press, then of Denver, is a uniquely anti-anthropological work composed from interviews with "sixty or seventy" Hopi elders who voluntarily offered Waters and his 125

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Hopi interpreter Oswald White Bear Frederick's a broad pastiche of Hopi creation stories, legends, ceremonial practices, cosmology, and cultural anecdotes that serve to illuminate Indianness from a spiritual as well as historical point of view, through Indian eyes. In conjunction with this book, Pumpkin Seed Point is the autobiographical account of the three years Waters spent among the Hopi interviewing and translating The Book of rbe Hopi. Pumpkin Seed Point brings to light Waters' intense identification with Indian lifeways and philosophy, an identification that belies stereotypical notions of the potential relationship between white and Indian cultures. It also contains Waters' analysis of how Indians and whites have dehumanized and scapegoated each other, an analysis that reflects the major concerns of this discussion. The Man Mo Killed the Deer represents Waters' most successful attempt to portray the Indian fictionally as a viable and unromanticized human entity, replete with a recognizable psychological reality, motivation, emotional content, complex personality, bodily awareness, social consciousness, and wry humor. Taken together, these three works exemplify the linguistic and psychological impetus against stereotypes and racial ideology that forms and informs the modern search for the "real" Indian. They serve the Indian cause through their sense of humanness, their descriptive power, and immense respect for things Indian. They are firsthand accounts, observations, and extrapolations that defy Otherness as it has been traditionally applied to Native Americans. Beyond these attributes, they are also examples of a 126

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literary style that can indeed be revolutionary in its honesty and attention to the prelinguistic provocations for language and their psychological ramifications. The Book of the Hopi The religious leader of the Taos Pueblo, known as the Loco Tenente Gobemador, once said to me: "The Americans should stop meddling with our religion, for when it dies and we can no longer help the sun our Father to cross the sky, the Americans and the whole earth will Jearn something in ten years' time, for then the sun won't rise anymore." In other words, night will fall, the light of consciousness is extinguished, and the dark sea of the unconscious breaks in. --c.G.jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious The Book of the Hopi, like Masked Gods and Mexico Mystique, also by Waters, is a major ethnological and mythological work that divulges background material for some of his novels as well as informs us of the origins of Waters' own metaphorical underpinnings and grand thematic tropes. His interest in the sodalizing and psychotropic forces at play in aboriginal cultures, whether of the Hopi, the Navajo, or the nahuatl-speaking peoples of Mexico, seems to also play an important part in the way he formulates his underlying fictive themes. From these forces Waters also derives something of a mythic authenticity or, as deconstructionists would have it, a guarantee of the spiritual authority of his work. For Water's work tends toward the bildungsroman in general intent and his fiction, like his mythological studies, commonly propound a metaphysics that interacts with sodal reality in such a way as to become something of a 127

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catechism or instructional technique in the ethics of living. As for Collier and the Taos artists, Puebloan culture seems also for Waters a socio religious paradigm worthy of emulation and articulation. In the ongoing struggle between the Hopi and Navajo cultures of the Southwest over land rights is couched a major philosophical battle based on their mutually exclusive originary myths, each proclaiming itself to be that of the First People. Waters, as might be expected, takes the Hopi side of this intertribal dispute in The Book of the Hopi, although he also possesses a wider egalitarian view of all indigenous cultures. The book is largely made up of firsthand accounts of tribal elders who, after centuries of secrecy and distrust of the power of the printed word (that "Word" that brought the white man to their door), reveal to Waters and his Hopi "recorder" Oswald White Bear Fredericks what Waters calls their "world-view of life, deeply religious in nature, whose esoteric meaning they have kept inviolate for generations uncounted" ( 1963, ix). Within this revelation Waters fmds important contrasts between Hopi beliefs and the conquering racism and rationalism of white Europeans, and consistently brings these to the foreground of the discussion. Although Waters does his best not to romanticize the Hopi position, the ages-old conflict between rational materialism and subjective spiritualism is the central and tragic theme of the work. But it is to Waters' credit that he avoids painting the Hopi as Rousseauian Noble Savages, and merely uses their basic tenets to affirm that they may indeed "have a depth 128

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psychology different from our own" (xiv), and that we might learn a lesson from them by way of balancing our Western dissociative neuroses with a dose of natural law and a recognition of the unconscious creative forces that form it, in the Hopi (and Jungian) view. It may also be said that Waters rarely condescends to the Hopi as if they were primitives or savages, but rather sees them as extraordinarily enlightened people. like some postmodernist critics (Baudrillard and Barthes, for example), Waters detests the premise of ethnology that forces it to murder that which it studies by relegating it to the position of the Other. The book is an eloquent song of origins; the myths, legends, and ceremonial reenactment of these are strung together into a comprehensive whole. The originary myth itself, like others worldwide, begins with the "Void" and the creation of the first world. However, God is notably not "'the Father" but the "Uncle" of his first creation, indicative of the matrilineal nature of Hopi society, and the first words spoken are "Why am I here? Who are we?", certainly not questions asked by innocents in a patriarchal Eden, but rather those of seekers of identity. There is a primary emphasis placed on sound and "'vibration" as psychic connections with the Creator ("'the universe quivered in tune" [4]). The first humans are made with four colors of clay (for fundamental racial tolerance) and the spectral changes of the Sun represent the emotional development of the human race. Typically, evil is also cast into the world: The first sin as promoted by Lavaihoya, "'the Talker," is racial and ethnic intolerance-the awareness of 129

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differences-that precedes the stigmatization of the Other. As Charles Adams has noted, "To the Hopi, the ultimate evil is ... the illusion of separateness" (1985, 113}. The second sin is sexual perversion and warlike aggression; the third sin, avarice and materialism. The earth is destroyed three times because of these, and each time recreated a little less perfect than the one before it: "the way becomes harder and longer" (Waters 1963, 19}. Waters, with a prior knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism gained by his long association with Buddhist scholar W. Y. Evans-Wentz, notes appropriately the marked similarities between the Hopi version of "psycho-physical centers in the human body" and that of the "cakras" of Tibetan mysticism (10-11}. He also notes the occurrence of the Cretan symbol of the labyrinth of Daedalus in Hopi culture as the symbol of "Emergence" or spiritual rebirth. In his closing commentary on "the myths," Waters stresses the psychic as well as the physical connections between the Hopi and Eastern mystical religions, sounding a theme that recurs in his fiction and his personal essays: The future revelation of the mystical unity of wo/mankind (26-27}. Hopi life as it still exists is replete with the animistic mysteries associated with nature religions the world over. Daily life is constantly poised between the natural and the supernatural, the two being somewhat indistinguishable in the "primitive" consciousness. As Victor Turner has surmised concerning the hunting and gathering tribes of Africa, "the 130

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border line between the concrete and the symbolic was blurred: [they] could not separate the natural from the supernatural" (Cordry 1980, 142). Hopi culture is rife with symbolism that links man with the creation metaphorically, and with complex, ritualistic ceremonies that confirm that relationship perennially. Corn, for instance, takes on several symbolic permutations as the transubstantiating food of life, the staff of life; as "the sacred entity embodying the male and female elements" as "the Com Mother" who provides spiritual nourishment and is "fastened to the sacred mongko-the 'law of laws'"; and, as cornmeal, as the "Road of life" spread out before them (Waters 1963, 134-35). Religious sodeties and clans apply the traditional symbolism during what Waters calls "The Mystery Plays""the annual cycle of nine great religious ceremonies that dramatize the universal laws of life" ( 125). Waters details the enactment of the nine ceremonies with unabashed reverence, making them read, indeed, like the great Christian Mystery Plays. During "The Night of the Washing of the Hair," for instance, "pairs of Two Horns and One Horns" (two of several "kiva clans") close off all roads to the village except one, and ... Hearing a step or glimpsing a passing shape, they call out loudly "Haqumi? Who are you?" Immediately the answer comes back, "Pinu'u, I am I," revealing that the accosted one is one of the spiritual beings who has come by way of the one open trail. ( 144) Waters' attraction to the mysticism and natural beauty of the Hopi world view and its attendant rituals and myths resembles those of Yeats to 131

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the ancient Celtic legends or of Blake to Druid culture, each of them forming a personal metaphorical framework and mythology around the prehistoric ones. Regarding the Hopi, however, Waters has the further advantage, and its rectifying present reality, of being able to interact with this still vital archaic paradigm and to witness its "presence" firsthand and in conflict with modem civilization. Such is the major theme of his bestknown novel, The Man "'llo Killed the Deer. The Man Who Killed the Deer In The Man Who Killed the Deer, Waters has created a story of the poignant, lingering tensions that exist between the culture of the Taos Puebloan Indians and that of their various imperial neighbors in the Southwest of the 1930s. The same rhythmic, somnambulant mysticism evident in The Book of the Hopi comes to life in this tale of a young Indian, Martiniano, who must face the contradictions of his unique historical position as an "away school" Indian who returns to "the blanket" after an inner quest for faith leads him back to his tribal roots. The guiding literary principle of the work is the reunion of the natural and the supernatural, the mundane and the mythic, and the literal and the metaphorical in the psyche of Martiniano, restoring him to an identity that is in harmony with his personal and cultural history. 132

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Briefly, the story of The Man "-'ho Killed the Deer is that of the Indian Martiniano who, because he has lost the tribal way, kills a deer without asking for its permission, a violation of the ethical code of his people. Having been caught in the act of poaching as well, he is beaten by forest rangers and lies injured, near death, until his silent cries are "heard" by his friend Palemon, asleep in his casita. Palemon rescues him, and the story of Martiniano's partial reintegration into tribal ways plays out in a fascinating concatenation of events and visions through which Waters evokes the archetypal connections between Martiniano and his innate Indianness, an Indianness that he has partially forfeited in his experience at the BIA away school. There are distinct historical resonances that contribute to the tension of the story, and lend authenticity to Waters' portrayal of his Indian characters. "In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed 130,000 acres of the most sacred Taos Indian land a public forest reserve." Within that reserve was Blue Lake, the site of ancient and abiding religious ceremonials and a central symbol in Taos spiritual life, and over which the painter Bert Phillips became the first forest ranger. The pueblo's sixtyyear fight to regain title to Blue Lake plays a contextual role in the novel as an example of Indian political acuity and persistence, standing in marked contrast to the BIA stereotype of "incompetent Indians" unable to maintain stewardship of their land (Trimble 1993, 77-78). Additionally, the historical formation of the Native American Church and its attendant religious use of 133

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peyote is included as a subplot, as Martiniano joins the church hoping to facilitate his retribalization. Through his use of such historical referents, Waters places readers squarely in the middle of the "Indian problem" so they may experience it directly, and thus become aware of the Indian's historical vulnerability and responsible creativity. As Quay Grigg says of Waters' Indian characters, People in his great series of books into the 1940s have a "collective" quality that replaces the self more traditional characters were made of, but they go beyond the usual stereotypes and myths. One way they go beyond stereotypes is in their timelessness, or their encompassing elements of the past as well as the present .... They might be called archetypes with deep imprint of the place and culture they derive from. (Deloria 1993, 163) Indeed, both Waters and La Farge have imbued their characters with a highly effective admixture of spiritual profundity and personal banality, of nature and supranature, so as to create personalities of deep and paradoxical interest. They seem to possess a literary strength that carries them into the ambiguous realm of archetypes. In part, this is accomplished through the sheer craft of writing "the things" instead of writing about them, to paraphrase Barthes. "It is rather Waters' language, itself the pulse," writes Blevins, "making us experience his central idea rather than think about it" (152). Waters achieves a certain syncretic victory in his manipulation of the main trope of "The Deer," which comes progressively to embody both the mythic relationship between nature and wo/man and the transitive linguistic relationship between literal events and their symbolic 134

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significance. Combining a keen sense of realistic style and natural observation with a conviction that unseen forces lie behind human events, which he imparts with laudable romantic ingenuity, Waters elucidates both sociopolitical drama and the enantiodromian, endopsychic revelations of the individual in conflict with himself and his society. The result is a multilayered, multivoiced tableau that manages to offer both an epiphany of romantic vision and the poignancy of its displacement by the "necessities" of historical materialism. But most of all, the novel is about the perennial "presence" of the Indian as an archetypal reality. If, as Barthes asserts, "revolution is defined as a cathartic act meant to reveal the political load of the world: it makes the world; and its language, all of it, is functionally absorbed in this making" ( 1972,146), then I am inclined to view The Man Who Killed the Deer as a premier example of this kind of writing. The character of Rodolfo Byers, for instance, a white trader who befriends Martiniano and seems a party to the omniscient, third-person voice in the book, is described as "a man who in his immense solitude was something of all men, and of the wilderness around him" (Waters 1942, 26). He is also the recipient of a strange dream in which an unknown man flashes a powerful word to him that he knows he must always remember "as a talisman," but the "word itself was lost" (27). Further, "it was the substance of life he loved, not form" (29). If this strange white trader Byers can be seen as an alter-ego of the writer, we can perhaps see within him an ethic of writing that promotes the word as a 135

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functioning sign that pertains to the making of the world and is then "lost" in that it disappears after its work is done. A principal concern of Barthesthat language not take on the momentum of pseudo-pbysis or metalanguage that perpetuate "bourgeois" myth and stereotype-seems also that of Waters the writer: not to contaminate the primal stage of Indian life with literary forms that, like a purloined romanticism or an ethnology, tend to freeze-dry palpable reality into a scripted myth (Barthes 1972, 142). Waters uses Byers to further debunk Noble Savage stereotypes of the Indian: He [Byers] knew their surface indolence and cunning, their dirt and filth and lice, their secretiveness, barbarity, ignorance and stubborn denial of change. And so no man could better refute the sickly sentimentalism of lady tourists, the pampering enthusiasm of museum collectors, the false idealism of escapists and the mock gravity of anthropologists, ethnologists and myth mongers toward them-all the whining, shouting voices that proclaimed the Indian as nature's pet, a darling of the gods, and the only true American. ( 31) This kind of self-effacement from an avowed "Indian lover" becomes indicative of Waters' attempts to keep his prose productive of a reality, not reproductive of it ad infinitum as mythical stereotype. He tries to invoke a writing style that comes close to that language most associated with the Indian, that of sign language, which Waters himself praises as "the expressive free-flowing gestures of dark, poetic hands that will always remain, unforgotten, the most expressive medium of their wordless souls" (153). Because Indian culture is based on an oral and gestural tradition, not a written one, this attention to prelinguistic expression reminds the reader 136

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that linguistically constructed stereotypes do not ascend into humanness, and that only archetypes can render human complexity. Further, as Barthes also recommends in his pronouncements on ecriture, a curious "tangible analogue of silence" seems to linger behind Waters' style; the words seem at times to coalesce into a moment of that silent experience of the archaic or presemiological mind or, as Barthes puts it, they form, like poetry, a "semiological system which has the pretension of contracting into an essential system" (1972,135). Several of Waters' descriptions of the environment inside the ceremonial kiva move toward this kind of "contraction"The kiva, each kiva, was now itself a vibrating drum. A single star visible through the aperture at the top quivered as if painted on the vibrous, skin-tight membrane of the sky stretched overhead. In the middle of the round floor, like a dot within a circle, was another symbol-a little round hole, the opening to the center of the world, the place of emergence. The circular walls quivered. (188) There is a hypnotic, psychotropic effect from this passage, the result of its careful imagery. A "vibrating drum," "a single star," the metamorphosis of the drum into the "membrane of the sky," "a dot within a circle," all combine to lead the reader's mind into a focal trance that seems full of the silence of "wordless souls." One is reminded of the similarly haunting lines of Emily Dickinson's poem #216: Grand go the Years-in the Crescent-above themWorlds scoop their Arcs-And Finnarnents-rowDiadems-drop-andDoges-surrenderSoundless as dots-on a Disc ofSnow-(Johnson 1960, 100) 137

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Both passages produce no sound, no color, and no smell, and are notable for their common invocation of silent intrigue. Or, Waters' interest in this silence is articulated throughout the novel-And when the guttural Indian voice finally stops there is silence. A silence so heavy and profound that it squashes the kernel of truth out of his words, and leaves the meaningless husks mercilessly exposed .... And the silence grows round the walls, handed from one to another, until all the silence is one silence, and that silence has the meaning of all. ( 1942, 14) ... so exquisite was the feeling that possessed [Martiniano]. The yellow moon low over the desert, the stars twinkling above the tips of the high ridge pines, the fireflies, the far-off throb of a drum, the silence, the tragic, soundless rushing of the great world through time-it caught at his breath, his heart. ( 135) The effect of this silence is to draw the reader into the real stage of the story and its "essential system," that being the Hopi world-view in all its mystery, and the premise that "life is like the surface of a deep blue lake into which a stone is cast" ( 161). It also represents an effort on the part of the author to control his significations and to keep his metaphors close to their natural cause in the interest of his theme, that of uniting Martiniano with his own primal silence. Martiniano, filled with the discursive ego-reality that has been injected into him at "away school," and experienced by him as "jangling human vibrations," is at first the "Americanized Indian." Through his successive experiences with the vibratory world of Indian awareness, this colonized mindset, troubled by linguistic and psychological interventions 138

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that betray his Indianness, slowly give way to the silence of the kiva. The language of silence serves the theme, as Grigg explains, in that, losing his own voice, Martiniano has achieved the stillness and the silence to become part of the collective voice of the pueblo stream of consciousness. He "moves together"-with the pueblo, with the life force, and with the pans of himself he had suppressed. The novel itself has flowed altogether: the image of the stone thrown into the lake, producing in its successive circles a diagram of sound waves, has merged with the motif of the [kiva] of silence. (Adams 1986, 39) "Inside that framework," maintains Grigg, "Waters has moved through and beyond the stereotypes of the taciturn Indian and the picturesque native ceremonials" (34). As Baud.rillard says regarding the "successive phases of the image": in the first phase, closest to a "basic reality," "the representation is on the order of sacrament" (1983, 11-12). Father Peter J. Powell concurs, saying that Waters' work "display[s], with singular power, a uniquely consistent witness to the presence of the Holy in both the Native Peoples and the land of America" (Deloria 1993, 182). Does Waters verge on mystification or does he wisely restrain himself from, in Paul de Man's words, "the error of identifying what cannot be identified" (Kaplan 1986, 615)? Does the effect of silence merely conceal an effort by the author to guarantee a pneumatic presence, the old Gods of the Hopi, that in turn guarantees the meaning of his story? Obviously, the religious and mystical bent of the author becomes something of a semiological point from which we could embark on a deconstructive assessment of his work. We may be skeptical of such of Waters' assumptions as: "The instinctive, intuitive, non-reasoning approach to life; the 139

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magnificent surrender of self to those unseen forces whose instruments we are, and the fulfillment of whose purposes gives us our only meaning" ( 1942,106), or "Who doubts the great magnetic currents of the earth, or the psychic radiations of man?" (190). But skepticism is not criticism, nor should whole periods and genres of literature be dismissed because they contain "religious" belief of one sort or another. Given texts of this kind, the deconstructionist critic is left merely to demonstrate his Nietzschean sophistication and his "courage'' in demystification. It seems more productive to approach the work of Frank Waters with a tentative acceptance of his assumptions, and to proceed to see how they work through the fictive life of his work as a human and literary force. Waters himself realizes this tension between the rational and the non-rational in the person of his hero Martiniano, whose crisis of faith is parallel to that crisis between the hermeneutics of restoration and the hermeneutics of suspicion, and if it is Waters' choice to have his hero at least partially restored to the traditional identity of his tribe then that seems his authorial right. Indeed, it is not a wholly unequivocal choice: Martiniano still retains his autonomy and his uncertainty, knowing in the end that "there was no road, predetermined and secure, that he could lay for his son. There was only the faith that his life was the courage of man to make his own step in darkness, his single glimmer, and pass on unafraid" (207). Thus it seems, at least here, that nothing is being "protected" or 140

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essentialized in the text, and that its power rests on an affirmation of human difference, archetypal ambiguity, and silence. In The Man lVho Killed the Deer, Waters demonstrates by his concern for historical reality, his willingness to create Indian characters who appear as human beings, and his uniquely evocative writing style, that he is aware of the accrued stereotypes of the Indian and their degrading effects upon real Indians through time. In their place, he has inserted recognizably human Indian subjects, faced with the accumulating problems of assimilation, conversion, the reservation bureaucracy, tribal and personal identity, land grabbing, alcoholism, and poverty, among others, while still retaining a succinct "lndianness," however inchoate that term might be. One comes away from the novel with a feeling of reverence for all life, of which the Indian emerges as the predominant witness. "Is Indian humanness recognized?" asks Stedman, citing his own criteria for recognizing stereotypes; Perhaps this is the only question that need by asked when looking at the Indian of popular culture, for when people are seen as people, conscious or unconscious slights tend to disappear. The anonymous "they" are far more vulnerable to suspicion or prejudicial treatment than are groups recognized as being composed of individuals-even if those individuals are characters of fiction. ( 1982, 251) Regarding these works by Waters, La Farge, and even Jackson, the issue of humanness as a basic ingredient of fictive Indian identity seems readily at hand. 141

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Pumpkin Seed Point While Frank Waters generally eschews the more objective approaches to Indian life of anthropology and ethnology, preferring instead to experience their cultures subjectively and personally, these experiences nonetheless usually culminate in his writing as philosophical pronouncements no less didactic than scientific theory. Waters has spent most of his last fifty years living in daily contact with either the Indians of the Taos Pueblo or those of other Puebloan tribes in New Mexico and Arizona, and he has cultivated a casual and purposeful intimacy with them that belies the stereotypical notions of government researchers, statisticians, and BIA policy makers. Somewhat in the ethnological spirit of Franz Boas' "cultural relativism" that stressed "cultural holism and pluralism," Waters has tried to understand Indian cultures on their own terms as unified and significant social systems consisting of individuals as they exist in present contexts (Berkhofer 1978, 62-66). He has recognized that different tribes have different socializing precepts from other tribes, and that individual Indians within each tribe are different from other Indians within the same tribe. For Waters, Indians are not "all alike," though they often share common cultural and personality traits, linguistic heritages, and cosmological beliefs. He is just as likely to render an individual Indian as a unique, idiosyncratic personality as he is to draw from his cumulative experience among many Indians a universal, 142

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paradigmatic overview of their commonality. "In the process," believes Vine Deloria, Jr., "we are very gently nudged in the direction of Frank's own personal question that seeks to know the nature, content, and structure of reality-what is it that is real?" (1993, 167). That Waters seeks to know "reality" through his experiences with Indian lifeways and individuals is suffidently evident in Pumpkin Seed Point a recollection of his three years spent among the Hopi of New Oraibi, Arizona, while collecting the information published in The Book of the Hopi. It is also reflective of his honest intent to find the reality behind Indianness, to break down white-written stereotypes and to exalt humanness in his conception of Indian identity. This humanness, or course, cannot emerge in literature without the abandonment of both the major stereotypes of Noble and Ignoble Savage and their attendant subtypes. Waters' experiences at Pumpkin Seed Point certainly belie both the nostalgia of primitivism and the epiphanic hope of millenarianism. The actual physical conditions of his stay at New Oraibi hardly romanticize primitivism. He is housed in a small, old stone house plastered over with adobe, a typical Hopi structure lacking central heating, plumbing, and electricity, and even lacking a fireplace to keep off the chilling cold. "The Hopis couldn't afford fireplaces, and they conserved every splinter of wood to bum in their cooking stoves" (Waters 1969, 2). Neither is the rest of New Oraibi an idyllic setting: ''Tawdry villages they were, their crooked streets and cramped plazas littered with refuse and 143

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ordure" (4). Because the Hopi are one of the few Indian tribes who were not driven off their ancestral land, and have indeed inhabited the same locale fairly undisturbed by white and Spanish influences since the fourteenth century, it is assumed, and historically verified, that they live today in much the same fashion as they did then. For the Hopi, there is no romantic past to connect them with a yesteryear utopia. "Of all the Indian tribes in North America, the Hopis probably live closest to their traditional way," a way made obdurate and desolate by its physical realities, locale, and economics (Waldman 1988, 98). Witnessing such bleak environs, a typical white writer might, like Mark Twain, infer and project that its inhabitants too are primitive, unwashed, ignorant, and dispossessed of any cultural significance. Waters finds quite the opposite among the Hopis he works with and meets during his tenure there. His associate and interpreter is Oswald White Bear Fredericks, with whom he shares all his meals and leisure time as well as work on the project. Fredericks' white wife, Brown Bear (her adopted Hopi name), is also a co-worker and friend. Although Fredericks had converted to Christianity, he also stands in line to become a Hopi religious leader as a member of the Bear Clan. Typical of the away-school Indian, Fredericks was sent as a boy to Indian School in Phoenix and two other Indian schools before returning with his white wife to Hopiland. Waters is very keen to recount what he knows of Fredericks' history and his personality, in a way that can only be 144

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called affectionate despite the differences between them. Neither condescending nor overly critical, Waters accepts "the two Bears" as his "closest friends in New Oraibi" ( 14), and they emerge for the reader as fully rounded personalities. White Bear is recalcitrant yet enthusiastic, obdurate yet humble and devout, both a prophet of his people and a powerless political force. Brown Bear is irascible, a wannabe Indian who has a hard time adjusting to reservation life, yet a tireless hostess, cook, and typist. In short, they are both quirky, idiosyncratic individuals full of paradoxical human charm. Whether Waters is describing Old Dan the medicine man or Otto Pentiwa, the town trickster and storyteller, the characters are drawn complete with history, personality, and affection. They are not just human characters, but also actors in the "living faith" of Hopi ceremonialism: "The flower grown from Hopi poverty and dirt was the kachina, an art form unequaled anywhere else in the world; a flower of faith such as we have not been able to grown out of our antiseptic culture pot" (5). Kachinas, expressive of the multitudinous divinities who inform Hopi culture, appear as masked dancers and actors during the great ceremonials, impersonated by "each man in his tum" according to his clan affiliations. They are the essence of Hopi myth and religion, and exist as both esoteric "star people" who come to the pueblos from deep interstellar space and as exoteric masked men who, after a day in the fields or herding sheep, become ritually transformed into the archetypal gods and goddesses of Hopi mythology. Such is the fecund paradox of Puebloan culture and the 145

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essence of its humanity, "that out of a garbage heap, a pile of manure, often grows the most beautiful flower" ( 5). While such panegyrics might suggest a mythifying romanticism, Waters' ambivalence toward the Hopi way, like La Farge's toward the Navajo way, steer the naive reader away from the cloying notion of the mystical warrior or Noble Savage. His unabashed reverence for the sacramental nature of Hopi life merely emphasizes his acceptance of the complex archetypal nature of "real" Indianness and the resulting cultural sophistication that such symbolic relationships with the world infer. For stereotypes to dissolve, the "basic reality" suggested by Baudrillard as containing the sacramental must be recovered as an archetypal image, and Waters achieves this end, both here and in The Book of the Hopi, Masked Gals, and Mexico Mystique. The stereotype of the Indian as devoid of any cultural significance, as a heathenish primitive who understands "spirits" only as whiskey, as Twain remarked, gives way under the careful scrutiny of Waters to a living cosmology whose archetypal figures come to dance nine times every year at Puebloan ceremonials. It seems crucial that white Christians, who have inherited the imbedded stereotypes of the Indian imagined by their forefathers, be enjoined to understand that the Indian possesses a spiritual capacity as profound as any alleged within the Christian mythos. Surely we cannot say without prejudice that the supernaturalism inherent in the risen Christ or his communion of transubstantiation is more or less mystical, or more or 146

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less acceptable to reason, than the Hopi belief that the kacbinas "are intermediaries between the Creator and humankind." They, like Christ, explains Lamson Lowatemama, a Hopi educator and poet, "deliver the blessings of life-health and happiness and hope" (Trimble 1993, 45). For Waters to bring Hopi cosmology and myth into the mind of the "master race" is to expose the common spirituality among human beings that enables and provokes them to engender myths of whatever form. But that any particular mythical form be declared the "single principle" under which all humanity must labor is to comply with colonial tyranny and to ignore the immense diversity of spiritual expression that pervades the world. As Mircea Eliade notes, "only the forms taken by the process in man's religious consciousness differ" (Eliade 1964, 78); their significance to the humanness of any race or culture does not. "I discovered," remembers Waters, "that every Hopi in some measure, like myself, was two persons: an outer man consciously confronted with the problems of existence in a swiftly changing, material world; and an inner man attuned to the greater realm of the unconscious, the matrix of all creation": .. .I lay in bed after work each night scribbling notes .... and anecdotes about the Hopis who projected their fears and prejudices on the whites who for so long have projected their own fears and prejudices on all Indians. Two invisible projections clashing in the air. (1969, 13) Waters, like Frantz Fanon, realizes the spectral nature of projection as it artificially engenders racial ideologies abetted by the imperatives of myth. 147

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Does Waters wish us to abandon Christianity in preference for Hopi mythology? Does he indeed believe that any myth, no matter how sublime, beautiful, or consistent with natural law, should become predominant as a millenarian prophecy or a paradigmatic dogma? His feelings about the compulsive secrecy and exclusivity of Hopi religious leaders seem to indicate that he does not. Although he respects the sanctity of Hopi religion as "spiritual property ... not to be given away lightly," he also voices a tactical resistance to it on the grounds that it, like Christianity, functions mainly to promote "fears and prejudices" between races and the perpetuation of stereotypes: Beneath their kind and placid demeanors ... I began to detect in all their talks an embittered condemnation of the white world's dominating injustices, alternating with unqualified assertions that Hopi ritualism contained the exclusive secret of universal life .... It is so easy for us, as well as the Hopis, to blame all our misfortunes and defects on others; to nurse in secret the superior sanction which makes us different from the rest of mankind. Yet it is exactly this which fatally exiles an individual, or a nation, from others, depriving him of the healing communion with the whole society of man. It is the sign of a messianic compulsion of an individual, or a race, possessed by the mythology of an inherent superiority. ( 20) Certainly Waters' exposure here of the crucial association between scapegoating, projection, messianic compulsion, race, and mythology reveal a larger interest in demythologizing human consciousness. Because, recalling Barthes, myth relies on the distillation of diversity into "essential types," myth itself cannot but perpetuate these types as surrogate realities without history or individual character. Waters' 148

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ambivalence toward Hopi myth, and indeed all myth, thus allows him to both eulogize it as a humanizing force that delineates "real" Indians as sacramental and culturally autonomous, and simultaneously to detect in it "the obverse and negative side of the great structure of Hopi ceremonialism" (120). Barthes, reflecting on the tendency of myth to present the world as a "harmonious display of essences," notes that "a conjuring trick has taken place" ( 1972, 142); "The essence of witchery," echoes Waters, "is the projection of the repressed dark forces of the unconscious by one individual or people upon another" ( 1969, 122). In his chapter on "The Evil Eye," Waters elaborates on this point with great success. Like other scholars who note the obvious corollaries between Euramerican racial ideology and that of the German Nazis, Waters provides a telling analogy based on the ideas of witch hunting and projection. Arguing that Nazism represents a resurgence of longsuppressed "demonic forces under Thor and Wotan rushing toward another Gotterdammerung," Waters suggests that Hitler, possessed by the "dark luciferean shadow" of his Teutonic heritage, gained credence through the power of witchcraft conceived as projection: All four of the Nazi leaders dressed in Teutonic armor when they met in secret sessions. These meetings were actually Sab bats of witches, for Hitler, Hess, Goebbels, and Haushofer were quite aware of the technique of psychological projection. And all Germany welcomed the domination of its warlock leaders. (124) Similarly, as Berkhofer has suggested as well, our Puritan forefathers, convinced that they were involved in an ancient battle between God and 149

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Satan, projected their own dark side on the Indian and other "miscreants" like the "witches" who were burned in Salem in 1692. As I have noted earlier, and reiterate now, the Jungian concept of projection is at the root of several modem interpretations of the psychological and semiological dynamics of myth-making and racial ideology, from Jung himself to Frantz Fanon, Barthes, Baudrillard, Berkhofer, and now Waters. "Our own almost complete extermination of the red race under the national witch-hunt slogan, 'The only good Indian is a dead Indian,' has left us a hangover worse than our original drunkenness, a psychotic prejudice against all races of darker skin" (Waters 1969, 125). From the legacy of the BIA to our present Indian policy, the disfiguring stereotypes of the Indian have been the imagistic constellation of these projections, further distorted by the uncertainty of their real origins. The Ignoble Savage is but the alibi for colonial expansion, conversion, and extennination. The Noble Savage is but the alibi for assimilation, appropriation, and spiritual poverty. 150

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CHAPTERS FROM STEREOTYPE TO ARCHETYPE: The Path of the Spirit in Modern Indian Art Forces in corporate and political America insist that all Americans in the 1990s share identical goals, desires, and dreams-that they aspire to be rich, white, blonde-and frenetic consumers. Americans in general do not mold to these insults; American Indians do not, either. Both, as Americans are prone to do, constantly reinvent themselves. -Stephen Trimble, The People Heretofore we have been concerned with the construction and proliferation of Indian stereotypes and archetypes created largely by white writers and artists, from the policy makers and bureaucrats of the BIA to the hailed film makers of Hollywood and the more sensitized and sympathetic works of "friends of the Indian" like La Farge, Ufer, and Waters. The images of the Indian created by these Euramericans and Anglos have, until recently, been those that have influenced the public perception of Indians, both among Indians and non-Indians. With few exceptions, the identity of the Indian has been written into the public consciousness by non-Indians, a situation fostered by the imperatives of colonialism both to define and isolate the alien Other and then to appropriate the identity of the colonized. Generally, Indians have not been permitted to speak for themselves or, if they have, their voices have been largely overlooked. "Psychically, [this] process tends to be self-151

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validating," Mites Churchill, "justified at a certain level by a desire to ease the degree of tension and discord between colonizer and colonized" ( 1992, 143). However, conspicuous by their discursive absence in this process, Indians themselves have suffered an immense identity crisis that, besides being disabling and disenfranchising, contributes to their deracination and ultimately their cultural and/or physical genocide. To paraphrase Fanon, "at its extreme, the myth of the [Indian], the idea of the [Indian], can become the decisive factor in an authentic alienation" (1967, 204). With this in mind, it seems appropriate to tum our fmal attention to emerging Indian voices attempting to articulate their own identities, both personal and cultural. Certainly, as art critic and historian Lucy Lippard conveys, "It is easier to think of all Americans moving toward whiteness and the ultimate shelter of the Judea-Christian umbrella than to acknowledge the true diversity of this society" (1990, 20). But to do so is to accept only one side of the story behind the identity of the Indian, one couched in "fantasies of the master race." When we realize that most "modern" white-and Indian-created art addressing Indian themes is still cast in the same mold as that conceived by traditional Western artists like Frederick Remington, Charles Russell, Thomas Moran, and the Taos artists, the necessity of looking at modem Indian-created art becomes even more pressing. Both painting and sculpture seem frozen in the aesthetic traditions of the 1880s and 1930s. As Rennard Strickland Mites, in his essay of an imagined dialogue between 152

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modem Indian artists, gallery owners, and scholastic types, "More damned Indians have frozen to death in painted trails of tears than the white man ever killed" (1986, 294). An aura of nostalgia pervades modem Western art, a nostalgia that is eminently commodified and self-consdous. The 1985 edition of Contemponuy Western Artists attests to this pemidous reality with particular charm. Designed to be a collector's handbook, this compilation of over one hundred contemporary artists-mostly Euramericans, some Hispanics and Indians-contains a myriad of works whose influences in style, theme, and significance are easily traceable to much earlier times: the romanticized past of the Old West. The artists included attest readily and unabashedly to these influences, as a few examples will divulge. William Acheff, a trompe l'reil painter of Indian artifacts, confesses that "I moved to Taos out of curiosity of the Southwestern art movement" (Samuels 1985, 12). Mike Desatnick, who paints Southwestern Indians in an impressionist style, fmds "their beauty, character, and simplidty of life which harmonizes with nature to be very special in these sophisticated times" ( 148). Arlene Hooker Fay began by decorating her home "in 'early Indian' and dedded to do a few Indian portraits to hang at home" ( 178). Burr Fairlamb, represented by an acrylic painting of a Indian winter encampment, explains: "I am addicted to giving my subjects nostalgic treatment, regardless of what they are. Certain tribes of American Indians had qualities that I find attractive in their everyday lives at the tum of the 153

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century, rather than today" (176, emphasis added). Image upon image of Indians posed in traditional dress, buffalo roaming the depopulated prairie, Puebloan villages in a variety of stylistic interpretations, Indian artifacts arranged in still-lifes and more abstract motifs, buffalo hunts, picturesque ceremonial dances and tipi villages, and expansive desert vistas capturing the "magical New Mexico light" accumulate like so much residual memory that one is almost overcome with a repulsive sense of commercial affluence and manipulation posing as historical authenticity. And make no mistake about it, these artists sell like hot piki bread at a cold pow wow. As the compilers of this catalogue acknowledge, "This book establishes the cast of characters for investment in contemporary Western art by providing a list of artists who can be assumed to be investment grade" (5, emphasis added). "When the real is no longer what it used to be," writes Baud.rillard, "nostalgia assumes its full meaning": There is a proliferation of myths of origin and signs of reality; of second-hand truth, objectivity and authenticity. There is ... a resurrection of the figurative where the object and substance have disappeared. And there is a panic-stricken production of the real and the referential, above and parallel to the panic of material production: this is how simulation appears in the phase that concerns us-a strategy of the real, the neo-real and the hyperreal whose universal double is a strategy of deterrence. (1983, 12-13) What is being deterred, it seems, in these persistent reproductions of a nostalgic, market-driven aesthetic of the Indian is the archetypal power of Indians in the present. Intimately, our search for a "real" Indian identity must be deferred to the articulations of real Indians who, bearing witness 154

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to their own psychic experience, give rise to their own archetypes as extracted from the pervasive trivialization and stereotypification of them over time. Even within Indian artistic discourse, however, identity and identification are as allusive, elusive, and controversial as they are in white discourse, and any definitive characterization of Indianness must remain as impossible as that of humanness in general. More importantly, we must look to individual Indian artists who express some degree of individual integrity that transcends the repetitive, the banal, and the mere reproduction of commodious Indian iconographies. A Brief History of the "Indian Artist" From the moment that the Indian subjects of the Taos Society artists "suddenly saw themselves as valuable parts of a profitable enterprise," and white entrepreneurs discovered the increasing marketability of "authentic" Indian products, a new partnership between them began to emerge. Indians themselves, who thus far had been relegated to reproducing artifacts for the "Harvey House" tourist trade in their traditional forms as pottery, weaving, basketry, and jewelry (among others), began to be encouraged into more European artistic media. The BIA administration of John Collier, instrumental in the Indian New Deal, also formed the Indian Arts and Crafts Board in 1935, designed to "enlarge the market for Indian arts and crafts, improve methods of production, and adopt a government trademark to protect goods made by Indians from 155

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imitation" (Kvasnicka and Viola 1979, 276). Dorothy Dunn founded an Indian arts school in Santa Fe in 1932, where Indians were encouraged to paint scenes from their own tradition in the manner of the Taos painters, and easel painting, along with the use of other non-traditional materials, such as colored pencil, ledger book paper, watercolors, and illustration board among the Plains Indians (since the 1870s), began to emerge into the market as Indian "fine art," as opposed to craft. For the stamp of authenticity implied by the Arts and Crafts Board to apply, however, certain images and styles "dictated by non-Indians, who dominate the art market, the field of criticism, and the administration of galleries and museums," had to be upheld (Highwater 1986, 223). The government imprimatur, while attempting to ensure that Indians got credit for their own work, also limited the context and content of that work to specific criteria that, like those "modem" Western artists mentioned above, amounted to the continued reproduction of stereotypical Noble and Ignoble Savage themes for the collective non-Indian market. "In the Southwest (as evidenced in the pages of Southwest Art magazine [who also abetted the publication by Samuels, above])," argues Gerhard Hoffman, "the lore of the Indian, the glamour of the cowboy, and the grandeur of the land are the paraphernalia of a regional art that has little to do with genuine Indian art" (Hoffman 1986, 263). As a result of these restrictions, several Indian artists, wishing instead to find their own expressive identities apart from the prescribed 156

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"Bambi" painting of the Santa Fe School, sought exposure to the wider field of international art forms. "One of the key issues of the controversy in Indian art today," observes Jamake High water, "is the undeniable fact that Indian artists are becoming progressively individualistic, rather than tribal, in their thinking and in their creative achievements" (224). Such individualism among Indian artists, just as that portrayed in the literature of La Farge and Waters, would inevitably lead to a new dynamism in Indiancreated art that seeks to deconstruct stereotypes and reassert the archetypes inherent in the Indian experience: the "expressive imperative" enunciated by High water. In part, this deconstruction has been accomplished by Indian artists who began to use non-traditional forms to portray Indian themes. Abandoning the conventions taught him by Dunn, Oscar Howe (Dakota Sioux) "returned from ... duty in Europe during World War IT with [the] radically new an ideal" of Cubism, which he proceeded to apply to Indian subjects in a way that conjoined the new ideal with the long-standing tradition of Plains hide paintings and the ledger-book drawings of Indian prisoners at Fort Marion, Florida, during the 18 70s. As Howe explained to Highwater, "European modernism is intrinsic to the ancient Dakota Indian an style: 'The drawing-painting of the semi-abstract art is a two dimensional rendering of object-idea"' (224). Similarly, Howe's pupil Fritz Scholder (Luiseiio) adopted an expressionistic, Pop an style to convey Indianness in a new and ironic way. His Laughing Indian (1973), for 157

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Top: Indian After Bodmer by Fritz Scholder, 1975. Bottom: Moennitarri Warrior by Carl Bodmer, ca. 1834. 158

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Top: Standing Indian by Fritz Scholder, 1974. Bot tom: Sioux by Car 1 Bodmer, ca. 18 3 4

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example, makes fun of the stereotypical "idea of primitive stoicism" through his highly deromanticized, grotesque Indian figure (239). Working against the grain of the romanticized, ethnologically frozen Indians of Karl Bodmer, who painted them in the 1830s, Scholder boldly caricatures Bodmer's Indians, creating humorous comment on the Noble Savage image (see preceding illustrations). Patrick Desjarlait (Ojibwa/Chippewa) was highly influenced by the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera in his depictions of Indians as heroic workers. Woodrow Crumbo's (Creek/Potawatomi) Land of Enchantment ( 1946, see page 87) incorporates the illustrative style of East Coast journalists to comment wryly on the Southwest tourist trade. Others were influenced by Art Nouveau and Matisse's decorative style (T. C. Cannon, Kevin Red Star), abstraction (Millard Dawa Loma.kema, jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Robert Davidson), and Abstract Expressionism (George Longfish, Dan Namingha) (Hoffman 1986, 268-73). By using European and American avant-garde techniques and styles in new ways, these Indian artists, whose subjects and motifs are still (usually) identifiably Indian, succeed in deflating the stereotypical romantic conventions of the Indian and Taos Society studio painters. Traditional iconography gives way to new genres while still informing us of its Indian origins. Conversely, other Indian artists have appropriated traditional forms such as pottery, weaving, hide paintings, jewelry, and pictography only to inject them with new revelations of context and meaning. Randy Lee 160

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White (Sioux) has recast traditional Ghost Dance shirts in handmade paper, illustrating them with typical flat-figured representations of quasi historical events reflecting the "winter count" hide drawings of early Plains Indian culture. His Custer's Last Stand Revisited ( 1980) portrays in "winter count" style a modern event-the selling of junk cars to the Rosebud Sioux. While Robert Davidson, mentioned above as an abstractionist, has further abstracted the traditional "forrnline" styles of his native Haida culture, he also uses the traditional media of woodcarving, jewelry, totem poles, and masks to produce an eclectic blend of old forms and modernist feeling (Thorn 1993). In a different vein, Jesse Cooday (Tlingit) overlays by double exposure photographic images from traditional masks over living faces, "often his own" as well as that of John Wayne (Iippard 1990, 26). Effie Garcia (Santa Clara) "has adapted the 1930s Santa Clara preference for deeply carved ceramic designs by introducing Art Deco-influenced geometries in place of the earlier curvilinear and animal motifs" (Strickland 1986, 386). The medium, however, is easily identifiable as traditional, black-slipped Santa Clara pottery. Many other examples exist of both of these overlapping trends in modern Indian art, three of which I will discuss in depth presently. In short, the history of modern Indian art is one of exceeding complexity and diversity. Its concerns are both personal and cultural, historical and transhistorical, and as such modern Indian artists seek "to reinvent themselves" in a syncretic and volatile world where neither the 161

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medium nor the message is predictable. "The study of [Indian] arts is, par excellence, the study of changing arts," writes Hoffman-"of emerging ethnicities, modifying identities, and commercial and colonial stimuli and repressive actions" ( 1986, 25 7). By virtue of their very Otherness, Indian artists, having been both inoculated with some whiteness and given a new freedom in which to discover an antidote to that inoculation, live on the decisive edge of their annihilation, knowing that, as stereotypes, they are forever condemned to a receding past. This alienation, like that of some modernist European painters and sculptors, allies Indian artists to some extent with the same existential angst that placed the European artists "at the center of the growing tensions between subject and object, individual and society, and between rational consciousness and the elemental impulses of the unconscious [from whence emerge the archetypes]." Thus we should not be surprised to find Indian artists appropriating modernist styles and non-traditional media, for their "alienation ... from the world, from sodety, and from reason results in a new spiritual quest" (267). While their own artistic traditions have been wantonly appropriated by nonIndians for commercial and artistic use, and their cultural symbolic heritage squandered through overproduction into triviality and cliche, modem Indian artists are forced to seek their identities in the idiosyncratic image banks of the personal unconscious. 162

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Three Indian Artists Close-Up In Jamake Highwater's essay "Controversy in Native American Art" one senses, as in Waters, an explicit undertone of the philosophical concepts of C. G. Jung, a resonance that helps Highwater to achieve a sense of universality in his discussion, and a helpful philosophical kinship with the present discussion. The concepts of Jung regarding the similarities and differences between what he calls the "personal unconscious" and the "collective unconscious," and the significance of their symbolic contents, play well in the controversy over what constitutes "Indian art" and what constitutes "art" in general. Jung's categories serve to highlight the tension between what might be meaningful as art only to traditional Indians and "Indian-loving" whites (that is, conservative sentimentalists and patrons), and what might be considered as more universal art that happens to be created by Indians. The latter might be said to correspondent more closely to the "collective unconscious," while the former might align more with the "personal unconscious," at least with regard to how we are to assess their significance as art. Since Highwater is echoing Jung's concern with "the process of individuation" that he perceives as being at the crux of the controversy (1986, 228), we might do well to briefly consider how Jung has perceived this process, especially as it pertains to symbolic content and the emergence of that content into the individual psyche of the artist 163

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"Can the Indian image evolve from stereotype to archetype?" is the central concern not only of Highwater but also of Gerhard Hoffman (263), and the word "archetype" again returns us to a Jungian perspective. Perhaps we might say it more exactly by asking, "Can the individual Indian artist retrieve the original archetypes from the mass of stereotypes that have taken over his/her consdousness, and project those archetypes in an individuated way upon the modern artistic consciousness at large?" like artistic individuation in the sense Highwater seems to suggest, jungian individuation is also "an experience in images and of images'' (Jung 1969, 38), with the most universally symbolic of those images being the archetypes, which pertain not to any particular race or ethnicity, as do racial stereotypes, but to a common human experience of the "collective unconscious." We might say, then, that the conservative, traditional approach to Indian art is principally concerned with maintaining the homogeneous identity of the personal unconscious of the tribe, its unique symbols and images, while the emerging individuated Indian artist is more concerned with his or her relationship with the larger heterogeneous community of symbolic emotions that derive from the collective unconscious. In addition, it should be noted that the recognition of one level does not preclude a recognition of the other, and that indeed both symbolic reservoirs can and do act together in creating individuated art. But, as Lippard observes, Modernist Indian artists are often caught between cultures, attacked by their own traditionalists for not being Indian enough and 164

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attacked by the white mainstream for being "derivative," as though white artists hadn't helped themselves to things Indian for centuries and as though Indians did not live (for better or worse) in the dominant culture along with the rest of us. ( 1990, 27) The longer traditional Indian artists insist on the sanctity of their symbolic repertoire, and white patrons insist on the continued repetition of that repertoire as the only constituted "Indian art," the more that repertoire assumes a stereotypical and superficial significance for, as Highwater notes, it is being held in stasis as a determinant meaning and cannot reflect the evolution of the Indian psyche into post-contact reality. Jung says, speaking of still-potent cultural archetypes, Tribal lore is always sacred and dangerous. All esoteric teachings seek to apprehend the unseen happenings in the psyche, and all claim supreme authority for themselves. What is true of primitive lore is true in even higher degree of the ruling world religions. On the other hand, archetypal symbols tend to lose their original power by repeated conscious use over time: "the more comprehensive the image that has evolved and been handed down by tradition, the further removed it is from individual experience. We can just feel our way into it and sense something of it, but the original experience has been lost" (1969, 7). How, then, can Indian artists restore primal power to their symbolic heritage? Because we are speaking of significance and power in artistic imagery, we might conclude that, like the supernatural influences of the kachinas in Hopi culture, all archetypal images wax and wane in significance depending on the historical consciousness in which they 165

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constellate. As Waters has said of the kachinas, "they appear and disappear with the ebb and flow of time, like life itself, and they are as legion as its infinite forms" (1963, 167). Kachinas who no longer carry mythopoetic meaning to the culture are extracted from the ceremonial dance, or modified to accommodate new meanings, as are some of the hackneyed and defused traditional symbols from modem Indian art. Thus, when we analyze contemporary, non-traditional Indian artists, we must seek out the context as much as the form of the imagery being used, and decide how that imagery, whether traditional, modernist, or idiosyncratically individuated, or all in combination, form a new message in their art, and perhaps newly enunciated archetypes as well. The following three Indian artists-Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds, and Diego Romero-have formulated powerful new messages through the combined use of new and old forms, images, and signifiers. Together, their work seems to address a new concept of Indianness whose central, even archetypal, message is one of anger. But what makes their anger interesting artistically is the way in which each, though their styles are vastly different, manipulates images and forms them into new constellations of meaning. If emotional content be the stuff of spirituality, as Jung has suggested, and the archetypes be symbols of emotion at the deepest level, and, further, if anger be such a primal emotion, then I think we can see in their work the emergence into #, consciousness, the articulation, of a central archetype of the modem 166

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Indian-Anger with a capital A. If indeed this archetype is, as we know, not exclusively Indian, then its impact may be seen as a universal expression of the unconscious spirit of marginalized people everywhere, and thus as an example of the finest intentions of art: i.e., those that render motifs of the unconscious into consciousness via the process of individuation. Agents of Oppression, one of three 1993 works in pottery by Diego Romero (Cochiti), serves as a fine example of the idiosyncratic and eclectic use of form and imagery that informs some modem Indian art. It also succinctly evokes the archetype of Anger through significations that are startling, and liable to anger the unwary viewer as well by their unexpected message. One approaches Romero's pieces, on display in a traditional museum ambiance of a pedestal and Plexiglas case at the Denver Art Museum, expecting yet another example of Mogollon/Cochise pottery presented as artifact. The three shallow bowls are slightly tilted toward the viewer, the outsides finished in a traditional red slip. Even as one approaches closer, s/he sees a traditional Acoma or Zia geometrical design, glazed in black, running around the inside lip of the pots; so far, nothing out of the ordinary. But once the eyes are drawn inevitably into the hollow of the vessel, there dwell images that shatter all complacent expectations. Three black-glazed figures comprise the composition: a Franciscan priest, a Spanish conquistador, and an Indian kneeling between them holding a cross in abjection. They stand/kneel on black ground whose aggregate is interspersed with a skull and various pot shards, perhaps suggesting the 167

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archaic past, or perhaps the more recent murderous past; above them hangs a black cloud figure with rain lines, infusing the stormy present. Like the encircling design, the scene is rendered in a simple, stylized line, but the symbolic "contents" of the bowl shatter its form by an act of sheer incongruity, making the viewer shudder with his or her own conventional expectations about "Indian art." One sees not the simple beauty of stylized nature, a romantic simplicity we expect from aboriginal art, but rather evidence of a human atrocity committed in the name of God upon both the art and the heritage of Amerindian people. The spiritual simplicity of the form is broken by an archetypal image of oppression, and the consciousness of the viewer is propelled into new realizations about the fate of Mogollon potters, of Mogollon cosmology, and of Indian history as impacted by the moment of contact. From that fracture between a stereotypical form and archetypal image rises a powerful message of anger. Two other pieces by Romero accomplish similar feats of grotesque juxtaposition. Coyote and the Disciples of Vine Deloria, ]r. and The Drinker both play on other aspects of enculturation and oppression. The Coyote bowl contains the image of two Indians and a coyote figure riding in a pick-up truck; the coyote is drinking from a bottle, while one Indian drives and the other sits in the bed of the truck toting a machine gun. While more serendipitous than the previous message, with the drinking trickster/coyote, the machine gun, and the pick-up truck denoting a kind 168

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of d.irectionless rage, this image also rings with a demystified, historical reality that confounds its "beautiful" form. In The Drinker, an Indian with bottle to mouth sits on the same charred ground as in the other pieces, dying on the mound of his primal history at the hands of the heady liquor of the oppressor. All three pieces seem to resonate the conflagration of cultural and historical disparity, the breaking of a lineage of significance by new signifiers of oppression and disjuncture. Incidentally, perhaps, in all three pieces the initial, traditional designs around the lips of the pots, usually designed to run unbroken (like a "spirit line") in a continuum, are not conjoined where their pattern should meet, as if the oppressor had entered the context of the bowls through an error in "design." Romero, using traditional media combined with a modem message, thus opens up a new and powerful dialectic between the two that sends an archetypal message of angry resistance. In the "word drawings" of Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne/ Arapaho), the relationship between form and image is practically reversed; that is, the archetypal message of anger emerges when traditional, linguistic images from the personal unconscious of the artist take the modem form of "word drawings," a form traceable in European art to Dadaism and Surrealism. Heap of Birds' piece He No Wab Mann Stun He Dun (What Makes a Man a Man?) ( 1988) consists of sixteen panels, each containing three or four words in English rendered in frenetically drawn letters of 169

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different colors. The whole is made up by hanging the panels next to each other, four across and four up and down. The effect of this work seems akin to that of the "cut-up" technique used in collagist writing by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Before them, similar techniques were practiced by the early surrealist Tristan Tzara in 1920. As they practiced the technique (from the 1960's on), it went like this: Take any poet or writer you fancy, or your own journalistic scribblings. The words have lost meaning and life through years of repetition. Fill a page with excerpts. Now cut the page into four or eight equal sections and rearrange the pieces at random. You have a new poem, as many poems as you like. (Burroughs and Gysin 1978, 31, emphasis added) "Reading" Heap of Birds' piece requires a similar method: one can read the words on each panel consecutively, or read across from left to right just the top words on each panel, or read groups of words together into other groups of words vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, or at random, (among other ways), and different poems and images emerge from each reading method (or non-method). Considering each panel as a "phrase" with its own self-contained meaning, for instance, we find that there are contextual similarities between, say, panel 1 ("LOVE/ EARTH") and panels 10 ("PISS/UPON/RED/EARTH") and 14 ("NO/TIME/.JUST/SEASONS") in that they all relate to "nature" and the way Indianness relates to nature. In contrast, we also find that panels 3 ("ENTER/DARK/POOLS"), 4 ("ENTER/LOVE/FlAMES"), 5 ("KNOW/ROUND/SHADOW"), and 13 ("WISH/TO/TRUST") all hint at something metaphysical or mystical about 170

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Indian life. Obviously, there are myriad "readings" of this piece, some making more "sense" than others, and the mind of the viewer is thus engaged in making meaning and identity from the linguistic artifacts that appear before him/her. The fact that no particular reading yields a determinant meaning for the piece implies something about Indian identity, and perhaps about human identity at large; successive readings either reinforce or deconstruct each other, producing a sense of vertiginous uncertainty about identity, but never an identity. These "unembellished texts," writes Iippard about this same piece, "leave gaps that refer to and bounce off social gaps and outrages" (1990, 214). The resulting message, then, is rather like a whirling dervish of significations at whose vortex lies an emotion derived from such instability, anger: "STATE/OF/RAGE," "BOY /INTENSE," "NATIVE/IS/PAIN." Because the singular messages evoke the broken image of Indian identity, of Indian ego, and are rendered in a postmodern form that further enunciates that brokenness, the viewer witnesses a Jungian intrusion of the unconscious into the seemingly symmetrical form of the whole, inducing what Hoffman has characterized as "a loss of even that fragile subjectivity [as identity] as an integrating principle and its substitution by decentralized fields of experience, or 'situations' ( 1986, 278). As such, the piece exhibits a universalized irrationality that ties it to the postmodern. By virtue of Heap of Birds' manipulation of traditional Indian sentiments into a decontextualized 171

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melange of meanings, the work indeed begs the question "What Makes a Man a Man?" Herein, language (even the metalanguage of myth) cannot offer any determinant meaning to Indianness. The simple pictorial forms of the famed "ledger-book" art of the Fort Marion artists, with their emphases on costume and on historical reenacnnent, come into modem use in the work of jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Cree/Flathead/Shoshone). Ledger-books were given to Plains Indian prisoners in Florida in the 1870s, on which several of them recaptured the "splendid picture-writing tradition of the Plains Indians" (Furst 1982,169). However, as in Romero, this traditional form supplies the stereotype against which the archetype of anger can resonate into consciousness. At first, her work entitled Paper Dolls for a Post-Colombian World With Ensembles Created by the U.S. Government (1991) seems playfully benign and harmlessly decorative like the Fort Marion pieces by Buffalo Meat and others. At the top of the piece, rendered in crayon on paper, are the principle characters portrayed as cut-out paper dolls: Father Le De Ville (as in "devil"), the Franciscan priest, and the Indian family of Ken, Barbie, and Bruce Plenty Horses. Below these figures are various costumes and accessories that one can, in imagination, also cut out and impose over the principle Indian characters. But the playfulness of the form and its historical antecedents soon yield to disturbing images provided by the accompanying text written alongside each "ensemble" and 172

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Paoer Dolls for a Post Columbian World by Jaune Quick-to-See Smit..'f1, 1991. 173

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"accessory," and a sense of semiological seriousness overrides the child like concept. What does Smith's use of the paper doll concept actually suggest about Indian identity? For one thing, it suggests that Indians have been the historical "toys" of the U. S. Government. It further insinuates that Indians are as capable of being manipulated as are the Ken and Barbie dolls of popular culture, and that their history is one of manipulation. Semiologically, these suggestions coalesce to signify that the Amerindian identity has been one "written" by the dominating culture, who, by a mere inflexion in ideology, abetted by nefarious political action, have written the Indian into subjugation and potential extinction. This message is further communicated by the accompanying text, which explains how each successive "costume change" on the unadorned Indians led to a further deterioration of their self-image and their image in the eyes of white Christian culture. By one change, Ken Plenty Horses is transformed into a drinker of gunpowder-laden whiskey who signs away his tribal land ("Special outfit for trading land with the U.S. Government for whiskey with gunpowder in it"); by another, son Bruce is deprived of his religious heritage at the Indian school, then trained to be a common laborer in the white economy; and mother Barbie is transformed into a household servant, since she can no longer grow crops on her own land after relocation ("Maid's uniform for cleaning houses of white people after good education at jesuit school or gov't. school"). Smallpox ridden blankets sent 174

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to the reservations provide ensembles of red dots for the whole family, and a ration-box accessory contains poisoned or poisoning food. Meanwhile, Father Le De Ville perches at the top of the composition, his vestments intact, Mth dollar signs fluttering about him, while below him the Indians descend into degradation. The power of Quick-to-See Smith's work seems to lie in its conflation of traditional forms and stereotypical notions of the facile Indian with an acute, unflattering, and blackly humorous evocation of the author of such forms and notions, the white Christian hegemony. She suggests, quite rightly, that non-Indian notions of lndianness are devoid of any human or historical connotations, and that they spring from a capital-driven economy mollified by Christian dogma. That Amerindians have been dehumanized to the point of being mere toys upon which we can project our necessarily stereotypical illusions and degraded images of Otherness is a process rightly confronted by Smith. Her forms play on our own naivete about "Indian art" and Indianness, while the tragic images she evokes from them confront that naivete with the residual anger of the oppressed. As the modem Apache artist Bob Haozous has maintained, "legitimate art is generated from the individual Native American experience, not from slavish adherence to ethnically prescribed styles or subjects" (Highwater 1986, 237). While all three of the above artists have "quoted" something stereotypically "Indian" in their work-in Romero, traditional pottery form; in Heap of Birds, traditional philosophical sentiment; and in Smith, 175

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traditional pictorial style-they have also repudiated and/ or transformed these references through an invocation of their own individuated experience into archetypal symbols of Anger, an archetype that transcends ethnic limitations. Surely both Indian and non-Indian witnesses to their art can share the emotions being invoked, and acknowledge that a Foucaultian "crack" has opened between the stereotyped Indian and the individuated Indian artist into whose conventionally ordered consdousness has irrupted the archetype of Anger. That this anger must be dealt with in consciousness, through art, is the imperative of individuation as Waters, Highwater, Hoffman, and Jung perceive it: "The archetype is essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming consdous and by being perceived, and it takes its colour from the individual consciousness in which it happens to appear" (Jung 1969, 5). Thus, these Indian artists, whose heritage is steeped in shamanism and symbolism, find again in the modem world their ancient struggle with the unconscious, and seek to enlighten the human tribe in their modem capacity as artists. 176

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CHAPTER9 CONCLUSIONS My earlier series Coyote gave me a chance to confront the world, and the Stone Poems are giving me a chance to confront myself in a new world It is a world where blacks and whites are slowly, very slowly, turning into grays-grays with all the shades of uncertainty, fear, growth, and wonder. -Henry Fonseca, Maidu artist. The sentiment of the above statement by Fonseca, a widely popular and often imitated artist, seems to suggest that in the world of the modem Indian issues of identity are becoming more flexible and less and less dependent on the bipolar opposition between black and white, or between white and red. The stereotypical sameness of the "red man" as constructed by the racist ideology of white America seems to be giving way to new dimensions of Indian authenticity as more and more Indians seek to rediscover their human complexities and to redefine their identities in order to continue to live as Indians. Recognizing the perilous prospects of total assimilation into the white hegemony, modem Indians have insisted, for instance, on the teaching of their native languages in reservation schools, and are busily trying to recapitulate their traditional religions and customs in the process that Vine Deloria, Jr., calls "retribalization." At the same time, many are also seeking the power of a Euramerican education, knowing that they too must learn the socio-economic ways of the white 177

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culture that surrounds them if they are to remain economically viable. Many work off-reservation in the polyglot mainstream of capitalist society, only to live on the reservation or at least return to it frequently for spiritual rejuvenation within their own traditions. Many Indians, like many non-Indians, are just awakening to the dignity and identifying histories of their traditional cultures, having been long under the illusion that they had no meaningful heritage. They are also learning political activism, as the Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969 and the stand off at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 197 3 have demonstrated. The "Red Power" movement of the 60s and 70s took up the causes of Indian civil rights and political sovereignty, and Indian la"")'ers have proliferated numerous native land claims before state and federal judiciaries nationwide, seeking tribal autonomy from non-Indian governments and guarantees to their treatied land holdings. As Phillip J. Deloria notes, An obsessive awareness of politics came to permeate many tribes, spanning all levels from the local to the federal. Although political maneuvering often created dissension within tribes, many of its more skilled participants were also able to help their people in significant ways through social and economic programs. (1993, 433) The American Indian Movement, founded in 1968, and the Native American Rights Fund ( 1970) have grown to national prominence as defenders of Indian legal and civil rights. In a retributive backlash, the U. S. Government has increasingly cut funds to Indian sodal services budgets under the Carter, Reagan, and Bush administrations. In addition, "an increasingly conservative judiciary 178

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offered extremely narrow interpretations of Indian rights both under treaties and under the U.S. Constitution" (445). The question of Indian religious autonomy has also recently come under new restrictions, and "Native American [religious] traditions were [once again] considered too controversial" to merit full protection under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (446). As of 1994, Indians nationwide still live under the aegis of contradictory and debilitating BIA policies, much as they have since the inception of the agency. Neither fully sovereign nations nor fully entitled wards of the state, Indian societies live in a power vacuum arbitrated by the authority of the federal government. This vacuum has necessitated innovative Indian responses in terms of treating their own ills which today, as much as ever, threaten their continued survival. Despair, poverty, alcoholism ("one-third of all Indian people die before the age of forty-five from alcohol-related disease" [Trimble 1993, 447]), fetal alcohol syndrome, suicide, fractious tribal governments, AIDS, diabetes, land and resource management, tribal gaming operations, among other problems, are increasingly being addressed within Indian communities themselves without the intervention of the federal government. Each success brings tribes closer to sovereignty and closer to each other, as intertribal solutions are being worked out in increasing numbers. But the aura of incipient racism and mythological tyranny noticed by Waters among the Hopi continues to plague Indian identities. Two 179

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recent events highlight the persistence of racially motivated discrimination, even among Indians themselves. The first concerns the formulation and passage of Public Law 101-644 under the Bush administration in 1990. The law, also called the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA), like its predecessor of 1935 (the Indian Arts and Crafts Board), ostensibly seeks to protect Indian artists and craftspersons from nonIndian copyists and imitators. The law requires, however, that Indian artists must prove their affiliation with an Indian tribe, either by documenting their blood quantum ("Indian" artists must be "one quarter or more of Indian blood by birth") or by being registered as a tribal member in the national registry of sanctioned Indian tribes, begun in the 1880s. The problems with this law are threefold as regards its prescription for "scientific racism" harking back to the times of Ramona. First, since the inception of the national Indian tribal registry many Indians have refused or otherwise been declined inclusion on the official list because their tribes were not recognized as such. The progeny of these Indians today, whether or not they are full-blooded or even quarterblooded Indians, have no way of officially proving their heritage since their maternal or paternal lineages are not recorded. Second, as Churchill points out, the likelihood of any full-blooded Indians existing at all after the year 2080 is extremely unlikely ("by 1990, the proportion had shrunk to about twenty percent, and is dropping steadily" due to intermarriage between Indians and other races). "A third of all Indians are at the .180

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quarter-blood cut-off point" (1994, 93). That Indian artists must be of provable blood quantum to sell their work as "Indian art" has already had serious ramifications among collectors who purchased art before 1990; museums who, like the Denver Art Museum, while trying to collect and show important Indian art, are permitted to exhibit only those artists approved under the IACA; and Indian artists heretofore exhibiting and selling their work who are now required to have the "pure Indian" seal of approval. As posnnodern Cherokee artist Jimmie Durham has announced, half in jest, I hereby swear to the truth of the following statement: I am a fullblood contemporary artist, of the sub-group (or clan) called sculptors. I am not an American Indian, nor have I ever seen or sworn loyalty to India. I am not a Native "American," nor do I feel that "America" has any right to name me or un-name me. I have previously stated that I should be considered mixed blood: that is, I claim to be a male but in fact only one of my parents was male. (107) Third, and most disturbing, is the fact that the law came into being because of jealousy among Indian artists themselves. Churchill identifies these artists as "a rather small clique of low-talent and no-talent individuals in the Santa Fe area calling themselves the 'Native American Artists Association'" (94), who persuaded Indian Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (D-CO) and Senator (and Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs) Daniel Inouye to sponsor the bill that led to the IACA. Certainly, such divisiveness within the community of Indian artists itself speaks volumes about the extent to which racial criteria have had and 181

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continue to have a destabilizing and deracinating effect on Indian identities, and continue to confound any meaningful discussion of Indianness, a word that grows less and less definitive, as perhaps it must, as time and this discussion go on. A second recent event further enunciates serious discriminatory tendencies within the Indian political community. Ward Churchill (whom I have cited throughout and relied upon as an "Indian scholar") and Glenn Morris, who have both been active members of the Colorado contingent of the American Indian Movement, were disowned by the national AIM leadership of Vernon Bellecourt. Churchill had been co-director of the Colorado chapter since 1980, and Morris an activist lawyer for Colorado AIM. Astonishingly, they were dismissed by Bellecourt for "not being Indians" as defined by the IACA, and accused of being "wannabe Indians" trying to enhance their respective careers by "posing as Indians." Churchill has published over one hundred essays on the plight of indigenous people in the United States and Canada, and has gained credence as "one of the most outspoken of current Native American activists," as Jace Weaver announced in Publisher's Weekly. Ironically, Churchill has consistently opposed the racial bloodline criteria of the IACA only to fmd that it is now being applied against him as a political weapon to silence his own "authority." Clearly, Indian identities continue to be largely determined by racial factors related to the aligned powers of authority, authorship, and 182

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authenticity, in politics, arts, and literature. Shamed for centuries into concealing their Indian bloodlines from white society and even from their own progeny, some Indians today are faced with an obverse prospect of shame: not being Indian enough to claim the rich traditions of Indian history for oneself, to speak of oneself as an Indian, or to claim the spiritual heritage of Indian mythology. Now that many Indians have regained the power to "write" their own histories and identities, it seems indeed tragic that some should seek to do so under the same "aegis of a single principle" that has degraded them since contact. 183

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Adams, Charles L., ed. 1985. Frank Waters: A retrospective anthology. Athens: Swallow Press/ Ohio University Press. -------ed. 1986. Studies in Frank Waters-VII: An appreciation. las Vegas: The Frank Waters Society. "Artists who are Indian." 1994. Group show with textual commentary by the artists. The Denver Art Museum. Barthes, Roland. 1972. Mythologies. Translated by Annette lavers. New York: The Noonday Press. Baudrillard, Jean. 1983. Simulations. Translated by Paul Foss, Paul Patton, and Phillip Beitchman.. New York: Semiotext(e), Inc. Baym, Nina, et al., eds. 1989. The Norton anthology of American literature. 3rd ed. vol. 2. New York, London: W. W. Norton and Company. Berkhofer, Robert F., Jr. 1978. The white man's Indian: hnages of the American Indian from Columbus to the present. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Bigfeather, Joanna Osburn. 1991. Portfolio III: Ten contemporary Indian artists. San Francisco/Seattle: American Indian Contemporary Artists/Marquand Books. 184

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Broder, Patricia. 1980. Taos: A painter's dream. Boston: New York Graphics Society /little, Brown & Co. Burroughs, WilliamS., and Brion Gysin. 1978. The third mind. New York: The Viking Press. Churchill, Ward. 1992. Fantasies of the master race. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. ------1994. Indians are us? Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. Cordry, Donald. 1980. Mexican masks. Austin: University of Texas Press. Cununins, D. Duane. 1980. William Robinson Leigh: Western artist. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Deloria, Vine, Jr., ed. 1993. Frank Waters: man and mystic. Athens: Ohio University Press/Swallow Press. Deloria, Phillip j., et al. 1993. The Native Americans: An illustrated history. Atlanta: Turner Publishing, Inc. Douglas, Ann. 1981. "Introduction: The art of controversy." Uncle Tom's cabin or, life among the lowly. New York: Penguin Books. 185

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DuBois, June. 1977. W. R. Leigh: the def"mitive illustrated biography. Kansas City: The Lowell Press. Eliade, Mircea. 1964. Shamanism: archaic techniques of ecstasy. New York: The Bollingen Foundation. Fanon, Frantz. 1967. Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. Ford, John. Director. 1956. The searchers Videocassette. VHS, color, 119 min. Warner Home Video. Frederickson, George M. 1981. W'b.ite supremacy: a comparative study in American and South African history Cambridge: Oxford University Press. Furst, Peter T. and Jill L. Furst. 1982. North American Indian art. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. Gordon, Joe. 1990. Introduction to A selection of poems by Helen Hunt jackson and Emily Dickinson. Colorado Springs: The Hulbert Center Press/The Press at Colorado College. Highwater, ]amake. 1986. "Controversy in Native American art." The arts of the North American Indian: native tradition in evolution Ed. Edwin Wade. New York: Hudson Hills Press. 186

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Hoffman, Gerhard. 1986. "Frames of reference: Native American art in the context of modern and postmodem art." The arts of the North American Indian: native tradition in evolution. Ed. Edwin Wade. New York: Hudson Hills Press. Jackson, Helen Hunt. 1884. Ramona. Boston: little, Brown & Co. Johnson, Thomas H. ed. 1960. The complete poems of Emily Dickinson Boston: little, Brown and Company. ]ung, C. G. 1969. The archetypes and the collective unconscious. Princeton/New York: The Bollingen Series/Princeton University Press. Kaplan, Charles, ed. 1986. Criticism: The major statements. New York: St. Martin's Press Kvasnicka, Robert M., and Herman ]. Viola, eds. 1979. The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1824-1977. lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. La Farge, Oliver. 1929/1957. Laughing boy. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Uppard, Lucy. 1990. Mixed blessings. New York: Pantheon Books. 187

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Mcluhan, T. C. 1985. Dream tracks: The railroad and the American Indian 1890-1930. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Samuels, Peggy, and Harold Samuels. 1982. Contemporary Western artists. New York: Bonanza Books. Seaman, P. David, ed. 1993. Born a chief: The nineteenth centwy Hopi boyhood of Edmund Nequatewa. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. Sioui, Georges E. 1992. For an Amerindian autohistory. Trans. by Sheila Fischman. Montreal and Kingston: MeGill-Queen's University Press. Slapin, Beverly, and Doris Seale, eds. 1992. Through Indian eyes: The native experience in books for children Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. Snyder, Gary. 1969. Turtle Island. New York: New Directions. Stannard, David E. 1992. American holocaust: Columbus and the conquest of the New World London/New York: Oxford University Press. Stedman, Raymond William. 1982. Shadows of the Indian: Stereotypes in American culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 188

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Strickland, Rennard. 1986. "Tall visitor at an Indian gallery; or, the future of Native American art." The arts of the North American Indian: Native tradition in evolution. Ed. Edwin Wade. New York: Hudson Hills Press. Taggett, Sheny Clayton, and Ted Schwarz. 1990. Paintbrushes and pistols: How the Taos artists sold the West. Santa Fe: John Muir Publications. Thorn, Ian M., ed. 1993. Robert Davidson: Eagle of the dawn. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Trimble, Stephen. 1993. The people: Indians of the American Southwest. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Waldman, Carl. 1988. Encyclopedia of Native American tribes. New York: Facts on File Publications. Waters, Frank. 1963/1977. The book of the Hopi. New York: Viking Penguin. ______ 1942. The man who killed the deer. Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press. ----1969. Pumpkin Seed Point: Being within the Hopi. Athens: Swallow Press/ Ohio University Press. 189

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Witt, David L. 1992. The Taos Artists. Colorado Springs: Ewell Fine Arts Publications. 190