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Whites Dressed as Indian



The Indian imposter trend relates to an earlier genre that focused on blacks and known as The Minstrel Show. I have noticed significant parallels of transference from one parodied race to another. Although not staged in blackface per se, participants, dressing as “Indian” employed similar archetypes of racism, especially those of the “stoic Indian Chief”, the “wild Indian”, and the “sexy maiden”, while being in redface. I venture to say that the ‘minstrel act’, whether it is a transferred focus on blacks, Indians or Asians, it is in fact a white construct due to hierarchal deprivation and displacement from the continent of Europe. Demeaning other races through parody expresses their need to assert a popular ideology of superiority, embodying these stereotypes as a continuum of cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide.


Most amateur redface acts are "backstage," played out in the privacy of the home environment or member's only groups. Typically, these arenas of racist performance are preserved for friends or relatives, though in some settings just being white gives a stranger the racial credentials to be included in the "safe" backstage. A key factor here is building social relationships and networks by using old racist stereotypes and images like those long used by older generations of whites. 


I began collecting images of whites dressed as Indians in 2005 when I accidently came across a photo of a white father and son dressed up and posing as supposed Indians. I found it to be quite odd and actually thought it was a one off. I now know better. My current collection of vintage images (photographs, postcards and magazine ads) has grown to approximately 100 in number. 


Here are some of the images in my collection.





Various amateur photographic images collected from the United States.



Various vintage magazine ads



"Even squaw can carry"                                      "As old an an OLD SQUAW... thats how my hands made me feel!"     WHEN YOUR INDIAN over eats!

More vintage ads promoting compact motors, hand cream and pepto bismal.



I have begun to add motel interiors and exteriors to my collection and am currently spending a lot of time isolating and colourizing my collection with hopes of being able to create a new body of digital collaged works.



               Early photoshop practice                                                                                      Prototype of Digital collaged images


Of course, time is money and money is I have no idea when these will actually become a reality. Such is the life of an artist.


UPDATE: I will be getting this series done by the end of 2011. I will also complete my "bar" and one more body of work...I am feeling pretty fantastic...For real! Boooooom!!!!!!