Message #142: From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Subject: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Date: Sat, 29 Mar 1997 21:22:09 -0700 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, a site created and designed by Joshua Johns, University of Virginia, November 11, 1995. ".... Native Americans were the single most important ethnic component in the show. In most of Buffalo Bill's programs, the Indian is identified as "The Former Foe--Present Friend, the American," and Cody went to great lengths to promote the harmony between the whites and the Indians in his show. There were publicity campaigns aimed at promoting the friendly public meetings between 7th Cavalry veterans of Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee and Sioux Indians, posters which depicted Indians on Horseback above a slogan reading "An American," and photos...which united Cody and Oglala Sioux chiefs Red Cloud and American Horse in an image of equality and peace. In Cody's defense, Vine Deloria of the University of Arizona offers two points of fact regarding his relationship with the Indians in his show. (see "The Indians," in Buffalo Bill and the Wild West 45-56) First, he points out that Buffalo Bill's position enabled him to employ individuals considered dangerous by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and take them off the reservations to tour with the show. Since many Indian and military officers would rather have imprisoned these men, touring with Buffalo Bill "probably saved some of the chiefs from undue pressure and persecution by the government at home." The second point Deloria mentions is that Cody gave his Sioux warriors status as part of his "Congress of Rough Riders," a contingent which represented the finest horsemen in the world: American cavalrymen, German Cuirassiers, Vanqueros, cossacks, Arabs, Cubans, and Pacific Islanders. "Instead of degrading the Indians and classifying them as primitive savages," Deloria notes, "Cody elevated them to a status of equality with contingents from other nations," and therefore recognized their skills as horsemen and warriors by stressing their patriotism in defending their lands. Although the show operated under the principles of stereotypes and archetypes of the west, this conferred status indicated Cody's transcendent and sophistocated view of the Native Americans. .... "