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. ....   "