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The Ignoble Savage: The Demon
 
Description
The Demon
Ignoble Savage: The Demon
The counterpart to the noble savage Indian Brave is the The Demon. As an ignoble savage, he is an extremely negative caricature. In popular culture, The Demon is the marauding, untamable, hellish male who attacks wagon trains, murders children, and scalps women. He is the perpetual "red menace," a "godless heathen" totally lacking in trustworthiness, empathy and morality. In portraying The Demon, rarely are any social, political, or economic factors given to viewers to explain his behavior. He is simply evil, and he must be eradicated in order to make the West safe for White women and children (civilization). Physically, he is often portrayed as ugly, with a big nose and sloping forehead. The Demon caricature has roots in the earliest days of the country. He is intimately connected to the phenomenon of "Indian hating" that characterized the Euro-American perception of Native cultures for much of the 18th Century. Real life atrocities committed by a few Indians were used to assign these extreme racial characteristics to all Natives. The Plains Indians Wars in the years following the American Civil War reinforced The Demon caricature in popular imagination.
Imagery
Print Media: 1860s-1900
American history written during and immediately after the Plains Indian Wars was very subjective in its depiction of Indians. One work shown below, The Pioneer History of America (1883), is subtitled, "A popular account of Heroes and Adventurers who, by their valor and war-craft, beat back the savages from the borders of civilization and gave the American forests to the plow and the sickle." The rest of the books is an extremely biased view of the Indians, told by the "winners" of history. These kinds of works justified American policy toward the Indian and influenced the next generations imagery about Indians.
1869 Cartoon, Harper's Magazine
1869 Cartoon, Harper's Magazine
The Pioneer History of America (1883)
The Pioneer History of America (1883)
The Pioneer History of America, title page
The Pioneer History of America, title page
The Pioneer History of America: The Motte Family Massacre
The Pioneer History of America: The Motte Family Massacre
The Pioneer History of America: The Battle of Captain Smith & the Indian Chief
The Pioneer History of America: The Battle of Captain Smith & the Indian Chief
Indian Horrors (1890), by Henry Northrup (2 views)
Indian Horrors (1890), by Henry Northrup (2 views)
Print: Warfare of the Colonial Epoch (1892)
Print: Warfare of the Colonial Epoch (1892)
Print: Early Club Life in New York (1894)
Print: Early Club Life in New York (1894)
Book: Redskin and Cowboy (1895)
Book: Redskin and Cowboy (1895)
 
Puck Magazine Cartoon, 1890
Puck Magazine Cartoon, 1890
Viewpoints that questioned the government's treatment of Native Americans were rare. Puck Magazine, a satirical publication that often lampooned America's politicians and policy, did sometimes provide alternative views about government Indian policy. The 1890 color lithograph to the left highlights the contradiction of Uncle Sam's benevolence toward Africans, Asians, and Europeans while massacring American Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
 
Dime Novels, 1880s-1920s
The Buffalo Bill Stories, 1906
The Buffalo Bill Stories, 1906
Cheaper printing practices in the late 19th Century led to the creation of a new literature industry, often called Dime Novels or Pulp Fiction. These mass-produced volumes, typically costing ten cents, were an enormous contributor to the mythologizing of the American West. Cowboys became heroes, and most often Indians were the villains. Numerous titles were produced about Buffalo Bill, mythologizing him too, and by the 1890s most Americans would experience the vanishing West only through the eyes of dime novel adventure writers, and the wild west shows that likewise sought to bring a mythological west directly to the American people (and even overseas). Wild West shows run by Buffalo Bill and others perpetuated both the noble and ignoble savage stereotypes, and even featured real Indians in the show, including Sitting Bull, and Geronimo.
American Novels #139
American Novels #139
American Tales #1
American Tales #1
American Tales #23
American Tales #23
 

Beadle's Dime Novels #29
Beadle's Dime Novels #29
Beadle's Dime Novels #243
Beadle's Dime Novels #243
Beadle's Dime Tales #2
Beadle's Dime Tales #2
Beadle's Frontier Series #35
Beadle's Frontier Series #35
Buffalo Bill Novels #324
Buffalo Bill Novels #324
Buffalo Bill Stories #231
Buffalo Bill Stories #231
Buffalo Bill Weekly #141 (1915)
Buffalo Bill Weekly #141 (1915)
De Witt's Romances #10
De Witt's Romances #10
Frank Starr's American Novels #139
Frank Starr's American Novels #139
New Buffalo Bill Weekly #138, 1915
New Buffalo Bill Weekly #138, 1915
New Buffalo Bill Weekly #148
New Buffalo Bill Weekly #148
New York Dime Library #845, 1895
New York Dime Library #845, 1895
Ornum & Company Indian Novels, Crack Skull Bob
Ornum & Company Indian Novels, Crack Skull Bob
The Buffalo Bill Stories #100
The Buffalo Bill Stories #100
The Buffalo Bill Stories #150
The Buffalo Bill Stories #150
The Dime Library #1004, 1898
The Dime Library #1004, 1898
Wild West Weekly #1047
Wild West Weekly #1047
Wild West Weekly #1054
Wild West Weekly #1054
       
 
Victorian Trade Cards
The demise of the Indian coincided with the rise of a new form of advertising; the Victorian trade card. These postcard-sized lithographed images were mass produced in the latter quarter of the 19th Century and became the most important form of
Lavine Soap
Lavine Soap (2 views)
advertising of the era. They were widely distributed in stores and as premiums packaged with some products, and were collected by many Americans because of their often lush, colorful graphics. The manufacturers of trade cards catered to America's carnivalesque fascination with imagery, and they often mined the racial attitudes of the time to promote a sense of Euro-American middle class consumer solidarity. Blacks, Asians, Irish, and Indians were all marginalized in Victorian trade advertising in order to foster this sense of White American identity. Many depictions of Indians were in the Noble Savage mold, but The Demon adorned many a trade card as well.
Victorian Trade Card: Big Injun Silky Plows
Victorian Trade Card: Big Injun Silky Plows (2 versions)
Victorian Trade Card: Tippecanoe Bitters
Victorian Trade Card: Tippecanoe Bitters
Kickapoo Indian Remedies, Returning From a Raid
Kickapoo Indian Remedies, Returning From a Raid (2 views)
McLaughlin's Coffee
McLaughlin's Coffee
Putnam Nails
Putnam Nails (2 views)
Standard Boots
Standard Boots
       
Indian Cards 1-6

This 6-part trade card set is especially interesting. It tells the story of two urban youths who, after reading in Boy's Own magazine about the adventures to be had out West in action against the "red heathen," decide to investigate for themselves. Their visions of "scalping wild injuns" come to naught, however. Upon seeing their first big Indian they freeze in terror, are scooped up, carried away, and then apparently brutally tortured to death. The moral of the story, we are told, is not to believe everything you hear. The Indian, not surprisingly, is caricatured in the most extreme terms as a savage demon.

#1: Contemplation | #2: Determination | #3: Consumation | #4: Exultation | #5: Consternation | #6: Demoralization

 
The Demon as Hollywood Plot Device
(This section is planned for the future).

       
 
The Demon in Comic Books
The Native American has a long history in the American comic book, appearing most frequently when Western-themed comics were popular during the post-WWII years of the Golden Age (1946-1958). Mostly a plot device, the Indian male was the typically cast as The Demon, while the Indian woman was virtually nowhere to be seen. There were a few examples of the noble savage as well, most notably with the beautiful painted covers of the Indian Chief series and in the character of Tonto, the Lone Ranger's loyal sidekick. A more detailed examination of this subject is planned for the future. In the meantime, some examples of The Demon caricature on comic book covers from the 1950s-60s are presented below.
Apache #1
Apache #1
Arrowhead #1
Arrowhead #1
Batman #86
Batman #86
Billy The Kid #16
Billy The Kid #16
Black Diamond Western #23
Black Diamond Western #23
Black Diamond Western #25
Black Diamond Western #25
Black Rider #9
Black Rider #9
Blackhawk Tomahawk Indian War #1
Blackhawk Tomahawk Indian War #1
Blazing West #3
Blazing West #3
Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders #7
Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders #7
Buffalo Bill #4
Buffalo Bill #4
Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre
Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre
Dead-Eye Western Comics #3
Dead-Eye Western Comics #3
Fighting Indians of the Wild West #1
Fighting Indians of the Wild West #1
Geronimo #1
Geronimo #1
Geronimo and His Apache Murderers #3
Geronimo and His Apache Murderers #3
I Love Lucy #27
I Love Lucy #27
Indian Fighter #11
Indian Fighter #11
Indian Warriors #7
Indian Warriors #7
Indians #2
Indians #2
Red Ryder Comics #128
Red Ryder Comics #128
Redskin #9
Redskin #9
Tomahawk #1
Tomahawk #1
Tomahawk #9
Tomahawk #9
Tomahawk #47
Tomahawk #47
Western Fighters v.3 #7
Western Fighters v.3 #7
Westerner Comics #40
Westerner Comics #40
Wild Bill Hickok #1
Wild Bill Hickok #1
   
 
Other Artifacts: 1900-Present
Magazine Ad: Dr. Scott's Electric Hair Brush
Magazine Ad: Dr. Scott's Electric Hair Brush
Savage Brand Ammunition
Savage Brand Ammunition (2 views)
Savage Ammunition Magazine Ad
Savage Ammunition Magazine Ad, 1960s (2 versions)
Savage Ammunition Pin
Savage Ammunition Pin
 
Real Photo Postcard: Geronimo as a Prisoner
Real Photo Postcard: Geronimo as a Prisoner
At That Bully Wooly Wild West Show (1913)
At That Bully Wooly Wild West Show (1913)
American Record Company Label
American Record Company Label
Book: Indians Wild and Cruel (1929)
Book: Indians Wild and Cruel (1929)
Postcard: My City Oakland, Reflections of a Pioneer, 1932
Postcard: My City Oakland, Reflections of a Pioneer, 1932
Mask
Mask (2 views)
Injun Chief Tin Toy
Injun Chief Tin Toy
Book: Indian Drums and Broken Arrows (1952) by Craig Massey
Book: Indian Drums and Broken Arrows (1952) by Craig Massey
Masquerade Make-up, Indian War Paint
Masquerade Make-up, Indian War Paint
Nabisco Ad for Indian Wars Medal
Nabisco Ad for Indian Wars Medal
1955 RC Cola Ad
1955 RC Cola Ad
Book: Dan Frontier Scouts With The Army (1962) by William Hurley
Book: Dan Frontier Scouts With The Army (1962) by William Hurley
Book: Injun Blood (1963) by Bert Cloos
Book: Injun Blood (1963) by Bert Cloos
Friskies Dog Food Ad, 1963
Friskies Dog Food Ad, 1963
1966 G.E. Ad
1966 G.E. Ad
Toy Cowboys & Indians
Toy Cowboys & Indians
Toy Cowboys & Indians
Toy Cowboys & Indians (2 views)
Nutty Mad Indian Toy, by Marx
Nutty Mad Indian Toy, by Marx (2 views)
Postcard: Three Men Playing Poker
Postcard: Three Men Playing Poker
Warpath Willie Toy
Warpath Willie Toy (3 views)
Wild Bill Hickok's Cavalry & Indians Game
Wild Bill Hickok's Cavalry & Indians Game (6 views)
Roger Rabbit Collector's Poster, 1988
Roger Rabbit Collector's Poster, 1988
Florida State Seminoles Gift Wrapping Paper: Scalp 'em!
Florida State Seminoles Gift Wrapping Paper: Scalp 'em!
Redskins Warpath Dot Com Logo
Redskins Warpath Dot Com Logo

Billboard Advertising a Hayride, 2007
 
Modern Issue: Treaty Rights
No modern issue brings up such intense feeling of hostility toward Native Americans as when they try to exercise treaty rights, especially involving spear fishing in the great lakes region. The issue has sparked intense animosity among White commercial and sport anglers since the 1970s, resulting in some renewed demonization of Indians, to the point where extermination is once again advocated. The bumper sticker was found in a cabin in northern Michigan and dates to the 1970s. The First Annual Indian Shoot notice was posted in a bar in Wisconsin in the 1990s. The automobile window decal was purchased on eBay in 2008 from a seller based in Minnesota.
Bumper Sticker, 1970s
Bumper Sticker, 1970s
First Annual Indian Shoot Notice, 1990s
First Annual Indian Shoot Notice, 1990s
Auto Window Decal, 2008 (2 views)
Auto Window Decal, 2008 (2 views)
   
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