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The Ignoble Savage: The Buffoon
 
Description
The Buffoon
The Ignoble Savage: The Buffoon
The Indian Buffoon is a negative caricature that is often excused as being acceptable because he is funny. The Buffoon is an exceptionally degrading and dehumanized caricature. Inherent in the Buffoon is a notion that Indian culture is worthless and Indians themselves are primitive, ugly, and stupid, good only for mocking. The Buffoon is ignorant of his own low intelligence and often is not aware of the things going on around him, including the jokes being made about him. The Buffoon frequently talks in degrading, stereotypical dialect and tone that can traced back to the 1830s stage portrayal of Metacom (named Metamora in the play) by White actor Edwin Forrest. The dialect includes excessive use of the word "heap," and the placement of "um" at the end of many verbs. One common use of the Buffoon is to de-sexualize the male Native by highlighting his awkward and usually futile advances toward Indian maidens. Use of the degrading word "injun" in place of the word Indian (which is already a misnomer) is also common with the Buffoon.
Imagery
Ridiculing Native Culture, Intelligence, and level of "Civilization"
Victorian Trade Card: Sitting Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco
Victorian Trade Card: Sitting Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco (3 views)
Victorian Trade Card: St. Louis Beef Canning Company
Victorian Trade Card: St. Louis Beef Canning Company (2 views)
"Heap Big Injun" sheet music (1935)
"Heap Big Injun" sheet music (1935)
Fruit Crate Label: Skookum ApplesFruit Crate Label: Skookum Apples Levi's Western Roundup Brochure
Levi's Western Roundup Brochure
Indian Drummer Toy
Indian Drummer Toy
Indian Joe Toy (2 views)
Indian Joe Toy (2 views)
Egg Timer
Egg Timer
Magic Lantern Glass Slide
Magic Lantern Glass Slide
Postcard: Me Heap Big Injun
Postcard: Me Heap Big Injun
Postcard: Barely Able to Write
Postcard: Barely Able to Write
Postcard: Heap Big Talk
Postcard: Heap Big Talk
Postcard: No Can Gettum Drink
Postcard: No Can Gettum Drink
Roly Poly Punching Toy Ad: Injun Brave, 1966
Roly Poly Punching Toy Ad: Injun Brave, 1966
Schick Injector Razor Ad: Big Chief War-Whoop
Schick Injector Razor Ad: Big Chief War-Whoop
Small Injun Tune-up
Small Injun Tune-up
Souvenir Bank, Dogpatch, KY
Souvenir Bank, Dogpatch, KY
Tin Wind-up Drummer Toy
Tin Wind-up Drummer Toy (2 views)
Tom Tom Indian Toy
Tom Tom Indian Toy ( 2 views)
Mighty Beanz Chief Bean & Hiawatha Bean
Mighty Beanz Chief Bean & Hiawatha Bean (3 views)
Chalkware Wall Hanging with Love Poem
Chalkware Wall Hanging with Love Poem
Wigwam Motor Oil
Wigwam Motor Oil (2 views)
     
 
 
Music that Ridicules Native Romance
lyrics = this song has lyrics
Postcard: Big Chief, He Love Squaw
Postcard: Big Chief, He Love Squaw
"Big Indian Chief" (1904)
"Big Indian Chief" (1904) lyrics
"Injun Gal" (1905)
"Injun Gal" (1905) lyrics
"Big Chief Wally Ho Woo" (1921)
"Big Chief Wally Ho Woo" (1921) lyrics
"Wanna (When I Wanna - You No Wanna)" (1921)
"Wanna (When I Wanna - You No Wanna)" (1921) lyrics
 
Music that Ridicules Native Contributions to America's Wars
lyrics = this song has lyrics
"Big Chief Killahun" (1918)
"Big Chief Killahun" (1918) lyrics

sound by Collins & Harlan lyrics

"Indianola" (1918)
"Indianola" (1918) lyrics

sound by Billy Murray lyrics

     
 
The Buffoon in Comics
Big Chief Wahoo
Natives in comic books and comic strips tended to be the demon caricature, although there were a few noble savages present, especially in the post-1960s superhero genre. Buffoon caricatures also existed, especially in children's funny animal comics, and in the comic strips. One notable example is that of Big Chief Wahoo, which ran as a comic strip from 1937-1947. Ten of these strips are presented here.
The Three Stooges #20
The Three Stooges #20
       
 
The Indian as Animal, Cartoon, and Object
Big Chief Poo
Big Chief Poo
Chief Coconut Head
Chief Coconut Head
Funny-Face Injun Orange Refrigerator Magnet
Funny-Face Injun Orange Refrigerator Magnet
Injun Country Cartoon Jigsaw Puzzle
Injun Country Cartoon Jigsaw Puzzle
Geronimoo, from the Cowboys of Moo Mesa Toy
Geronimoo, from the Cowboys of Moo Mesa Toy Line (3 views)
Smurf Indian, 1981
Smurf Indian, 1981
Smurf Indian, 2006
Smurf Indian, 2006 (3 views)
Smurf Indians, 2006
Smurf Indians, 2006
Arkansas State Mascot
Arkansas State Mascot
Cleveland Indians Pennant
Cleveland Indians Pennant (2 view)
 
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Last modified July 20, 2012