Wooden Indian

Written by Patty Yu
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The wooden Indian sculpture often known as the "cigar store Indian" is a highly controversial representation of an American Indian chief. Many people feel that representations made of American Indians often caricature the culture in a negative light. Sporting teams and schools also receive much criticism for displaying American Indians as their mascots.

Some people are less sympathetic than others, arguing tradition over political correctness. However, just because a sporting team has always been insensitive to an entire culture does not mean it should continue to employ stereotypes of that culture. No other culture or religion is touted as a mascot in the way that American Indian culture and religion are.

One problem lies in the derogatory names "redskins" or "squaws." "Redskin" was a term believed to originate from the practice of placing a bounty on American Indian scalps and skins. "Squaw" was a derogatory name used for American Indian women. Allowing these terms to be used is like using other extremely defamatory and unmentionable names for mascot names.

Religious Significance

In American Indian religions, feathers and drums are considered sacred objects. Of course, on mascots and wooden Indian sculptures, feathers and drums are often displayed and even exaggerated. Although many representations of American Indians are derogatory and unfair, some representations in wood and bronze are designed to show the grace, beauty, and simplicity of the American Indian way of life. Some museums and historic sites have statues of Indians that depict them in a very majestic and proud way. Often, descendants of American Indians will honor the memory of their ancestors with works of art depicting them.

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As much as I love dogs, I have to vote for Option 1. It is the most interesting, and will come acsros in the pictures as very unique. I don't think the other two would show up as well, or have as much interest.