Playing Indian: Europeans, First Peoples, and Struggles for Hegemony in Early North America
From Humanities Center
History Faculty, University of Memphis
In the first part of his presentation, Dr. William Campbell looks at the phenomenon of American white people dressing in what they perceive to be Indian clothing, haircuts, and body paint. This goes back historically to the Boston Tea Party, in which the rebellious colonists threw British tea from ships into the water while dressed as Mohawks. This appropriation of Indian culture and dress, Dr. Campbell notes, is not limited to the United States. There are “Indian Clubs” all over Europe where white people play out their “misleading, romanticized ideas” of how Native Americans look and act. He goes on to talk about issues in his book, “Speculators in Empire: Iroquoia and the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix” (University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), and concludes by answering questions from the audience.
Recorded: March 23, 2016