July 27, 2010

Levi's Indian Lore

Here's a lil repost from the always fascinating Sociological Images!:

Vintage Levi’s Brochure Provides a “Round-Up of Western Indian Lore”
by gwen

Rob Walker (author of the fascinating book Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are) sent me a link to a post at Drinkin’ and Dronin’ of a 1954 Levi Strauss brochure about “western Indian lore.” It’s a nice round-up of stereotypes and appropriations of Native Americans. We start off with an angry, bare-chested (and Levis-clad) man with a tomahawk, shield, moccasins, and headdress; I’d guess he’s supposed to be a warrior doing a war dance:

Then some descriptions of items associated with different tribes and the obligatory broken English (“just want ‘um”) familiar to anyone who watched The Lone Ranger and paid attention to Tonto:

I have no idea how accurate their descriptions of “unusual Indian weapons” are, but the overall tone of the brochure doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
And we have a lesson on “the Indian sign language,” the origins of which are “lost in the mists of time”:

1 comment:

  1. I am making Ribbon Shirts and am looking for the history of the shirts to put on a card to give out when I am selling them or to curious folks who ask about them! I will be at the Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival in Tuskahoma, OK this year. Any info would help me send it to tangledthreads@hotmail.com! Thank You!