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sean martin

Small correction: Wakanda is a country, not a planet. :-)


"Whatever the precise English equivalent, it's certainly disrespectful if not completely blasphemous."

Kind of like sticking in a Kuran verse with an anti-Semitic message?


Mike Peterson

Oh, no, nothing vicious. My guess is that somebody ran into the term at summer camp, where Indian terminology is often thrown around pretty casually. There are several Camp Wakandas in the country and someone likely picked up on it that way back in 1966.

The summer camp movement at the turn of the century had a strong element of faux-Indian culture, but my concern is that, once you make a goal of diversity, you need to vet your story.

There are a lot of things that were innocently done a half century ago that should make us wince today and this is a good example of thoughtlessness.

Kathleen E Donnelly

'Real men don't need combs.' (a column in Time Magazine, 1984)

Tom Falco

I have a friend who always talks about getting a full head tattoo to cover up his baldness. The tattoo would look like hair supposedly.

Mike Peterson

Yeah, well, real men are for first marriages.

Mary McNeil

Your summer camp analogy applies to Chief Wahoo.

Nelson Dewey

The head tattoo probably wouldn't work.

I recall watching in amazement when a man appeared as a guest on the old Johnny Carson TONIGHT SHOW. He was balding, and had applied shiny black paint or makeup where he thought there should be hair growing...

Mike Peterson

The summer camp connection is significantly different than the general cowboys-and-indians thing that gave birth to Indians as mascots.

The summer camp movement was part of a back-to-nature movement. The major book and source, "Two Little Savages" by Ernest Thompson Seton, was about two boys who basically spend the summer living in the woods and learning Indian lore. It was a sort of "Noble Savage" approach that, if misguided on several levels, was respectful. In fact, it's not too different than a lot of the New Age nonsense going around these days -- the faux Indians doing bogus sweat lodge ceremonies.

There's a right way and a wrong way to blend Indian lore into the camping experience, and some of the camps went over the top with phony ceremonies and pretend "Indian names" and suchlike.

But there's no right way to turn Indians into mascots, unless you're naming a team on the Rez and I don't think many of them do that.

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