Native Performers in Wild West Shows - LIMITED QUANTITIES

University of Oklahoma PressSKU: 9780806148465

Linda Scarangella McNenly
Grade Levels:
College, University
Blackfoot, Iroquois, Lakota, Mohawk, Plains, Sioux
Book Type:
University of Oklahoma Press

Sale price$26.95


Native Performers in Wild West Shows: From Buffalo Bill to Euro Disney studies the participation of Indigenous families in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show from the 1880s to contemporary showcases of the wild west in Euro Disney shows. Looking at this unique American genre from the Native American and First Nation points of view provides thought-provoking new perspectives. Focusing on the experiences of Indigenous performers and performances, Linda Scarangella McNenly begins her examination of these spectacles with Buffalo Bill’s 1880s pageants. She then traces the continuing performance of these acts, still a feature of regional celebrations in both Canada and the United States and at Euro Disney. Drawing on interviews with contemporary performers and descendants of twentieth-century performers, McNenly elicits insider perspectives to suggest new interpretations of their performances and experiences; she also uses these insights to analyze archival materials, especially photographs. Some Indigenous performers saw Wild West shows not necessarily as demeaning, but rather as opportunities—for travel, for employment, for recognition, and for the preservation and expression of important cultural traditions. Other families were able to guide their own careers and even create their own Wild West shows. McNenly’s study reveals how these Native peoples have adapted and re-created Wild West shows to express their own identities and to advance their own goals. Chapter 4 covers the participation of Kahnawake and Akwesasne Mohawk families in the overseas entertainment industry. This case study explores the Jose Akwiranoron Beauvais, the Williams-Kelly, and the Deer families. Their participation occurred during the early 1900s in Quebec, U.S. and Europe. The volume contains 26 archival photographs, and an extensive index.

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