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The Indian-Star Trek Connection

In a TV series founded on an optimistic multicultural philosophy—infinite diversity in infinite combinations—you'd expect Indians to be included. And indeed Star Trek has included Native people occasionally. Let's take a look:

The original Star Trek series had an episode titled The Paradise Syndrome (original title, The Paleface). In it, Kirk was stranded with amnesia in a pseudo-Indian village. Because he appeared "magically," the natives assumed he was a god.

On the plus side, the village was peaceful and orderly, far from the "savage" stereotype. The "Indians" were refreshingly human, with the skeptical Salish questioning Kirk's divinity. On the minus side, Kirk came up with solutions like a proverbial Great White Father. He "invented" such things as irrigation and lamps, which real Native people invented on their own.

A special demerit for Spock's comment that the "Indians" looked like a mix of "Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware." They didn't look anything like that and a woodland/desert hybrid seems unlikely. What they really look like is the usual mix of "exotic" Latino, Italian, and Greek actors.

But the connections go far beyond this episode. Some examples:


More Indian-Star Trek connections
Spirituality = luxury in Star Trek
Critique of Journey's End
Journey's End in ST:TNG
Clear inferiority in The Paradise Syndrome
"Wagon Train to the stars"
Hopi in Star Trek
Star Trek's Emmy drama
Mistakes and stereotypes in The Paradise Syndrome
White super-race in The Paradise Syndrome
Noble savages in The Paradise Syndrome
Cherokee-class starships
No Star Trek at Nambe
Happy birthday, Captain Kirk
Mr. Spock the half-breed
An Emmy for Miramanee?
Miramanee, Kirk, and the Preservers
Some background on Miramanee
Jules Verne honors Captain Kirk and Indians
Kirk's great love Miramanee
Captain Pike, Indian?
The Last Roundup
More Indians in Star Trek
The Indianoids

Related links
Star Trek Voyager:  Chakotay
TV shows featuring Indians

Readers respond
"This is Russell Bates, principal writer of 'How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth,' which was an episode of The Animated STAR TREK."

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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