A response to Tonto and the "Good Indian":
A brief discussion of Uncas and Tonto:
>> Colonial Americans got caught up in neolithic Native American conflicts that had been going on for eons. The French and Indian War, which is represented in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans, is as much about the eternal hatred and blood conflict between the Iroquois and Algonquin tribes as it is about the land war between the French and English armies. <<
"Neolithic" is a poor choice of words, since 1) the conflicts didn't extend back to the Neolithic Age, 2) some Indian tribes used metal before the advent of the Europeans, and 3) more Indians adopted guns and other European inventions after the invaders arrived. By the time of the French and Indian War, it would be wrong to call the Natives "neolithic."
And what if the Indians had conflicts among themselves? The genocidal actions of the Europeans were much worse than any internecine warfare. Two wrongs don't make a right, in this case or any other.
The point of my posting was that we don't see many products with the Indian as the hero and the white guy as the sidekick. Our movies, books, and comics reinforce the idea of the Euro-American as the norm.
>> Is Uncas the Mohican serving the British colonials, or are the British colonials seriving Uncas the Mohican? <<
I don't remember Last of the Mohicans well enough to say. I'm guessing most people would say Hawkeye was the hero and Uncas was the sidekick. If Uncas is more than the stereotypical "noble savage," he's the exception to the rule. Tonto is the rule.
Another correspondent weighs in
A response to the above from contributor Ruben Chavez:
>> Colonial Americans got caught up in neolithic Native American conflicts that had been going on for eons. <<
That is a twist of American History if I ever heard one. I agree with your reply, and not only that, but from reading a variety of sources, I feel it would be more accurate to say that the Native Americans had gotten swept up with the Colonial Europeans conflicts for territorial reasons. The French and English looked at the Native Americans as a valuable resource to aid them in warfare and eagerly recruited entire tribes. With tribes being separated down the line based on their tribe's natural enemies, tribes that they had a long history of hostilities toward. Whereas the Europeans were a new variable, a wild card so to speak.
>>And what if the Indians had conflicts among themselves? The genocidal actions of the Europeans were much worse than any internecine warfare...<<
You said it all in a nutshell. Warfare definitely wasn't new to Native Americans, which manifested itself in skirmishes, but the whole tactic by Europeans of genocidal, scorch earth policy was totally foreign to them.
>>I don't remember "Last of the Mohicans" well enough to say. I'm guessing most people would say Hawkeye was the hero and Uncas was the sidekick. If Uncas is more than the stereotypical "noble savage," he's the exception to the rule. Tonto is the rule.<<
Yes it is definitely the exception to the rule. You have to see the movie if you haven't already. Russell Means, prior to making this movie had promised himself that he wasn't going to make any Hollywood Indian movies, since they were so horrible and stereotypical. But when he read the movie script for "Last of the Mohicans," he was very impressed with the accuracy of the times they were trying to portray. It's definitely a must see.
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