Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the "Indian" and the Second World War

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the "Indian" and the Second World War

Article excerpt

Sheffield, R. Scott. The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the "Indian" and the Second World War. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2004.232 pp., illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-7748-1095-5 Paperback CDN $24.95.

The Red Man's on the Warpath is an excellent study of how various English Canadian images of the 'Indian' interacted to inform popular and governmental discourse. Sheffield begins his account in 1930 and ends with the immediate post-war Special Joint Senate and House of Commons Committee to reconsider the Indian Act. By framing the wartime images of the 'Indian' between these years, Sheffield shows how wartime needs, experiences, and political developments led to a limited reformulation of the stereotypes of the Indian. For clarity, the author also discusses the evolution of the public and administrative Indian. The public Indian image, in the pre-War period was divided, albeit not exclusively, among the vanished, drunken, criminal, and noble savage tropes. This public image changed as English Canadians became aware of 'Indian' participation in the war effort through the mass media's use of Native stories designed to shame non-Indians into pulling their weight, and to encourage Canadians during the seemingly endless German victories between 1939 and 1940. The 'Indian-at-war' image gradually generated a modicum of respect for First Nations people, and the war's end had led to public calls for Indian reform. …

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