- Parent Category: NFIC Columnists & Contributors
- Category: Albert Bender
- Published: 20 October 2010
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By Albert Bender
NFIC October 2010
There is a monstrous specter haunting Indian Country a specter that when it last appeared sentenced tens of thousands of Native Americans to hideous, agonizing deaths. A specter that American Indians would have never imagined to rise again from the depths of Hades to anguish Native people; Andrew Jackson has been exhumed.
The wraith has taken the profile of an art form the play Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. This iniquitous, malevolent production parading itself as historical satire arose in Los Angeles in 2008, and after a successful run at the Public Theater in New York is now set gracing the lights of Broadway at the Jacobs Theater. Its current run began on September 20.
Sound familiar Hitlers final solution was to send the Jewish people to the crematoriums. The Nazi leader was the first to use the term the Final Solution, and now incredibly it is resurrected in reference to Native Americans by mainstream journalism.
Native characters are caricatured and degraded. Historic Indian leaders are portrayed as slow-witted and dull-minded, ever ready to sell their tribal homelands for a few paltry blankets and dream catchers.
The great Muscogee Creek leader Menawe, who fought Jacksons forces at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, and was wounded seven times, is depicted wearing a dime store headdress and signing a treaty to which he never even considered affixing his hand.
The valiant, iconic Sauk leader Black Hawk, who fought a war to hold his ancestral lands in 1832, against the American military steamroller, is seen as a traitorous collaborator disposing of his tribes lands.
This production is the result of anti-Indian racism that has seen an apparent increase in recent years. The writers and producers of this despicable drama realized this and knew how to craft a play to appeal to the worst in the European American mentality.
Parallels can be made with Hitlers Germany, in the 1930s when the Nazis antics were first viewed with amusement and disdain by Jews as being too absurd to pose a menace. But, in a few years they found themselves the victims of the most horrendous and extensive genocide campaign of the 20th Century.
What is also so disturbing is that this play has been running to sell-out crowds in urban areas where one would expect to find sophisticated theater-goers and not advocates and enablers of the most crude, artless anti-Indian racism.
Moreover, to increase crowd appeal and to make the racism more palatable Jackson is presented as a rock star. But, the Indian hater side is always at the forefront of this so-called satire with other classic Jackson lines addressed to an Indian leader, You people are despicable creatures! You show no loyalty to anything, your music is terrible, your table manners suck, and your painting skills are absolutely dreadful. You savages, youre soul-less.
You get the point. These are crude racist insults covered in a mask of so-called satire and so-called artistic license - there is no humor. Satire by definition is a literary exercise using irony and wit to expose folly or wickedness. But what this play needs is satire on its satire.
But even more telling is an omission by the writers and producers, that indicates out how eager they were to single out, to target Native Americans.
Some critics point out that other groups are also lampooned Spaniards, gays , Southerners and rich whites. But, where are the Black people?
Jackson was as much pro-slavery as he was anti-Indian and he in fact owned a large plantation. The Hermitage, his Nashville, Tennessee home, was maintained by the toil of numerous African American slaves. Further, there were tens of thousands of enslaved African Americans in the South during Jacksons heyday.
Obviously, the writers were afraid to have any Black characters in the drama with demeaning stereotypes or to have Black characters in the play at all. The writers were palpably afraid of an uproar from the politically powerful Black community.
If there had been even one demeaning stereotype of a Black character, I repeat, even one there would have been a national uproar. Obviously, Native Americans deserve the same respect accorded other races in this country, but, if it is not forthcoming.
Can anyone imagine a play entitled the Bloody, Bloody Slave Owners with white actors in blackface?
I might add that all the Indian roles in Bloody are played by white actors.
Or how about a drama entitled Bloody, Bloody Adolf Hitler with derogatory, demeaning stereotypes of Jewish people? How far would that play go in the U.S.? It certainly would never make it to Broadway. Or what about a similar play depicting Hispanics, or Asians? Again, it would not go to Broadway and certainly would never have gotten off the ground in of all places, Los Angeles.
Lets take a look at the real Andrew Jackson. Actually his so-called Indian fighting career began rather late in life. Jackson moved to Nashville in 1788, at a time when battles between white settlers and allied Cherokees and Creeks were raging in the area , but there is no record of his having fought any Indians at all, during this period. This seems somewhat odd in light of his later advocacy.
He was forty-six when the Creek War began in 1813. In the first two campaigns against the Creek Nation, his armies were actually repulsed by grimly determined, intrepid Creek warriors who were vastly outnumbered and massively outgunned by Jacksons forces.
According to Anglo history Jackson defeated the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend, with the Creeks losing over 800 warriors. But, there is a Creek version that Jacksons forces actually slaughtered hundreds of women and children after making sure that most of the warriors were absent from the fortified village in the bend of the Tallapoosa River.
As for the Trail of Tears, Jackson was the evil architect and enforcer of Indian removal. He signed the Indian Removal Bill on May 28, 1830 and militarily enforced fraudulent treaties resulting in the agonizing deaths of tens of thousands of Native American men, women, children and elderly.
Jackson carried out the most murderous removal campaign against American Indians in U.S. history. The most egregious of the so-called treaties was the infamous Treaty of New Echota that brought death to thousands of Cherokees.
So bent was Jackson on Indian extermination that he even tried to prevent the issuance of soap to Cherokees on the Trail. This was after he was no longer president, and his successor Martin Van Buren was carrying out his wishes.
Jackson was a racist devil incarnate an early day American Hitler whose deadly legacy for Native Americans remains extant to this day .
This loathsome production idolizing this monster should be canceled. There should be a massive militant, mad, angry, furious, enraged Indian demonstration at the Jacobs Theater. This abominable tribute to that racist villain, Andrew Jackson, must be stopped!
Bloody Andrew Jackson puts the pop in populism