Poetic Racism

At first glance, if you approach them from the right angle, this set of shakers looks like a couple of pieces cut from a small branch of a tree. But turn them around, and they look quite different.

Yes, that’s right, another couple of Indian stereotypes.  While this pair are only drawn in two-dimensions and not three-dimensional figures, they share many of the usual markers of aboriginality: she with her single feather, he with his war bonnet; the fringed outfits, the dark hair, the prominent noses.  Also, this time, they accompany a poem.

Not only a poem, but apparently, a copyrighted poem, according to the information on the salt.  Not only a poem, but a poem that purports to represent the ignorantly ungrammatical speech patterns of stereotyped natives.  Me no likum.  Me no likum at all.

This set of shakers is not only made of wood, but it seems that they have been made of an actual hollowed out and bark-covered piece of wood–the bark is authentic. It seems to be, maybe, pine?  The only F. Plasman I can find on the internet is the name of a bakery and tearoom in Den Haag in the Netherlands, where I’m fairly certain buffalo meat and venison steak aren’t often on the menu.

This indigenous couple is a souvenir of North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

Published by pernodel

Children’s literature critic and author of books for children

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