Scalping began under the British

Your cartoonist who recently made weak humor [Linda Sherman in the September 1 "Culture Vulture" feature] based on the stereotype that "Indians" scalp people is apparently ignorant of the history of scalping.

Native Americans didn't scalp anyone until the British paid them per scalp as evidence of British enemies killed. The French did this as well, though less commonly. This practice was invented by the most "civilized" of our western European ancestors, and Hollywood and other media have done their best to falsely portray Native Americans as brutal and primitive based on European practices at the time.

Most of us know very little accurate history of Native American cultures. We've done our best to replace it with demeaning fiction. Your cartoonist has little justification for pride in his or her work.

Will Martin


For what it's worth, cartoonist Linda Sherman says of her cartoon: "This was a follow-up to a story on outrageously high prices being charged by local ticket scalpers. I was trying to poke a little fun at local hippies (some of whom do, in fact,  dress somewhat like native Americans, live in the woods in teepees, and use hatchets)  and young adults, like my own son, who revere American Indians but like to make fun of hippies. Specifically, the young men who are visiting the ticket scalper (which the character is and hence that is what they call him) agree they don't like his looks but not because they think he is going to scalp them but rather because they are clean cut, affluent college kids and they don't like hippies. So times have changed in regard to negative stereotypes. That's the joke."–editor

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