Monday, December 7, 2020

Native Americans

 These jokers are referred to as either the First Nations (a Canadian term) or Native Americans (a US term) or the Indigenous people (when I'm down in Latin America and it's being translated directed from Spanish).  Indians is a term that was popular and seems to be returning although it's debatable. Because I include the original Hawaiians here, I also include a few Pacific Islanders.

These next two jokers were the object of discussion in the Facebook Joker Collectors Group in early Nov 2020. I posted them asking for info.  Lisa Engel Gray said: "...they represent Hopi Kachinas. I believe the black and white costume is that of the Hopi Koshari Clown." Tom Van Berkum: ""Gemaco" (USA) deck "Pueblo Indian Kachina Dolls" And Jan Walls added: "I have these jokers and the court set, here are two extra cards in the deck, the red joker AYA (Runner) black joker Koshare or Hano clown or Paiyakyamu or Hano Chukuwai-Upkia."

<Need to discuss why this fellow belongs here...>
<Pacific islanders discusson >

Here are the ensemble shots of the Native American Joker Cards.

There’s also these jokers who are not in the Native American section but in the heads section (not jesters. (Note that the website is hard to keep current. For instance, the head section is missing lots of jokers and is not yet split between jester and non jester heads).

This next Native American was just acquired and could go into the Topsy section but I'll put him in with the Native Americans since there are tons of topsies and not that many in the tribes.

Here are two Congress jokers published around 1900. There is an article explaining about these matching Congress jokers. 

I think this a good place to comment that any visual presentation of Native Americans and Pacific Islanders (or any racial group) treads in the treacherous waters between respectful presentation and caricature. Of course, since I am simply a collector and and am not creating images, I do take a position but I am very aware of the historical patterns that portrayals on playing cards reveals. There is a great commentary on the portrayal of Blacks on cards by Rory Rennick. I hope one day to help create a similar collection about about how Native Americans and Chinese in America are portrayed.

Rookwood Congress Joker and Back Design
A little commentary on the Rookwood Jokers pictured above. "Rookwood" is the name of a pottery company based in Cincinnati OH, a city where the US Playing Card Company was also located. The Rookwood Pottery Company had a fascination with the portrayal of the American Indian. A book was written on the topic: "It involves the interplay of a female entrepreneur, her business manager and premier artists and educators–all entwined in the nation’s policies that reflect a contradictory attitude of exploitation and sympathy toward the first Americans. In the end, masterpieces of art pottery depicting noble Indians were created.” This quote is from the State House website promoting and selling the book.

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Thanks for your input and for reading and thinking about jokers.