Friday, August 26, 2016

Cigar Store Indians



The first photo was taken in an Ocala strip shopping center. The second photo comes from The Villages. I wonder what the Indians are looking for; perhaps another option as to how the West was won?

The following comes from Wikipedia:

Because of the general illiteracy of the populace, early store owners used descriptive emblems or figures to advertise their shops' wares; for example, barber poles advertise barber shops, show globes advertised apothecaries and the three gold balls represent pawn shops. 

American Indians and tobacco had always been associated because American Indians introduced tobacco to Europeans, and the depiction of native people on smoke-shop signs was almost inevitable. As early as the 17th century, European tobacconists used figures of American Indians to advertise their shops.  

The cigar store Indian became less common in the 20th century for a variety of reasons. Sidewalk-obstruction laws dating as far back as 1911 were one cause. Later issues included higher manufacturing costs, restrictions on tobacco advertising, and increased racial sensitivity, all of which relegated the figures to museums and antique shops. Many also were destroyed during scrap drives for metal and wood during World War I and World War II.   

Cigar store figures are now viewed as folk art and some models have become collector's items, drawing prices up to $500,000. Modern replicas of cigar store Indians are still made for sale, some as cheap as $600. 

People within the Native American community often view such likenesses as offensive for several reasons. Some objections are because they are used to promote tobacco use as recreational instead of ceremonial. Other objections are that they perpetuate a "noble savage" or "Indian princess" caricature or inauthentic stereotypes of Native people, implying that modern individuals "are still living in tepees, that we still wear war bonnets and beads." drawing parallels to the African-American lawn jockey.

17 comments:

William Kendall said...

They are an exceedingly rare sight.

bill burke said...

I remember seeing cigar store Indians in Alaska and Oregon. I'm surprised they still have them. Before you know it they will be a distant memory in today's world, IMHO.
Have a great evening and weekend. I see that the temps in your area have reached the hell level for me :)

Linda said...

Great find and capture, Lowell!

Stefan Jansson said...

I remember reading articles about this many years ago suggesting they were racist.

Andy said...

Thanks for the education Lowell. I never knew that a lot of these symbols were for the illiterate.

Kay said...

I can't remember seeing one of these though I may have way way back in my youth, a long ago era in another century. Likening them to the African American lawn jockey is an apt parallel.

Petrea Burchard said...

The lawn jockey is the first thing I thought of. The Smithsonian has a Native American museum, where they would probably know what's best to do.

Marleen said...

An interesting story, Lowell.
I noticed that they have long opening hours! The cigar store indian must be looking out for smokers.

Gosia k said...

indiands and his culture is fascinating for me..

Laura. M said...

The Spaniards, on trips to America, next to snuff, there were many products and animals brought to Spain. Cereals, olive trees, citrus ...
I like the pictures Lovell.
Buen fin de semana.
Un abrazo.

Judy said...

I still remember the first one I saw as a kid. There aren't as may cigar stores around as there used to be but I do see these carvings now and then at other stores. That was an interesting history.

Sharon Anck said...

Believe it or not, there are still several of these around these parts.

Lois said...

Very interesting read Lowell. Some people are also offended by FSU's use of the Seminole as their symbol, but what they don't realize is that the University works very closely with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to make sure that all depictions are accurate and not offensive. The clothing worn by Chief Osceola while riding Renegade at football games is sewn by women of the Seminole Tribe and tribal leaders travel to Tallahassee each year to crown the homecoming chief and princess with authentic Seminole regalia. The University also has a scholarship program for students who are members of the Seminole Tribe and tribal members march in colorful Seminole dress as the color guard at commencement ceremonies.

Taken For Granted said...

I am surprised to see Cigar Store Indians on display anywhere. I am sure there are none in South Dakota, home to Dakota, Nakota, Ogalala, and Teton Sioux peoples. Can't imagine any of these tribes tolerating Cigar Store Indians. Appreciate your Wikipedia description.

magiceye said...

They must be looking for the good old times!

Halcyon said...

He appears to have lost his way!

Kate said...

Love those cigar store Indians despite some of the criticism.

"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson