Native Americans on the Stage

   From the 18th century, Native Americans have been depicted in theatrical works, but the first to gain wide popular recognition was John Augustus Stone's Metamora; or, The Last of the Wampanoags (1828). Many 19th-century plays depicted Indians as villains or as tragically romantic figures. Variety entertainments, from minstrel shows and circus to musicals and vaudeville, tended to encourage the familiar stereotypes.
   Stereotypical depictions continued into the early 20th century in William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show (and its competitors), and plays like Strongheart (1905) and The Squaw Man (1905). Other dramatists, including James A. Herne, David Belasco, William C. deMille, and Mary Austin, sought to offer more realistic depictions of Native Americans, but white audiences preferred the familiar stereotypes.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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