I thought that after the rather heavy subject matter of my last post on Gulf War Syndrome readers might enjoy something a little less complicated, so I am offering a slideshow of this marvelous collection of portraits and biographies of some of the greatest Native American Chiefs. (You can pause the show anytime by clicking the double vertical bars in the control panel at the bottom, and then re-start by clicking the right-arrow in the same spot.)
As a follow-up to this post I am assembling another slideshow with the images of the great Inca leaders, which I will post as soon as it is complete. Just as Coca was sacred to the Inca, Tobacco was sacred to the Native Americans. Both were considered to be the gift of the Great Spirit and Mama Coca respectively, and while both have been corrupted by the exploitative madness of the white races, the sacred nature of both great spirit plants remains strong.
Respect for others no longer favors the use of Native American images or references in advertising, names of sports teams, or tasteless racist jokes, but many years ago, even at the height of racism in America, the Redman Tobacco Company issued a line of trading cards that were packaged with the company’s Tobacco products that featured the powerful images and impressive biographies of some of the greatest Native American Chiefs.
Remarkably, for the times that these cards were produced, the portraits were dignified and the short biographies were respectfully written. Tobacco trading cards, usually featuring sports heroes, are high-dollar collectibles these days, and a good friend of mine has been collecting the Redman “Chiefs” cards for many years. When I was writing my “Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco” he allowed me to scan some of the best in his collection, and I would like to share these fascinating images with my readers. Some of them appear in the tobacco book but only in B&W, whereas these originals are in full color and are really quite wonderfully detailed. I don’t know about you, but for me, looking at these faces and reading their brief bios, makes these ancient leaders of Native America come alive in my mind.