I’ve got a Thanksgiving post up on Culture 11 about Indian contributions to American culture in general and the Indian version of the Cinderella legend in particular. For comic readers, here’s the paragraph where I mention everyone’s favorite X-Man:
It isn’t just food and names, though. Native cultures and traditions have worked their way pervasively into American history and thought. The first American pulp hero, James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo, was an Indianized white man. In Cooper’s five Leatherstocking novels, published through the early 19th century, Bumppo was portrayed as a half-savage, comfortable in the wilderness, and ambivalent towards the white culture he saves. Certainly, this view of Indians is romanticized to the point of insult. But its power shows the extent to which the Indians have shaped American identity. Bumpo’s distinctively native manliness has bequeathed a furtive Indian heritage to practically every iconic American loner hero you can think of, from Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, to Han Solo, to Marvel Comics’ Wolverine.