Advanced search

Cowboys & Indians

(72 Posts)
chrispt Sun 09-Jan-11 23:46:59

I was having a chat with some other parents as their kids played cowboys and indians. It got us chatting about the real history of American. The upshot was that, maybe, allowing our children to play a game around the systematic genocide of a population wasn't the best way to teach acceptance.

I know kids don't see the game that way and we were sort of playing devils advocate, but there was a solid point at it's foundation.

You would never allow your children to play games based around SS & Jews, Hutu's & Tutsis, slavery or genocide in any other context, so why is it ok in this context. It was no less bloody or destructive.

Not that im going to stop kids having fun and i have very fond memories of shooting indians from the ridge or firing my bow and arrow at a wagon train.

I wonder if this is just hindsight and PC getting the better of me.

Whatcha reckon?

mutznutz Sun 09-Jan-11 23:53:36

Yes I reckon it is.

Kids only play cowboys and indians due to the old western movies.

I have to say a mother of a 19yr, 11yr and 8yr old...none of mine have played it because they don't watch those movies. In fact, do they even show them on TV anymore?

Mine always played 'Indianna Jones' or 'Cops and Robbers'...all with annoying American accents, such is the influence of TV lol.

cunexttuesonline Sun 09-Jan-11 23:55:16

Kids don't give it much thought, so pretty harmless i reckon.

BuzzLightBeer Mon 10-Jan-11 00:11:20

On a purely theoretical level with a academic head on, I probably agree with you.

On a practical level they don't see it that way at all and they can play what they like as long as they aren't actually scalping each other and are giving me 5 mins peace.

pinkstinks Mon 10-Jan-11 00:23:39

I just remember by mum taking my plastic cowboys and indians away from me after my g.parents bought them for me, as she said they were unacceptable.
Probably they should have asked her permission first, but they didnt understand her political outrage at it.

chrispt Mon 10-Jan-11 00:25:28

Again, I'm sort of playing devils advocate, but how would you feel if the subject was any other type of 'kill and conquer anyone different' game? Or on the flipside, 'fight for your survival'

It never really occurred to me before. It was a very interesting conversation that sparked my imagination.

BuzzLightBeer Mon 10-Jan-11 00:30:26

I don't think any other scenario like that is so deep in our cultural imagination.

I don't really like the idea of putting an adult view like this on a childs imagination, its limiting. That said I have 3 boys and know many many others and I haven't seen any child play cowboys and indians in many years. I think it is fading as a reference point.

ZacharyQuack Mon 10-Jan-11 00:32:18

DO kids play C&I anymore? Most kids I know play Star Wars.

WilheminaAteHer Mon 10-Jan-11 00:34:06

Kids play games like this as part of their natural development. Also, when children have been witness to school massacres, etc, it's been noted that for months afterwards they reenact the event, sometimes with the goodies overcoming the killer, sometimes not. It's thought to be a coping mechanism.

WimpleOfTheBallet Mon 10-Jan-11 00:47:30

Good point...wonder what Australian Aboriginals would say if kids were playing "Settlers and Aboriginals" and aped pushing the natives off cliffs and carving them up.

chrispt Mon 10-Jan-11 00:50:16

It was something we chatted about. If you ridicule the horrific it becomes palatable. Also "Time heals all wounds".
It just makes me wonder if in 200 years there will be children playing games based around the holocaust sad

If it inspires them learn the mistakes of the past then it can't be all bad. I know playing soldiers at school made me want to learn about history.

ontariomama Mon 10-Jan-11 05:13:30

I know that here, because we live near a reserve, and many of the kids' friends are First Nations, it wouldn't be allowed. It would be considered shameful.
At the same time, as kids, we played "war" with teams of kids stalking each other through the bush, capturing each other, and such, and it never raised an eyebrow. I think that the difference was in "war" it was never specified who you were. C&I involves a specific group of people who have been culturally and physically decimated. I am not a ott pc mum, and I get that kids need games that involve being dasterdly and being heroic. They just have to use their imaginations a little more, to make it happensmile

WimpleOfTheBallet Mon 10-Jan-11 07:56:40

I agree's too easy for people to say "Oh they're just kids and it was a long time ago."

It's not long enough for the repercussions to have stopped playing out amongst a people.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 10-Jan-11 08:05:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WimpleOfTheBallet Mon 10-Jan-11 08:57:16

Nobody would say something like that would they?

katiestar Mon 10-Jan-11 09:08:42

Stop micro-managing your DC and being such a wet blanket

fluffles Mon 10-Jan-11 09:17:14

my work involves me working with the legacy of colonialism and also with indiginous communities around the world. i would not be comfortable encouraging my kids to play 'cowboys and indians' as it's just too close for me.

i am happy for them to play 'war' and stalk/shoot, i do enjoy paintball myself blush, but if they say they are 'cowboys and indians' then i'd have to try to persuade them to 'be' something more generic instead.

pinkthechaffinch Mon 10-Jan-11 09:18:57

She's not being a wet blanket, she's being thoughtful and reflective IMO.

WimpleOfTheBallet Mon 10-Jan-11 09:23:03

The only "wet blanket" here is katiestar....

PocketMouse Mon 10-Jan-11 09:23:13

chrispt - do they play pirates too?

coatgate Mon 10-Jan-11 09:28:09

ontariomama - First Nations? Is that how Native Americans are referred to now? I used to be terrified on the 'injuns' when I was growing up! Now I would love to know some. I find their involvement with the natural world absolutely fascinating.

Agree, playing Cowboys and Inidans was an output of the films we used to watch, probably wouldn't happen now.

MuddlingMackem Mon 10-Jan-11 09:28:18

It's funny, our kids haven't played this at all. However, just the other day, after watching the second part of the 'American Dreams' documentary, I commented to my husband that when we were kids the cowboys were the good guys and the Indians the baddies, but if our kids were to play it now it would be the other way around! And we would certainly be giving our kids a rather firm nudge to see it that way, or is that too PC? grin

WimpleOfTheBallet Mon 10-Jan-11 09:29:52

The difference with pirates is that they are/were not responsible for dessimating an entire race.

WimpleOfTheBallet Mon 10-Jan-11 09:31:02

Muddling....imagine the scene

"Now Tarquin...remember that the Chief has more moral power...he just doesn't have a gun."

MuddlingMackem Mon 10-Jan-11 09:32:35

Wimple Yeah, it'd be, 'Yes, you are actually the good guy, but you're still going to lose the game!'

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: