Native Americans

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Indian Herbs Tablets. Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Libraries, Wangensteen Historical Library via Minnesota Digital Library.

Native Americans were also portrayed derogatorily in American advertisements. In patent medicine advertising, they were presented as the “Noble Red Men” who provided "natural" remedies to the rest of the world. This stereotype bolstered a belief in natural, botanic remedies and was directly tied to nineteenth-century America’s hostility toward modern medicine and distrust of doctors. Native Americans were portrayed as “natural healers” and “Mother Nature’s Physician.” This stemmed from common beliefs that Mother Nature could provide medicine to cure all of humanity’s ills and that Native Americans were innately primitive and connected to the natural world.

The following list includes just some examples of pseudo-Native American products:

• Dr. Morse’s Indian Root Pills
• Ka-Ton-Ka Nature’s Gift to Nature’s Children
• Indian Vegetable and Animal Salve
• Dr. Newall, the Native Indian Doctor
• Dr. Kilmer’s Indian Cough Cure
• Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company