Sunday, 29 March 2009

Illustrated Book Of The Week - How ~ Indian Sign Talk In Pictures


This weeks IBOTW is a find from my friends Rick and Thomas' apartment (or as I prefer to think of it, The Ellis-Jayne Library of Esoterica).  The two of them share an aesthetic for everything exquisite, obscure, peculiar and ever so slightly twisted. We will be exploring some of their more interesting literature and decorative objects in due course.

This booklet particularly tickled my fancy. Published in 1952, it's an informative guide to the dying art of Indian sign language. Most useful if one was ever to find oneself trapped on a reservation with seven scouts and the urgent need to feed them bacon.

The author, Iron Eyes Cody tells us of his upbringing as a Cherokee Indian, his adventures with his father Thomas Long Plume, and the many triumphs of his life thus far (dancing for the King of England, opening his 'Moosehead Museum', helping Boy Scout groups at their Scout-a-ramas). What he fails to mention is the fact that his parents were Sicilian immigrants, and that his real name was Espera de Corti - which, I suppose, would have spoilt all the fun.

I must admit - I think that the fact that "Iron Eyes" was a fraud adds to the charm of this book. A sweet reminder of the innocent days when thousands of American children would dream of wigwams and smoke signals and dancing warriors in magnificent head dresses.




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