Page 4, 11th March 1955

11th March 1955
Page 4
Page 4, 11th March 1955 — DOUGLAS HYDE'S COLUMN
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Locations: Canyon City

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DOUGLAS HYDE'S COLUMN

iNsw Cowboys and Indians WHAT happens when American Indian boys and girls see " Western " films featuring fights between Cowboys and Indians? Over at the Martyr mission to Indians, in the wildest part of South Dakota, the other day, Fr. Gaulbert Brunsman told me how from time to time they have shown such films in their school for Indian children.

As the excitement mounts. he said, and the bold cowboys manage to defeat the masses of Indians, there are the cheers you would expect to get from any audience of children of similar age. Then someone remembers that they arc Indians and that they are backing the wrong side.

There will be a 'hiss 'or two. Someone shouts: " 1 raitors! We are Indians! " and the cheers quickly change to hisses and boos. But they come hack for more such films nonetheless.

Cowboy Country TF the Indians sometimes forget 1that they are Indians (which is Fr. Ciaulberes aim), the cowhoss, who still look and act the part, do not forget that they are cowboys. Nor do the commercial interests in the cowboy country forget that their reputation is capable of being commercialised.

The hotel in which I stayed in Yankton, for example.txploited its

situation with all the thoroughness which might be expected of one in Britain in whioh Elizabeth I had reputedly slept.

Even the beef on the menu was referred to as " steer." and doors which normally bear a more dignified legend were marked " Cowboys " and " Cowgirls.

But I shall remember Yankton, too, for the quite exceptional kindness and courtesy of its local Catholics. And, of course, for the wonderful local hospital and girls' college run by the Benedictine nuns, in whose convent there are some 500 sisters and who have one of the loveliest modern chapels, there in the heart of the prairies. I have ever seen.

In a second. crypt. chapel, there is a " double-fronted " crucifix for the occasions when Mass is said facing the people. The nuns may be in the prairies. but they are not behind the times.

Ku Klux Klmt WITHIN 24 hours of being out in the Indian reservation on the wild plains of Dakota, I was in the heart of the Rockies. in Canyon City, Colorado. This place, more than 1,00 ft. up in the mountains. was Once a stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan. who hounded Catholics with the same ferocity as they showed to Negroes.

To-day little is heard of the

Klan. "It is education, more than anything cite," I was told. " which has led to its decline. Once it was thought to be a fine thing for a man to belong to it. To-day it would be seen as something supported only by the roost ignorant, and no one wants to he thought that."

The racial question. however, still exists. although in Colorado it is not now so much anti-Negro as anti-Spapish-American. The Mexicans and other Latins tend to meet the same hostility that Negroes encounter in some other Southern States.




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