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Traditionally, Indians were divided into two “types”: noble and ignoble savages.The Indian woman was either a princess or a drudge, the Indian man an admirable brave or a fiendish warrior.Dippie Department of History University of Victoria, British Columbia ©National Humanities Center An early twentieth-century elementary school textbook quizzed pupils on their grasp of the lesson devoted to American Indians.

Through this dark and sunken vale of wretchedness one hurries as through a pestilence, until he gradually rises again into the proud and heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure and original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination …The Indians contributed many wonderful arts, crafts, fashion, and music that people of all kinds still love today.Many people visiting Indian craft shops leave with colorful Indian masks, headdress, paintings, and other beautiful works of art.Besides a sympathetic white hero in line with Cooper’s own Natty Bumppo, it starkly contrasts “good” Indians (the ever-so-noble Lakotas) and “bad” Indians (the villainous Pawnees, with their roach-cuts and face paint making them look like English “punks” on a rampage).The stark contrast between the noble and ignoble savage obscures their common denominator: .

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