Many are on the warpath over the use of the offensive name Redskins.
The debate over the Washington football team Redskins name made national television this past week. Not only did South Park dedicate its season premier to skewering the name, but John Stewart aired a controversial segment pitting Redskin fans against Native Americans.
Those hoping for a powwow of sorts were disappointed when the Daily Show’s segment quickly turned into a tense situation.
When it comes to heap-big offensive names the NFL franchise isn’t the first franchising organization to utilize questionable Native American imagery in its merchandise.
Many moons ago, a company called Franchise International offered mid-century American go-getters the opportunity to own a fast food restaurant of their own with the dubious name Heap Big Beef.
Return Of The Red Man
In 1967 businessman William “Buffalo Bill” Brody had an eagle eye for opportunity.
According to Life Magazine, the Red Man was red-hot.
At the same time that Native Americans were discovering their cultural history and questioning their long heritage of violence, social disruption and neglect, Americans fell in love with the noble Redskin.
Not only were headband-wearing, feather-donning, peace pipe smoking hippies re-discovering Indians – sporting a feather was believed to provide “good vibrations” during an LSD trip according to Life,- fashion designers were on the warpath producing all sorts of Indian garb for both braves and squaws.
“The hippies involvement with Indian ways has infected the non hippie world,” Life announced.
Heap Big Profits
So when an ad appeared in the magazine offering the chance to own your own Indian themed restaurant, Bill knew a heap big business opportunity when he saw it.
“He man profits can be yours – make plenty of wampum with the ownership of your own Heap Big Beef Restaurant.”
Like any red-blooded American, who could pass on the chance to be their own chief and make heap big wampum?
Not this pale-face!
The offer to own your own franchise was irresistible.
From coast to coast all along Americas best trafficked trails,tepee-dwelling suburbanite were flocking to this latest food franchise. Guaranteed to satisfy a savage appetite, folks were happy to shell out 59 cents for an Honest Injun taste of the old west “sliced hot right before your eyes.” The mouth-watering meal washed down with a wholesome Shawness shake or genuine Indianaid could be enjoyed amidst “sparkling Indian décor. ”
The Indian themed restaurant didn’t offer Bison burgers but the heaping he-man sized roast beef sandwiches spelled he-man profits .
So chief, pack your squaw and her papoose in your Pontiac and head on over to Heap Big Beef !
Big Taste…. even bigger tastelessness.
All for little wampum!”
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.