The Use Of American Indians In Our Classic Boat Community.


American Indian images are seen throughout our community

I am going to try and thread a very tight PC needle today. Not because I am being silly, but out of respect for all indigenous people. And with so many new things you can say, and not say, I was even scared to address today’s holiday. Within our small community, American Indian names, images and use of cliche stereotypes was common practice. But was it done with ill intent? Actually I think it was the opposite.

The best of the best.

Out of respect, and  romantic images of exploration, living on the land, honesty, and visually exciting and exotic. So it’s with that I may try and talk about this subject. Have I blown off my insensitive old white guy foot yet? If I did, its also hurt my face, cause that foot is in my mouth most of the time. So. Here goes with pictures and captions.

This one would not be used in todays universe? Why? Because the last thing the Chief was, was a Sportsman. He did not hunt and fish for sport. See how this works? I am trying

Indian lake. Toledo

Indian Boat Co.


Indian Lake Boat Co, became Dart Boats, and they are still being produced today with the help of The Ramsey Bros. All great.


Lake Arrowhead.

The term canoe comes from the Carib Indian word for a canoe, kenu. I dont think they painted them like this.

The info on the Kenu – previous story image. Thanks Tom and Kathy

My Apache truck.

Pictures of thin Harkless Marina/Wawasee boat company as old line Century dealer on the lake for many years. Lake Wawasee is the largest natural lake in Indiana and is still the home of a few woody’s today

Is the her name insensitive? A made up Indian name as a joke? Lets be honest here, that was the intent, although not a mean spirited one. But making up Indian names was part of the culture then as humor. Chief Soak A Lot.

What would happen if I changed her name to We Catch Them.. And yet on the Hull card, there is her name? Would I be deducted a half point? To make a point? Am I perpetuating a stereotype.

More Sportsman imagery.

Okay this one is interesting, from Torch lake. Torch lakes name comes from the use of Torches used by native Americans to draw the fish to the top. FaGawee is a classic goof on the FaGawee Indians in F Troop. It was clearly a fun name used to get a joke past censors. We’re the FuGawee are we?

I tried. I am obviously a tad insensitive, but I always try and respect everyone. Anything I ever say is meant to be positive, even a bad joke which is obviously trying to be sarcastic. Now if you will excuse me, I am late for my mandatory Re-Education classes. Oh boy? Was that joke bad?  BTW, did you know there is no one American Indian Language? There are over 500!

Wonderful Alex Watson Image


Okay, for the record here. Today is about trying to understand more. Not point fingers. And hopefully in some sort of way, we all picked up a little sensitivity about our cultural beginnings, and not feel guilty about the migrations of humanity. I mean at some point my Indigenous family tree left for new areas. Thus not being indigenous anymore. Kinda like being born in Cleveland, and leaving to California. No? At what point, does this start? I am gonna go now again. I think I have done enough damage.

12 replies
  1. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Change Wawasee, Okeechobee, Chicago & thousands of others? My view is that it would disrespectful to Native Americans, to erase the place names their ancestors provided.

    And, Matt, Indian Lake is 90 miles south of Toledo 😉

  2. Brian B
    Brian B says:

    Here is my Sea Skiff “Na-Ga-Mo-Qua” a nickname meaning “Whistling Girl” that was given to Lucy B. Morley by a Chippewa Indian Chief around the turn of the century.

  3. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Matt, I usually don’t comment on stories like this, but I am going to jump in there with you today. I believe that if it is done tastefully the use of Indian related names is a show of respect for indigenous people. I grew up with such images all around me and as a result developed a personal respect for Indians. I agree that how they have been treated by our government was wrong, but that’s not what we are talking about here. I hope that this ridiculous PC movement does not migrate into our classic boat community and we can continue to pay respect!

  4. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    This perspective on Columbus Day from Native American author, Mark Anthony Rolo:

    This country remains in deep denial about its origins. I constantly hear from non-natives that we Indians need to just get over the past. My only reply is we are willing to move on but only until we as a unified people recognize the history of violence that was forced upon us.

    It should not be threatening to our identity and future as Americans to stop the glorification of Christopher Columbus. American Indians and I am sure many other indigenous peoples, understand that we cannot undo the past. But neither can we continue to embrace fairy facades such as those about the exploiter who “sailed the ocean blue in 1492.”

    Mark has been a correspondent for Indian Country Today, director of the Native American Journalists Association and is author most recently of the memoir My Mother Is Now Earth.

  5. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Well said John. Thank you Matt for acknowledging the native peoples of the America’s. Living in New Zealand we have similar challenges with historical injustice and the appalling treatment of our indigenous people. Growing up in the 1960’s here we were taught a very white colonial version of ‘ the proud history of New Zealand.’ That history put our Maori down as savages and willing converts to Christianity and observance of the Queen of Englands rule. Today the very real truth is front and centre of education and our Maori culture is nurtured and celebrated. You will know it takes generations of education and real action to embrace such issues and I am proud of where we are as a country on this journey. We have a long way to go but as each new year of kids are born into a more understanding and accepting social structure our unique Maori heritage becomes more of an asset to New Zealand in every way. Today the Maori language is taught from the first day of school. Consequently the language is spoken fluently by a growing number of people each year. We have learnt that Keeping a language alive is a treasure to be rediscovered. Business meetings often begin with an introduction offered in Maori. We sing our National anthem in both Maori and English. Our World famous All Blacks Rugby team perform a Maori challenge before every game, we have Maori place names and our National Radio and TV channels regularly use the language. As I said we have a long way to go but we are on the journey. When I hear the way my children effortlessly pronounce Maori words correctly rather than my feeble attempts I know that we are headed the right way. Thank you.

  6. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    hey, thats my streblow next to fagawee
    that was geneva lake show at the abbey

    fagawee is a sweet streb, it has many upgrades like the only streb with a solid stainless steel windshield frame.

    the owner told me her late husband did name it to sound like
    where the f**k are we!

  7. tom
    tom says:

    I know this is off topic, but I was surprised to see a boat/sportsman show two months after Pearl Harbor. I wonder if it was held or canceled?

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