America's Natives Featured at Back Of Beyond Books

- by Michael Stillman


America's Natives Featured at Back Of Beyond Books

Here is a pamphlet headed Indian Omens, though it is pure fiction with no connection to any Indians but the word. It was put out by the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company in 1907, one of the many fraudulent patent medicine purveyors of the era. It was claimed to be a miraculous medicine used by the Kickapoo. According to Brooks McNamara, “ American Indian had ever heard of Kickapoo Indian Sagwa before 1881. In that year Sagwa was followed by Kickapoo Indian Oil, Kickapoo Indian Salve, Kickapoo Cough Cure, and Kickapoo Indian Worm Killer.” Item 46. $75.

As long as we're on patent medicine fiction, here is another classic: Seven and Nine Years Among the Camanches and Apaches. This gem by Edwin Eastman was published by Clark Johnson M.D. in 1874 (second edition). It tells of Eastman's supposed travails amongst the Indians, but he did bring back one prize from all of those years of suffering – the formula for Dr. Clark Johnson's Indian blood syrup. This fantastic elixir obviously didn't carry Dr. Johnson's name when produced by the Indians, but the good doctor generously made this stuff available to the public, for a price. This grotesque fictional tale was used to promote the patent medicine. Item 27. $50.

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