Wednesday, December 26, 2012

 Lone American Indian woman gets educational poster taken down

Amherst college is named after a British army General:  Jeffery Amherst, who certainly despised American Indians and did consider sending them smallpox-infected blankets.  There is no evidence that he or anyone else did so, however.  Indians died of smallpox in droves anyway.  That was before the American revolution and during the French/Indian wars.

But apparently any mention of that is taboo.  The poster appears to have been meant to promote caution about the spread of bacteria

Amherst College is apologizing for a poster some students considered racist and insensitive that was displayed December 5 on a wall in a biology classroom.

The poster is a depiction of Lord Jeffery Amherst, commanding general of British forces in North America during the final battles of the French and Indian War. He is the mascot of this exclusive and prestigious liberal arts school.

Historical accounts point to Lord Jeffery as a pioneer in biological warfare. He is credited with requesting that smallpox-infected blankets be sent to the American Indians, starting an epidemic among them.

The poster, titled “A gift from Lord Jeffrey Amherst,” shows Lord Jeffery gifting a stack of blankets to an American Indian man dressed in leather and fringe, with feathers clinging to a headband. An American Indian woman and child are in the background; a baby is strapped to a cradle board.

 An autoclave is a device used to sanitize equipment with hot steam.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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