Songs and Stories of the Red Man.
A white couple on the speaking and Chautauqua circuits, Albert and Martha Gale, billing themselves as remarkable musicians dress up as native Americans and perform “authentic” songs and stories per their interpretation.
Cultural Appropriation? In this instance, maybe not.
In this promotional piece or circular, issued by their management company, The Eastern Lyceum Bureau of Boston, the Gale’s stage-set is shown cluttered with a disparate display of Native American artifacts. The Gales are shown in a variety of Native American costumes. Though the presentation may have been jumbled or without context, Gale’s performance had some scholarship behind it:
Mr. Gale has worked among the Indians and has acquired a proficiency in the singing of their songs and the playing of their instruments that has won their admiration. His many transcriptions of the songs of the American Indian, and especially of Puget Sound and Pacific Coast tribes, have gained for him national recognition as a leading authority on the music of the American aborigine. Their collection of musical instruments is one of the largest and finest in the world. ... He was for several years at the head of the musical department of the University of Washington. (p)
A description here of their performance indicates the Gale respected Native American music and was himself inspired by it: “Mr. Gale was compelled to write his own music by listening to the song of the Red Men and recording them.” (p) Not quite appropriation; tribute perhaps.
Overprinting on the cover of this program suggests they performed on college campuses as well. The overprinting announces a specific performance: “Class of 1912 Lecture Course, Hotel Fullerton Hall, Wednesday Eve, Feb’y 28,” the year “1912” added in manuscript.
“Albert and Martha Gale, veteran chautauqua lecturers…were careful to distance their lecture from the novelty performances present on the circuits, and also from medicine and Wild West shows. [Albert] Gale was billed as ‘the ethnologist of music’... The Gales advertised their lecture as ‘instructive,’ ‘full of life and action without resort to claptrap,’ and ‘not the usual ‘Wild West’ type of Indian entertainment.’”¹
Description: Songs and Stories of the Red Man.
Cleveland, O.: The Britton Printing Co., c.1912. pp. Illustrated Promotional Piece or Circular. 11 x 8 inches. Large single sheet folded once to form four pages. Well-illustrated with half-tones from photographs. Front cover partly over-printed in red with 1912 performance announcement. Some old, small paper mounting strips along fold line; general folds; short closed tears along fore-edge of both leaves; very good.
Note. 1. Lush, Music in the Chautauqua Movement: From 1874 to the 1930s (Jefferson, N.C., 2013), p169.