Begin Again Playing Indian

Improved Order of Red Men badge, Sanford, ca. 1900

Improved Order of Red Men badge, Sanford, ca. 1900
Item 1476   info
Maine Historical Society

The Improved Order of Red Men (IORM) bills itself as the oldest fraternal organization in the United States, "descending" from the Revolutionary secret societies such as the Sons of St. Tammany and Sons of Liberty who dressed as Native people to conceal their identities as they dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act in 1773.

White settler colonialists—American Revolutionaries—appropriated Native culture, going so far as to create a new and "improved Red Men" based upon their consumption of Native people—complete with Indian names, ceremonies, clothing, and symbols. Of course, this was only possible after the settler colonialists felt they had assimilated or eradicated Native people to a point where they could admire them. This badge came from the Sanford Sagamore Tribe, No. 33, of the Improved Order of Red Men.

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