OUT there in the Wild West, there’s Red Indian trouble.
No, not on the prairies or deserts of America. We’re talking about the Wild West of Lancashire . . . Blackpool, to be precise.
In one of those ‘you couldn’t make it up’ episodes, a member of the Oklahoma-based Chickashaw tribe who lives in Britain has complained that a 60-year-old display on the resort’s famous illuminations, depicting six axe-wielding, befeathered warriors dancing around a totem pole, is – you guessed it – racist.
The Chickashaw originated in north-eastern Mississippi, but along with other tribes were forced in the 1830s by the US government to move to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, where they are today a thriving nation.
However, at least one has ended up in this sceptr’d isle, 4,500 miles from home. Who knew? It reminds me of the Father Ted episode in which it turns out that minuscule Craggy Island has a Chinese quarter and Ted is accused of being racist.
The Red Indian motif has been on display in Blackpool since the 1960s but none of the 3.5million of all colours and creeds who visit the illuminations each year has ever found fault with it – until now.
As usual in this dark era of cancel culture, deplatforming and career-ending ‘racist’ branding, the local council has had to take the matter seriously, pussyfooting around and indulging the complainant, rather than telling him to get a life.
The Chickashaw tribesman wants the display ‘removed or concealed’. Right now, the council seems to be sticking to its guns, saying the lights were designed and created many years ago and intended to be ‘a celebration of different cultures’.
Hmm. That ‘celebration of different cultures’ line sounds like an anachronistic add-on. In the Sixties, there were no such worthy intentions – we just liked to have a bit of harmless fun, with no offence intended.
No matter. More worrying is that a council spokesman has said the continued use of the lights in upcoming years ‘would be addressed’.
Looking at the history of the Chickashaw Nation, it’s obvious that they’re a proud, courageous, independent people, confident of their culture and community.
What a shame the British branch of the tribe has turned out to be a pettifogging, joyless, offence-seeker.