Julianne Jennings: Italian chain offers 'Squaw Steak' on its menu

"The legend of the Wild West in contemporary Europe as portrayed by Hollywood has determined the many ways most Europeans embrace the mythology of the American Frontier—to enhance, imbue, or create dime-novel notions of the Old West without realizing their conceptions perpetuate the subjugation of Indigenous people.

In Europe, the American Wild West is a lifestyle once only found in books and movies. Today, however, that experience has gone far beyond movie screens and ten-cent weekly fiction, and is now being recreated in European eateries offering a taste of Wild West culture where the cowboys shoot the Indians.

The General Food Company Cigierre S.p.A., which owns the franchise Old Wild West, with over seventy restaurant locations in Italy, is just the latest example of commodification of America’s golden past to craving Western adventurers. It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival and persistence that expanded the United States from coast to coast, fulfilling the dreams of Manifest Destiny—which included the near genocide of Indian people and the deliberate appropriation of sovereign lands—has an American Indian activist group outraged at S.p.A. for serving hamburgers, grilled meats, nachos and burritos named after American Indian leaders, and the cannibals that eat them. Is it not more interesting to the Euro-centric mindset to consider why Native Americans refer to themselves as HUMANS more so than any other culture on Earth?"

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Julianne Jennings: American Indians are Human Beings, Not Burgers! (Indian Country Today 7/10)

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