Okay, so it’s 1932 on Milk Street in Boston, a street that has been there for over 300 years. These three bobbed-hair women marvel at the carving prowess of Carl Larsen, who fashioned this wooden Indian out of live oak. Why an androgynous youth is bowing before the altar is another issue altogether. But this is no ordinary Indian offering cigars to outdoor patrons; this is Samoset the Abenaki extrovert, best known for waltzing up to Plymouth Colony on March 16, 1621, greeting, “Whassup, Pilgrims!” and then inquiring if they had any ale on hand. Why was this odd? Well, he was the first American Indian to make contact with said Pilgrims, having learned some English from Maine fishermen. And despite what news stations would have reported, had they existed, everyone got along peaceably, and Samoset even spent the night. A week later, he returned with his buddy Squanto, who spoke better English, and more fellowship ensued, presumably with beer. This particular wooden Indian was denied the pleasure of ale, although he did get a periodic dose of boiled linseed oil poured down a hole in his head, to keep his wood from cracking.
His Heart Is Made Of Knotty Pine
Wooden Indian White Horse sits on the lap of his carver creator, Andy Anderson, wearing a horse-tail wig and entertaining visitors to Tesuque, New Mexico in 1949.
During his work as a cowpoke, Andy wrote, “One day a cowboy rode in from Wyoming, who was the homeliest man I had ever laid eyes on. All the rest of that day I could see him in my mind and thought, ‘What a good character he would make for a wood carving!’ He was my first model, and this was my first attempt at carving a likeness of anyone. The figure of this old weather-beaten cowpoke turned out real good (much to my surprise) and from then on I started carving characters.”