The Cigar Store Indian Chief is a figure loaded with contradictions. The image of the Native American suggested divergent mystiques in the mind of the tobacconist's frequenter. First the natives introduced the tobacco plant to the English settlers and therefore remained connected to the product. However, by the late nineteenth century the natives were no longer the actual source of tobacco, which was raised by the labor of blacks and poor whites. Neither did these figures represent laborers anyway. The proud chief, even if he was scouting or hunting, represented a savage correlative to the white gentleman who was the target market. Many of these figures offer cigars by hand, and are thus noble though emasculated servants. The Chief stood on the pavement as an idealized, romantic, and enigmatic Other to attract the white businessman in need of a good smoke.
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