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McDonald's Custer Toy Angers Indian Country

Society & Culture  (tags: Indians, American Indians, Native Americans, George Custer, McDonald's, culture, society, ethics, interesting, news, children )

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kat yazzie (400)
Monday June 22, 2009, 2:28 pm


RAPID CITY, S.D. - Custer rides again, although he's atop a plastic motorcycle and in a McDonald's Happy Meal box.

And that doesn't sit well with some in the Native American community.

Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was killed in 1876 along the Little Big Horn River by Native Americans he aimed to destroy.

But Hollywood brought him back to life as a character in the Ben Stiller comedy “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which opened in theaters May 22. McDonald's included characters from the movie as toys in its kid-sized Happy Meals.

The fast food chain's decision to circulate the toy in Indian Country is akin to circulating a Hitler figure in Israel, according to Laurette Pourier, executive director for the Society for the Advancement of Native Interests-Today. “It's insensitive and disrespectful.”

“We are oral historians, and Custer's escapades are not far from our hearts,” said Paula Long Fox, a guidance counselor for the Rapid City School District. “Custer didn't kill Indians or Natives, he killed relatives.”

The majority of the U.S. Army's victims were friendly Native Americans who would not run, Long Fox said. The military campaigns against Native Americans were driven by the government's desire to acquire land without any consideration for Native Americans as human beings, she said.

“It was dehumanizing and not honest,” Long Fox said. “It really left hard feelings.”

Long Fox said it is also insensitive of McDonald's to circulate the toy to children at an age where parents strive to teach them lessons on treating others fairly.

“It's insensitive to adults,” Long Fox said. “I'm not sure the children understand that.”

“At McDonald's, we value and respect people of all ethnicities, as well as their cultural history,” said McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud in an e-mailed statement. “The ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian' Happy Meal features eight toys portraying different characters from the film. As with all Happy Meal promotions, our goal is to provide families a positive experience that can be shared by all.”

An e-mail containing follow-up questions regarding Native American concerns was not answered by the McDonald's media relations staff.

The “Night at the Museum” toys are scheduled to be distributed at McDonald's through Friday.

Simone Duffin (1462)
Monday June 22, 2009, 2:44 pm
Thank you Kat.

Raffi LidoRoiz (301)
Monday June 22, 2009, 2:48 pm
Leave it to the tacky fast food world of McDonald's to bring this insult to the fore. Ugh! Thanks Kat!

Past Member (0)
Monday June 22, 2009, 2:52 pm
Thank you, "Toho" ("cougar" in Hopi according to the dictionary I have found... )
This decision by McDonalds is SOOOOO callus and inconsiderate ; what cretinerie will they think of next?

Teresa Nemeth (343)
Monday June 22, 2009, 2:54 pm
Saw the movie, however did not know about this. real issues do take place on this toy...

Ben O (171)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:01 pm
I have been boycotting McDonald's since 1974,
that's it, I say no more...

Joan for Peace (413)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:02 pm
will agree that this was just wrong, poor taste and insensitive

liz c (827)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:45 pm
I think that this has gone too far. They have taken a character from a childrens movie and put it in a happy meal. You have to pick your battles people and this is not even note-worthy in my opinion. It is just a toy--not a re-enactment of Little big Horn. I think that there are enough major issues with Native American Rights that this shouldnt even be a blimp.

Karen S (106)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:54 pm
This move on McDonald's part was just outright insensitive. I find it deplorable given that McDonald's has such a great influence on the minds of children, and they know it. Anything McDonald's does is rapidly imprinted in the minds of our young people and it takes decades to educate the McDonald's culture out of them. I hope an apology and some re-education is forthcoming.

Pamylle G (461)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
How utterly insensitive & tasteless !

Margo Lodge (38)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:18 pm
Hes dead and should remain dead. No family of mine would touch that. Another one hits the dust for McDonalds

Charlie L (29)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:21 pm
Thanks Kat. It won't affect any business McDonald's gets from me because like Ben I hav'nt visited McDonald's for many years. I can't remember what year it was when I last went to a McDonald's. I do think the issue of a likeness of Custer on a motorcycle as part of a Mcdonald's promotion is worthy of concern however, if only because of the influence on children. I also feel that comparing it to circulating a likeness of Hitler in Israel is a fair analogy.

Patrick W (119)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:26 pm
Mickey D's is duplicating characters from a movie, as toys, so I think the movie company should also be pointed out for bad taste as well. Who are the big brains that comes up with this sort of stuff anyway? If they glamorize a historical figure in a movie, who is known primarily for slaughtering Native Americans, did they not think that would be in very poor taste?

Did they not pause to think that it might be perceived as very offensive to an important segment of the American population? Obviously not. Shame on the movie company, shame on McDonald's for pandering along ..

Elderberry T (201)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:26 pm
Another bad taste for old mac ....yes lets keep boycotting

Rhonda Maness (580)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:51 pm
thanks Kat!

Tierney G (381)
Monday June 22, 2009, 5:08 pm
Yep me too have not been to McDonalds for 9 years and counting. Won't be getting my buisiness ever!!!!!!!
Thanks Kat

Faith M (161)
Monday June 22, 2009, 6:00 pm
Custer was a butcher-and the fact that Micky D has this man in a toy is beyond tasteless and it is highly insulting- lets see if they will put a pickaninny doll out or a blackface on a white person a uncle tom NO?? why not no difference same feeling an I agree with it being the same thing has having a Hitler doll

Sheila G (267)
Monday June 22, 2009, 6:08 pm
please sign for Free Quality HealthCare for Native Americans
only 71 signers at this posting, please help!
ty Kat
and I'm with Ben, this killing factory McDeaths is boycotted, they are disgusting in every way.

. (0)
Monday June 22, 2009, 6:33 pm
noted thank you

Greg Hand (50)
Monday June 22, 2009, 6:39 pm
this is crazy I can see what is going on. It would be hard to family Oglala Lakota live in area & sad but true unless we make a point to stop this kind of oppression that still exist, the mind control, the subtle way of showing a false positive...any way many have found this and express themselves let all people speack their heart in their own way my respect is yours I say boycott Mc Donalds and gather to show community the shame Mc Donalds has cast on Rapid City Me and one of my cousins wrote a song once we called the song Indian Beads Made in Hong Kong

Cynthia Davis (340)
Monday June 22, 2009, 6:41 pm
I don't eat at Mcdeaths. I have been boycotting them for years. You name it and if its bad Mcdeaths has or will do it.

. (0)
Monday June 22, 2009, 6:43 pm
noted thank you

John B (5)
Monday June 22, 2009, 7:30 pm
In a way, I am glad to see that something like this has happened. Perhaps it will awaken, in some partially brain-dead people, an awareness that nothing has really changed in our most disrespectful national psyche, since those times of George Armstrong Custer. It continues to be driven by self worshiping delusions of grandeur - an attitude of "MY way, or the highway" - totally disrespectful of the actual freedoms and values of anyone else - an ideology of domination, rather than mutually supportive co-existence. And, interestingly, the entire corporate and bureaucratic system which supports this self-deluded ideology now is collapsing around the ears of those very same types of insensitive profiteers who have been supporting it.

Robert J (81)
Monday June 22, 2009, 7:30 pm
when will they stop mcdonalds from putting toys in with their food - junk food shouldnt be allowed to trick kids into thinking that the food is worth eating in the first place and this is a total insult to native people - lets try to stop both the custer toy figurine and any toy being put with a sad meal

Darren Alexander (21)
Monday June 22, 2009, 7:34 pm
Well, that's on par for McDonalds. They don't care about the people, just the profits and ways to get them.

Here's something to think about... Ray Croc was the founder, right? I've had a thing with word play and it seems this falls into place. R-Ay-Croc Are a Crock. Which could mean, Are a crock of garbage, or Are a crock of doo doo. See what I mean? Kind of like the ingredient "inosinate" = I No Sin Ate. Or the word, Consumer. Cons U Me R = Cons you me are. There's more, too. :-/

Darren Alexander (21)
Monday June 22, 2009, 7:43 pm
Patrick W wrote...

Monday June 22, 2009, 4:26 pm
Mickey D's is duplicating characters from a movie, as toys, so I think the movie company should also be pointed out for bad taste as well. Who are the big brains that comes up with this sort of stuff anyway? If they glamorize a historical figure in a movie, who is known primarily for slaughtering Native Americans, did they not think that would be in very poor taste?

Did they not pause to think that it might be perceived as very offensive to an important segment of the American population? Obviously not. Shame on the movie company, shame on McDonald's for pandering along ..
Patrick, the movie company that made it probably has ties to the N ew W orld O rder. Since they'd wanted to "divide and conquer".. a lot of agendas in movies, tv, music, etc had been dividing the country. Something to think about. And what's even more twisted, is in movies I'd noticed that they have told the truth about things, but had crazy/mean/stupid/etc people say it, so it seemed to discredit the truth that actually helps people. If you watch out for that, you'll see what I mean.


Darren Alexander (21)
Monday June 22, 2009, 7:53 pm
It's also similar to what Booger Fling (Burger King) did with the cowboy and Mexican in their ad.

(mutters... Pinche cabrones)

Past Member (0)
Monday June 22, 2009, 8:29 pm
Tacky,tacky,tacky....but then,what more can you expect from big ol' greedy franchise like that ? They have too much money to care.

sue M (184)
Monday June 22, 2009, 8:35 pm
I hate McDonald's and would never give them the time of day. I agree with Liz C. to some extent as young kids will not get the meaning and see it as just another toy that will last 5 minutes. However, I strongly suggest that McDonald's get real. We do not need to honor any mass killer. I mean would they dare make a toy Hitler?

Cathi Hartline (248)
Monday June 22, 2009, 9:14 pm
shameful, noted Rhonda, and Kat, thank You!

Ken Ander (74)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 12:28 am
Why do they put a looser like that on a motorcycle?
Spread the word and Mc Donald will suffer economical. Boycott them!

Christina G (41)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 4:12 am
Outrageous! And just another in a long list of reasons why I have not patronized their stores at all in 15 years...I will not even buy a drink of water there!

BernadetteP P (72)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 9:19 am
tnan you kat

Past Member (0)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 12:25 pm
Ok, Custer was one of the main reasons why America is still one nation...he rose to fame due to his deeds in the Civil War. The west was a continuation of his profession as a soldier. He was following orders and the attitudes of his country which came directly from Sherman and President Grant.

Using the logic from the vast majority of these comments then Grant should be removed from the $50 bill since he dictated Native American policy at that time.

Even another step further, Thomas Jefferson should be removed from all the currency he is represented on and the Jefferson Memmorial should be torn down since he owned slaves. Might as well add George Washington to that list. Bye-bye Mt. Rushmore.

Comparing Custer to Hitler !???! Are you seriously that stupid?

Beisdes, if you watched the movie, it was actually making fun of Custer.

Greg Hand (50)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 1:28 pm

Take all the ones who killed and enslaved people off the money
the money ain't worth nothing anyhow stand up for what is right no matter what

Nancy Welch (68)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 6:04 pm
Look who you're dealing with-not my choice to dine at!Thanks Kat for sharing.

Rod Gesner (60)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 7:30 pm
maybe the Kids can Reinact the Last Scene in Easy Rider;
With Custer on that motorcycle....
The Movie May have been Mocking Him and Thats fine With Me;
But Mc'ds Has NO CLASS and is an Exploitive Growing Plague on the Planet;
I hope this is The Straw that Gets my Girfriend To Stop Wanting to Go there; as She is Proud of Her 1/8th Cherokee and remembers Her Great Gramdma Fondly; Even Though the Rest of her Family Deny's Being of Native Descent...

Deborah L (70)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 9:07 pm
Custer never was a hero, as taught when I was in school. He slaughtered elders, women and children in villages while the men and warriors were out hunting food. He had a white Christian wife, but history never told of his "other wife" of native heritage and the child they had together, both of whom died.The same person who cut his long blonde locks off to disguise himself from the Native peoples as he slunk like the snake that he was, while trying to destroy more innocent people. I only feel disgust for this worthless object to lure children to their lair of lard. Custer now rides a motorcycle-was that an Indian brand of motorcycle, once made in Flint, Michigan, they posed this toy on? It would make it all the more ironic wouldn't it.

I used to take my dogs with me to powwow when I set up and we used to eat at McDonald's on the way home, not anymore. We will pick other places to buy our on the road food from on our long travels on the Red Road from now on.

Custer wore Arrow shirts. Hoka Hey, G.A.C !

Deborah L (70)
Tuesday June 23, 2009, 9:25 pm
Jon G: Don't forget to add Andrew Jackson to the list of presidents who did an injustice to the Native peoples also. And yes, they should totally add Mt. Rushmore to that list also. Especially since it is on SACRED LAND, that was promised to never be disturbed by outsiders. Chalk up another broken treaty brought to you by the government. A century of dishonor.

Deborah Lone Wolf Woman

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 2:18 am
Taking into consideration the way Custer carried out genocide against the native Indian Tribes this was and is a stupid insesitive thing to do.I would not be surprised if McDonalds does not remove this toy and issue an appology.Custer was a murdering meglomaniac who was threatend by courtmartial several times for disregarding official orders.He mannaged to escape this humiliatin because cheap story writers for profit portayed him as a hero and savior of the west.I remember reading a report somewhere that had Custer survived the Battle of the Big Horn he was likely to have been courtmartialed for gross incompetence.I am sorry that he didn't meet that end.The american Indians were perhaps the first people to experience what genocide was like at the hands of this butcher.

mary f (202)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 3:34 am
thanks katt this is totally insensitive and insulting

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 9:37 am
Again, and not sure how many times I need to say this...overall the Native Americans LOST. They were (are) a conquered people. They warred amongst themselves and were ultimately defeated by a stronger, better equiped army. They had their hundreds of years in what is now the U.S. Now for the past hundred years the "whites" are having a run. If another nation invades and kicks out the current inhabitants then so be it. Let them try. Conquered nations never fare well. That's they way it is...let it go and take care of yourself. Yes, I'm white, but was born into a very humble begining. My parents were not college educated (mom dropped out after 11th grade), but I pulled my self up, finished high school, paid my own way through college (no grants or entitlements that Native Americans or African Americans receive) and finally after 27 years of working now make a 6-figure income.

NO ONE in this country that's born healthy has an excuse, period!

The problem is self-loathing and blaming someone that died over 100 years ago.

Custer a butcher? So what! War isn't kindergarten people. Wake-up. To defeat the enemy there's no such thing as being nice (ask Japan about Nagasaki and Hiroshima).

Its not the individuals that are to was a clash of culture and a way of life. I will take Darwin for $200 Alec.

Oh, its always funny how when the subject of Native Americans against Native Americans with their own slaughtering of each other for land and possessions its always avoided. I guess that was OK?!?!

Finally, and as a former Marine I leave you with this great quote. You should read this and then appreciate that you should be thinking the American military (past and present members) that you even have this open forum to post your views.

"Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

. (0)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 10:04 am
McDonalds don't care whether they jump from the fat into the frying pan when it comes to considering other peoples concerns... this happens with so many of these big corporations... but it is time to boycott some of these, so that they will realise where their bread is buttered.... I don't like their food anyway, it takes like cardboard, and have not eatedn in a Mcdonalds for years... Shame on them for been so inconsiderate to others feelings... I stand up for the Native Americans

liz c (827)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 1:32 pm
This is just insulting and ridiculous. this is about McDonalds putting out a toy Custer. If you want to bash the Native Americans Jon--go elsewhere-that is not what this comment thread is about. Everyone is entitled to their opinion-but you are just insulting. NONE OF US WERE AT LITTLE BIG HORN. People lie--none of us KNOW what happened-but this kind of crap just causes hurt feelings. Be gone Jon--you are a little man with a big mouth.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 1:59 pm
Liz, I agree with you. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion" and I'm giving mine. I served, I earned it. What have you done?

Actually if you read the posts long before I jumped in it became all about bashing Custer the person. Everyone was having a lot of fun until someone (me) came in and gave an opposing view point.

Now, as I expected, since I wasnt jumping on the band wagon, you want me gone.

I think if you dont like the situation here in the U.S. then the good people at Delta would be happy to sell you a seat on a flight to another country.

liz c (827)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 4:45 pm
I do not live in the U.S. Jon--and nor would I want to. You served? At Little Big Horn? You ave first hand knowledge of what happened there? You just want to incite the Native Americans and this is not the place to do that--THIS IS ABOUT A TOY-------Do you understand English?

Charlie L (29)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 1:43 am
Jon, I also served, and now I'm going to have my say. I maintain that using a likeness of Custer, particularly in the Native American Community, as a promotional item is very much like circulating a likeness of Hitler in a community that is predominately Jewish. The ruthlessness of President's Jackson and Grant (who Custer served under) can be compared to the ruthlessness of Adolph Hitler. Hitler sought to destroy an entire people, the Jews, along with many others murdering and/or putting them in concentration camps in his quest for world domination. Jackson and Grant, with Custer's support sought to destroy the original inhabitants of America to satisfy settler's desire for land, gold and other natural resources. Hitler was a tyranical fascist dictator. The word 'fascist' did not exist in the time of Jackson, Grant or Custer. But one thing they had in common with Hitler is they were willing to systematically destroy an entire people. Those Native Americans they did'nt murder they forced unto reservations. The only thing missing was the ovens like the ones the Nazis used.

Hardly surprising that a ruthless, greedy corporation would use a sad, cheesy toy to pander to children and promote their sad, pukey meals. There may be some Native Americans who are not offended by using this toy as a promotional item, but McDonalds should have enough decency to give deference to the ones who are.

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 6:56 am
Liz - thankfully you are not in the U.S. We have our problems, but at least we dont have to worry about you being one of them. Yes, I served, obviously not a Little Big Horn. Your sad attempt at sarcasim was just, well, sad. And, since you are not part of this, the greatest country on the planet, you dont have a dog in this fight...kindly step out of it. Yes, understand clear thinking English. Sorry, yours sadly, is not.

Charlie - Finally! It sounds like you may be able to see what I'm getting least you seem to be a resonable person.

I have no problem with boycotting McDs for any reason. If nothing else, just because of the junk they serve (although I could care less who eats there...the U.S. is a free country and if someone wishes to ingest the stuff so be it).

Also, as I said in previous posts. I have nothing against NAs. I even went so far as to say I feel that they have suffered far more then African Americans.

I have done nothing but maintain a defense for one person, Custer himself. Take away the toy, dont care about the toy either way. The sympathetic left in this country was successful at removing Bugs Bunny off the air, so why not a Custer toy...does it ever stop. I dont wish the government to tell me what to watch or eat. If you want that then get out (see my Delta comment from previous post).

I will always maintain that you cannot compare Custer to Hitler. Custer did not create policy. Since you served I think you understand this...every military person has carried out orders/tasks/assignements that they dont always agree with, but yet do them to best of their abilities. Most do not know this, but Custer almost did not go on the trip to LBH. He was being punished by Pres Grant for testifying against the treatment of NAs and exposing the corruption in Grant's administration, and in particuler, the Indian Bureau (which Grant's brother was involved with). Look it up, its a fact!

I didnt jump into this wanting to win a popularity contest. Only to prove that bashing someone who was in the American military, fought to keep this nation as one, and was a career soldier is fundamentally wrong due to the fact they are not informed on who that person was.

Ultimately we will all have to agreee to disagree.

liz c (827)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 7:15 am
Jon--PERHAPS YOU SHOULD READ THE TITLE OF THE COMMENT THREAD--MCDONALDS CUSTER ANGERS INDIAN COUNTRY. We do agree with one thing--I am very happy living where I am living--and do not want to live in the US. thank God you are not in Canada--we try to keep hateful people out of Our Country. You did all of this to piss off the Native Americans on this thread. You saw an opportunity to be an asshole and you took it. If you think I am going to kiss your ring becasue you served--you are wrong-you lost the respect that I would normally afford those people that serve-several comments of your ago....We also have Natives in Canada who have been treated terribly and I hope that things get better for them-I would just like to see it in my lifetime......but I still say that the Natives have more important issues to stress over than a toy. that is not a popular opinion either...

Cynthia Davis (340)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 3:00 pm
Why is Past Member a Past Member Did I mess something? Just asking.

liz c (827)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 3:03 pm
Hi Cynthia--it means that the person who had been commenting left Care2. His name was Jon.

Winefred M (88)
Friday June 26, 2009, 6:33 am
Noted with care. Thanks Kat.

Mandi T (375)
Friday June 26, 2009, 3:15 pm
The braniacs sitting behind computers all day thinking of what to dream up next. Most times nothing fits or works. This is rediculous!
Noted, oh and thanks Liz for the note on "the past member"
Tx Kat. McDonals sucks!

Glenda B (158)
Friday June 26, 2009, 11:22 pm
Thank you Kat :)

. (0)
Saturday June 27, 2009, 5:05 pm
Coming soon -McDonalds Charlie Manson toy...Oh but maybe Charlie isn't as big a serial killer as Cowardly Custer..

Jon G (0)
Monday June 29, 2009, 3:19 pm
Actually the rumors of my leaving have been greatly exaggerated. However, most of my opinions have been attacked, flagged, removed and unceremoniously dismissed due to the liberal media that is in control of this site and those of you who subscribe to its socialistic agenda.

How unfortunate it is to have defended this country only to be censored and shouted down because my view point did not match your own. Liberals, by definition are supposed to be the ones more willing to listen to EVERYONE. Yet, in this case all of you have chosen to remove my First Amendment right simply due to a fundamental disagreement. Shame on all of you.

Past Member (0)
Friday November 6, 2009, 3:21 am
Thanks Kat.

I like to see them as McPUKES....

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