Are you an Indian?

From his earliest days of going to the cinema as a boy, Dad was crazy about cowboys and indians. He watched endless western matinees in the 1950’s. And those films left a lasting impression on him. In fact he loved to do a Jack Palance routine with Sean Coyle on his radio show:

“Pick it up.”

“I don’t wanna pick it up mister, you’ll shoot me.”

“Pick up the gun.”

“Mister, I don’t want no trouble, huh. I just came down town here to get some hard rock candy for my kids, some gingham for my wife. I don’t even know what gingham is, but she goes through about 10 rolls a week of that stuff. I ain’t looking for no trouble, mister.”

“Pick up the gun.”

Boom, boom.

“You all saw him. He had a gun.”

Jack Palance in Shane 1953 on
Jack Palance in Shane 1953

There is some controversy whether this clip was in the film Shane or if Bill Hicks did an ad lib version as part of a routine many years later. But that didn’t stop Gerry and Sean having their own versions and applying it to other David and Goliath scenarios!

Ulster Scots Cowboys

Dipping back into his Social Anthropology studies, Dad loved researching and reading about the Ulster Scots migration to North America. And how many prominent frontier people like Davy Crockett where directly descended from Ulster. In Gerry’s eye many of the cowboys were from Ulster. But he always had a soft spot for the American Indians. He backed the native over the settler. In his library of books, there are a lot of well-thumbed books about Native Americans and the turbulent early years of The Wild West.

I don’t know where he first heard Roxy Gordon and “Indians”, but it was a firm favourite and he played it regularly on the radio. It ticked all the boxes – Wild West theme, big guitar and don’t-sweat-it attitude.

Roxy Gordon, Indians

Los Angeles is Indian, New York City ain’t

Africa is an Indian, but Europe ain’t

and baseball is an Indian, football ain’t

and Crazy Horse is an Indian, but General Custer wasn’t

and poetry is an Indian, journalism ain’t

and proper punctuation ain’t Indian

and Circles are Indian, and random lines are Indian but, straight lines won’t never, ever be Indian

and red met is Indian, corn is Indian and potatoes are Indian and fried bread is Indian and Health Food Stores try HARD to be Indian

and living is Indian, but expecting to live forever…. ain’t….. Indian…

Indians, by Roxy Gordon

Dad often liked to take a run through the personalities of the day deciding on who was ‘Indian’, in other words laid back, cool and righteous. And who was not!

I often think about the politicians, celebrities and wannabes today. And try to guess who would be ‘Indian’ in Dad’s eyes: Graham Norton, Tommy Tiernan, Nicola Sturgeon or Kier Stammer? Who knows? We will never know.

Roxy Gordon had passed away before Gerry started playing his song. I hope they sitting in a wigwam talking about who is an Indian… and who is not. 

Are you an Indian?

8 responses to “Are you an Indian?”

  1. Always loved this song when Gerry played it, and the discussions around who was an Indian, and who…ain’t…still doing it today with our current crop of politicians…most of them…ain’t

  2. One of my favourite songs that your Dad played! I’m so delighted to see it here again. I still judge people by whether they’re an Indian or ain’t.

  3. Loved those discussions and laughter about Indian or not…..anyone who hadn’t heard the rationale before would have been totally confused . ❤️

  4. Hi.this is my 3rd attempt to get sime Toejam info from you…many years ago my distant cousin Colum Arbuckle asked me to come to his house near the blue bridge in derry,i helped with recording the band..i loved working with them and wondering if you can tell me how i can hear any recordings you might have of them,ive been told that there is some recorded stuff around..can you please answer my question ? this is my 3rd time trying to get an answer…Jerry Reffered to me as being a friend of his on radio…thanks and hope you can help..ted.

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