McDonald’s Gives Away Gen. Custer Toys in Indian Country

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No one would ever expect to find a toy Ku Klux Klan figure in their Happy Meal in Mississippi, or for the McDonald’s in Tel Aviv to give out miniature Hitlers, so why would America’s legendary fast-food chain think it was good idea to give out toy replicas of General George Armstrong Custer in areas populated by American Indians? That’s the question on the minds of Native Americans living in the Midwest after finding out McDonald’s was giving away the Custer toys in Lakota country, which spans multiple states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana.

The Custer toy is part of McDonald’s tie in with the movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. In other words, a marketing scheme derived from a film that takes creative license with many of history’s most famous figures and events managed to trump either the memory or sensibilities of McDonald’s executives in regards to the actual history of one of America’s most reviled military commanders. Custer is best known to the Lakota as an ‘Indian killer” who once led an attack on a group of Cheyenne/Arapaho that resulted in the slaughter of men, women and children, and who was later killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
When Tim Giago, editor of the Native Sun News, contacted a local McDonald’s frequented by Lakota customers about reports of the Custer toy being given away, the manager referred him to the company’s Midwest regional office for comment. Instead of addressing the matter publicly, McDonald’s officials quietly recalled the toys from area restaurants.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Custer Rides Again in McDonald's Happy Meal (by Tim Giago, Huffington Post)


Noah G. Hoffman 14 years ago
This does not surprise me. The National Gallery of Art is the international center for research on Mark Rothko and own around 1000 of his pieces. Nearly all of his work is based on American Indian sources. He visited the Hopi and made numerous trips to the southwest. The NGA has all the current research on how American Indians were his primary visual source and they are sitting on this info. I have over 500 people following this story on Facebook including Kevin Gover, CEO of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Betsy Broun, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Rusty Powell, Director of the NGA has tried to supress this story which contradicts 20 years of research they have conducted. A link for more info: Thanks, Noah G. Hoffman

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