Human Zoo: For Centuries, Indigenous Peoples Were Displayed as Novelties – ICTMN.com

Human Zoo: For Centuries, Indigenous Peoples Were Displayed as Novelties – ICTMN.com

You studied a group of indigenous Aymara Bolivians who were brought to New York destined for the Chicago fair, but got stranded in New York. What happened?
These men were brought to the U.S. to be displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, but they never made it to Chicago. They attempted to make a living putting on their own musical shows in New York and Philadelphia, but everywhere they went they were basically told that they weren’t exotic enough. After an unsuccessful tour with a circus through Philadelphia, the group was abandoned by their managers and José Santos Mamani, the member of the group dubbed the “giant” by the press, died shortly after they walked back to New York City. The rest of the group eventually found work in fairs and on Coney Island, but could only find work making feather headdresses and performing supposed North American Native American dances for a New York audience. They struggled to make it back to Bolivia, and I’ve only been able to trace them as far as Panama on their return journey.

One comment

  1. though fully aware is this history it always hits me right in the face whenever I see this.

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