He was a devoted family man, apparently a sensitive and kind individual, and he wrote books that were forerunners of today's concerns with diversity. But in his newspaper he twice advocated genocide of Native Americans. He was L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, acclaimed world-wide as the Great American Fairy Tale.
Below are some of the comments received in support of the call to hold Baum accountable...no corrections to comments have been made by me:
I am quite surprised to learn these things of Baum. The only way I know him is through _The Wizard of Oz_, the movie and the book, which I have shown and read to my son.
I can't help but wonder if the person who wrote the editorials later changed in many ways to become the person who wrote the books, but I am glad that you are not going to let the facts die about Baum. Perhaps if Baum *did* become a different person in his life, his example can make different people of many in this country.
signature_date: April 10, 1996
I am truly shocked by the editorials written by L. Frank Baum in the late 1890's. I think his advocation of Indian extermination should be made known, so people can consider this insidious side of an otherwise wonderful man.
signature_date: 11 April 1996
Honor the man if you chose, but acknowledge ALL of his works - Honor the TRUTH.
You are in a position to foster the healing of an entire nation. Please acknowledge the mistakes of the past so that we may begin the healing for ourselves and for the generations to come. Sincerely, Joseph Thompson
Baum knew the value of other cultures but could not live with the task at hand---the work it would take to make real the 'Land of OZ'. He preferred to 'clear the decks' and start with his idea of an 'ideal' world. He did not realize that an 'ideal' world had already existed for centuries, and that the 'Waschitu' had overbalanced the 'ideal' with super-powerful evil witches! I have to re-evaluate my childhood favorite!
signature_date: April 13, 1996
Though L. Frank Baum gave us the beloved Land of Oz tales, it must be remembered that he edited a newspaper during the terrible time of anti-Indian feeling leading up to the killing of Sitting Bull and the massacre at Wounded Knee. He twice wrote editorials calling for the extermination of the entire Sioux Nation. Baum was not alone in his horrifying calls for genocide. Many historians believe that it was newspaper-induced hysteria that led to the massacre.
L. Frank Baum's misuse of his great talent in the promotion of genocide holds a lesson we need. Gifted individuals develop a following. Perhaps your efforts will cause at least a few to be more thoughtful regarding where they lead.
I firmly believe that our present ills are largely a result of the burden we must bear for our treatment of the Indians. We did not learn the lessons from them that we should have, and until we do, things will only get worse. Let's begin the healing now.
It's interesting who this country chooses to be it's heroes. It's too bad that oftentimes these "heroes" turn out to be the worst people.....
The truth will make us free.
I was shocked to read these editorial excerpts, coming as they did, from the pen of a man whose work I'd admired so. They are disgusting.
signature_date: 19 April 1996
To arrive at some sort of justice with the people of the present, we must remember the injustices of the past. Until we remember we will not act. Thanks for posting this petition -- informative, eloquent, and active.
I have wondered myself what constructive things I could do now, more than 100 years later, a white, to further the growth of the Native American culture in this society. I gladly sign this petition, and I am heartened that through the technology of the Internet Native American messages such as yours will now reach out into this society and perhaps effect change more rapidly than was possible before. Good luck to you!
I had no choice about the color of my skin at birth. I had no choice regarding the actions of my ancestors - real or imagined. I had no choice or participation in the harm perpetrated by one human being to another human being.
I do have a choice, now. The violence must end. The hatred must stop. We must not continue to use race or gender as an excuse -- either as to commit an act or as the victim.
I am sure that not all injustice can be made right. What can, should be. The most important thing, is to press forward and teach our children -- not only with words but by our actions -- that it is wrong to harm another. That all life has value. That people should be free to pursue their own destiny. That no human system of government has the right to suppress and control any population at any time for any reason.
This I believe.
Obviously he was a complex man. All aspects of his personality should be included in this commemerative festival---even the dark side. Only in this way can the full be told and understood. For shame on those who fail to support this search for truth.
I was born in Aberdeen, and just came across this site on the Internet. I believe my Aunt Hertha (sp?) who was married to my Uncle, Gus Melcher, of Aberdeen was related to Mr. Baum. I agree with this petition, and look forward to becoming more aware of information about the Baum festival
We as Americans must look at our own history honestly, to recognize both the possible horrors and possible beauty that is a potential in all humankind. Only then can we protect each other from repeating the horrors of the past.
signature_date: 11 May 1996
Acknowledgement and Apologies are desperately needed.
I have already voiced my oposition to the nedals of honor for the soldiers that committed the murders of unarmed men, women and children at Wounded Knee. These medals need to be taken away because they surely are not deserved. I also voice opostition to this man Baum for writing about the genocide of the Lakota people and if his articles are the cause of the massacre at Wounded Knee, then he definetely needs to be held accountable and charged with murder for inciting this cruel action. This message is to support Dr. Wagner in her efforts to ensure L. Frank Baum is held accountable for his actions and to cancel the celebration for L. Frank Baum.
signature_date: May 18, 1996
When we who are non-tribal realize certain truths about the cultural biases and prejudices of our literary and political heroes, it can only serve to make us aware of our own cultural biases and prejudices. This is a good thing. We owe it to our children and to our children's children to learn to listen to the voices that can tell us the stories of all peoples. Thank you.
If only it hadn't taken this long. Maybe someday "Wasichu" will come to mean something positive. Thank you for this info.
signature_date: may 24, 1996
I read about Mr. Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz in The American Holocaust by Stannard, a book which put a different lights forever on American history. The story now seems sinister as a murderer inclown's clothing. Perhaps I'm unfair to Mr. Baum but his words were appalling as is so much of Native American history even as of today.
This is a right thing to do, to tell the truth and own the pain of it.
Healing comes from the inside out. Native peoples have much to teach about peace. Let us learn peace. Mcwitch.
Understanding that this man is no longer alive to face these charges, any people gathering to honor him should be very informed about his racist views. This attitute will not be tolerated in this American country. No other race would tolerate it, for heaven's sake, non-Americans can expect to be treated civally or sue. Expect that Natives will no longer be silent and shamed.
The death I fear is not a physical one, but the death of the will, the soul, the mind, and thus not a death at all, but a perpetual dying.....
I am an American History teacher and I teach in a school with a 15% Native American population. I have been studying late 19th century populism with my students and use Baum's work to point out the allegorical nature of his writing. This information interested me a great deal and I support your efforts.
Its time to stop the injustice and bring the real truth out...Alan
Mr. Baum's legacy should not be tarnished by our lack of courage in addressing both the positive and negative aspects of our past. I support the effort to reach out to those that have been the victims of past injusice. If we do not have the fortitude to honestly address the past then we should expect that we and our children will oneday repeat the mistakes of the past.
signature_date: Feb 5 1997
My limited knowledge of Native American issues doesn't qualify me to speak with authority. My opinion is that ignorance of these issues is the reason for inactivity/apathy on the part of whites. I see parallels between what is happening in Tibet and what occured here in this country.
In a history class, we studied the elections of 1896 and 1900. We were given an article on the Wizard of Oz in relation to these elections and I was fascinated by the possible connection. When I looked for more info, I never expected to find all this. I found myself glued to the reading.
The history of the united states of america is a strange kind of history. The written history seems to be only what white america wants other white americans to know. ----- It has nothing to do with the truth.
Rescind the medals of dis-Honor
Dr. Wagner's Testimony Regarding the Massacre at Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee Home Page
First Nations Cumulative Index
Please provide an opinion as to this site and it's material.