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February 13, 2021

CANOE be Valentine? A Collection of 20 Valentine’s Day Cards From the Mid-20th Century Punning Native Americans

Like portrayals of African-Americans, images of Native Americans on valentines and other ephemera reflected the racial attitudes of the time in which they were created.

Some vintage cards here may be uncomfortable to view, but we feel it is important to remember how recent and pervasive the use of racist and ethnic caricatures were in mundane, daily entertainment. It normalized negative stereotypes in a way that made overt institutionalized racism such as the residential schools for Native American children possible.

That’s not to say we don’t still see such imagery around today – we do – and while there is plenty of room for improvement, we have come a long way in that it is not as common, not as ordinary, not as accepted in mainstream society without any real challenge as it was, in our (not all that distant) past.

CANOE be Valentine?

HONEST INJUN Valentine! If you ever get outta my “SIGHT”... It’ll be an-ARROW escape!

Don’t be so CHILLY Sweetheart

“HOW” ’bout us be-um Valentines Me not Squaw-k. Be-um mine.

Honest Injun I like you Heap lot.

Honest Injun... I want you for my Valentine!

I’m no Indian Giver. I wampum you Valentine!

I’m huntin’ for you! Be mine?

Me go on “WAR PATH” ’Til get um Valentine

I’m sending a sign Be My Valentine!

I’ll not be con-TENT Honest Injun.

My heart beats like a tom-tom When I think of you, Dear Valentine.

I’m sending this ARROW CHIEFLY to say Let me be your BEAU My Valentine.

You’ve kindled a spark of love in my heart my Valentine

With Valentine Greetings

I want to be the CHIEF Interest in your Life

Valentine Greetings

Ugh! Ugh! Give me your heart Valentine!

I’d be UPSET if you said NO - “CANOE” be My Valentine?

I’m HUNTING for you Valentine

(via Vintage Valentine Museum)


  1. Are you guys racists?

  2. I Get rather tired of white progressives today imposing their views on the past. After all how many native americans were offended back then?




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