Names have been taken from one of Magic Kingdom’s oldest attractions, most likely to remove a culturally insensitive and outmoded turn. Disney World deleted two allusions to “Injun Joe” from its Tom Sawyer’s Island attraction at Magic Kingdom earlier this week. A sign labeled “Injun Joe’s Cavern” was removed from the island, and the name plank of a raft named after the character was painted over. The name boards for the other rafts in the attraction, which were named after Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, were also painted over by Disney.
Injun Joe, a half-Native American grave robber who commits various crimes, including murder, during The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is the book’s antagonist. Sawyer and his pals observe Joe do or plot to commit crimes, and Sawyer is unwittingly responsible for the character starving to death within a locked cave. Twain portrayed the character as intrinsically wicked and irredeemable, with numerous characters in the novel saying that his terrible personality sprang from his Native American ancestry.
While The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is considered a classic in American literature, the novel is frequently criticized for the portrayal of Injun Joe, whose name incorporates a disparaging epithet for Native Americans. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that Disney World has eliminated references to the figure, especially after promising more diversity and inclusiveness last year. In recent years, several additional attractions, like the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean, have undergone upgrades to remove negative stereotypes.
This isn’t the first time a section of Tom Sawyer Island has been altered to remove negative preconceptions. The island also used to have a burning hut with its inhabitant dead on the ground with an arrow in his chest, implying that he was slain by people of a nearby Native American community. After complaints from guests, the cabin was converted into a moonshine distillery in the 1980s, and the cabin’s perpetually burning flames were turned off in the late 1990s.
Professor Tom Morrow was originally a spacecraft missions director who oversaw spacecraft travels from Earth to the moon, notably with the Moonliner space-ship. In later attractions, Mr. Morrow is the mayor of Tomorrowland and a promoter of the latest technological advancements.
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