This song is cut from nearly every modern production and is today regarded by many as an offensive caricature almost on the level of the Minstrel-Show “coon songs”, only aimed at another minority. But while there are certain undeniable pressures to not perform it anymore, its negative reputation, like most politically correct overreactions, is something of an oversimplified exaggeration. Unlike the numbers for the “Indians” in Peter Pan, which were completely innocent and unironic and thus are far more uncomfortable to watch today, this song was already intended as a tongue-in-cheek sendup of stereotypes when it was written. Remember that the proudly ignorant and dangerously naive Annie has no real knowledge or understanding of what Native American culture really entails, so she substitutes a laundry list of cliche cultural trappings associated with them…and from the very beginning, that was intended to be the joke. The reason this song tends to make modern listeners uncomfortable is that this satire is delivered far more bluntly and heavy-handedly than anyone would dare to attempt today on such a topic. So while the show has admittedly dated enough that certain corrective revisions are needed for most productions, this song, like the rest of the show’s portrayal of Native Americans (including the character of Chief Sitting Bull), isn’t as straightforwardly offensive as it seems to some modern ears, and in fact contains several subtly subversive elements that were actually quite progressive for the era in which the show was written.
Verdict: I understand why it can’t be in the show anymore, but it was an effective and even subtly progressive joke in its day, and even now it doesn’t deserved to be pilloried as “racist” the way it generally is these days.