UPDATE: A reader sends this link. Apparently, these statues are everywhere. Maybe I saw the "Silver Creek Indian." If so, I was wrong about the loincloth. He's wearing pants. And that Nazi salute is supposed to be the "how" salute. Really? With the palm completely down and the arm fully outstretched? That's not how I remember it from old TV shows. Is the "how" salute considered respectful to Indian traditions? The linked website says:
The Silver Creek Indian was originally at the Iroquois Brewery in Buffalo, NY where he held bottle of beer in his outstretched hand. In the late 1950s, he was sold and moved to the Seneca Pottery and Gift Shop in East Avon, NY. His owners had the hand and bottle cut off and replaced with a saluting hand. When that business closed in 1998, the giant Indian was sold for $18,250 and moved to the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation where he salutes passing cars on I-90.
I guess my interpretation of what's offensive and what isn't should be affected by the fact that the statue is actually on an Indian reservation. And my reading of the hand gesture ought to be affected by knowing the character originally held a bottle of beer.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader suggests the Indian is part of the Muffler Man tradition. I'd thought of that, but believed the mark of the Muffler Man tradition was that the arms were in a position arranged for holding a muffler. But I guess they could redo the arm. Certainly, the basic Muffler Man statue gives you a big head start.