To discover that one of popular music's most famous and enduring composers wrote a march-characteristic called ‘The Red Man’ immediately arouses curiosity about the nature and substance of such a work, the reasons for writing it, and how audiences received it. John Philip Sousa composed ‘The Red Man’ in 1910 for his world tour and, like much of his music, it is still played and recorded today. I will attempt to answer these questions by examining this lesser-known but highly distinctive Sousa composition in detail. That necessarily involves seeing the piece through a variety of lenses. Since the way in which audiences listen to music has fundamentally changed in a hundred years, the closest we can come to hearing the piece through ears of 1910 is to explore a variety of critical responses from the time published in newspapers in different countries. Since these accounts are written in a stylistic language considerably different from the way modern critics write about music, the responses need to be seen in context. Many were rooted in notions of race and ethnicity prevalent among the middle- and upper-class audiences for which Sousa composed. Moreover, Sousa's audiences listened with a host of associations that accrued during the nineteenth century and are lost to us today. This was enhanced by the type of programmes on which ‘The Red Man’ was performed, which encouraged the perception of music through a national or exotic lens, or through the filter of a narrative. The musical language of this ‘Indian’ piece is hardly unique, since it owes many of its metaphors to Sousa's contemporaries. For all his originality, Sousa was also an expert assimilator. There isn’t space here to examine every derivation in this work, but by exploring a few of them we can learn much about his music and his audiences.