Originally, the Indians were to have a somewhat larger role than now. In the first scene for Never Land, the Indians were to be involved in a chase including the Lost Boys and the Pirates. Later on after Peter Pan rescued Tiger Lily, they became security guards for Hangmen Tree, Peter Pan's hideout and battle with the pirates during an ambush.
The Lost Boys go out to capture Indians which they do on a regular basis. They are ambushed and captured by the Indians instead and are held captive. The Lost Boys are baffled by the Indians who believe the Lost Boys kidnapped their missing Princess Tiger Lily. The Indian Chief demands her return by sunset or the boys will be burned to death. Peter Pan rescues the Princess who has really been kidnapped by Captain Hook. They free the boys and reward Peter making him an Indian Chief. A party follows and the Indians and not seen for the remainder of the film.
None of the Indians make an appearance but in the episode "Basketballs Aweigh", a basketball court built by the Indians was visited by Jake and his crew as well as Captain Hook. When first seen, vocalizations of the Indians were briefly heard.
Racial stereotyping of Native Americans
Although loved by families for decades, Peter Pan has been seen as politically incorrect in recent years due to the way Disney portrayed the Native American "Indians" in the film. They are stereotypical and considered by some to be offensive. They are displayed as wild, savage, violent and speak in a stereotypical way. The characters often call them savages and at one point Captain Hook refers to them as "redskins". John, Michael and the Lost Boys go hunting them like animals (the Lost Boys mention tigers and bears as other alternatives). The "What Made the Red Man Red?" song is highly controversial because the Indians themselves are reflecting on how they got the color of skin; that Indian men maintain a permanent blush due to their constant pursuit of Indian women, and that asking "How?" is a major catalyst for Indian education. These stereotypes are present in J.M Barrie's play and many films of the time (mainly Westerns and cartoons). Marc Davis, one of the supervising animators of the film said in an interview years after the production that "I'm not sure we would have done the Indians if we were making this movie now. And if we had we wouldn't do them the way we did back then."
- Due to their derogatory nature, none of the Indians return in Return to Never Land.
- In Jake and the Never Land Pirates, the cliff where the Indian Camp is in Peter Pan appears empty. It is obvious that the whole tribe has moved, where they reside during the show is unknown.