"Some fall for the imposter here." Larry says, "we have caught several imposters. They have their stories worked out right down to the name of their fictional Indian grandparents, and their story is believable and on track with our experiences in residential school, up to the contemporary racism against Indians."
The German people's only real interest in Indians is the clichè, Indian on horseback. A real Indian is not accepted until he looks like something he's not, a part of the cliché.
Writerfella here --
writerfella's own sister and brother-in-law have been invited to the summer celebration of Native American existence that takes place each year in Germany. They as yet have not decided if they will make such a journey, pre-paid and with large honoria notwithstanding. But they are tempted. The National Museum of The American Indian has endorsed such an appearance. Whatever occurs, it will be meaningful...
No matter how you look at it, it's just wrong! This weird and strange obsession the Germans have with the American Indian promotes a stereotypical and unrealistic view of us.
In my opinion, Germany is a breeding ground for every fraud, crackpot and predator who prey on hapless wannabes who think they have Indian blood. Even more so than in the U. S.
Writerfella here --
Watch out, Anonymouse! writerfella's great-great-great grandfather was Kohl-Aw-Khoy, 'wrinkle-neck', a German-Irish captive traded to the Kiowa tribe by the Comanches. writerfella does not merely claim to be a Germanic descendant, he are one!
Hey, slow down! ;) Otherwise you might end up in the same swamp of predjudice you are blaming others for. You are right, there are a lot of people in Germany that have a new-agey-Indian-on-horse problem (I apologize for those and their strange behaviour) - but you have plenty people like that here in the US too... On the other hand there are as many Germans that have a real interest, study a lot, travel with an open mind, listen, and are just terribly interested, in all of you, not just the ones with the horse and the big eagle feather regalia. The latter ones are just not so obvious since they won't jump at you like the average esoterical New-Ager with their stories of being reborn chiefs. If you are invited, go. Of course, whether it will be a good experience or not depends a lot on the people inviting you (I do not know which people invited you. there are a lot of such events every year). But you might be amazed by the native-american-style crafts there, surprised by the hospitality and by the real interest in you, if you are able to ignore/escape the esoterics of course. ;) Hint: look out for those that don't wear too much native american jewelery, stay a little bit behind and wait. We appreciate it a lot if you don't let yourself be repelled by the crazies. :) And even if you don't find us, maybe at least you manage to shake up the new-agey world view of some others. See it as being an ambassador. It's not always an easy job (today I had my 500th "Yes, I can live weeks without beer even though I'm German.") but one spreads the real image, one person at a time.
Nevertheless, I really like the newspaper rock page - not so many chiefs on horses here. ;)
Your point is well taken, Anonymous. This article related one person's experience with Germans and Indians. I didn't say it covered the universe of possible experiences.
I know Europeans are helping to preserve Native languages and cultures. For instance, I reported on a Swiss author who is doing this for the Blackfeet. If I learn of more Europeans making these efforts, I'll note them also.
i lived in germany for 10 years and came to understand that the germans view of north amaerican indians is one of great respect . they hold the values and beliefs of the indians to be very high, they do this to show there respect to a better way of life which they believe the world and especially nature deserves and is best shown through the american indians natural connection.
plus i think any promotion you can get should be viewd as good and you should be proud of it. But as a tattooist who is always asked to do indians i myself after 23 years get sick of the portrayal of the american indian , mainly its another sitting bull.....now thats boring
Re "any promotion you can get should be viewd as good": In other words, any publicity is good publicity? What if it's stereotypical, as in the case of sports mascots?
I'd say a stereotypical promotion is about as bad as no promotion. The goal should be accuracy and authenticity: seeing Indians as they are today, free of myths and stereotypes.
As a German, I am deeply embarrassed by Germans who play at (mostly Plains) Indians. I also don't understand it. There are certainly enough ancient Germanic tribes they could reenact. Why Indians?? It's very puzzling!
I'm part-German too, Conny. But my Schmidt ancestors came here in the 1840s, so you can't blame German "Indians" (or Nazis) on me. ;-)
Anyway, I keep trying to explain this wannabe phenomenon--to myself and to others. Here's one attempt:
Why Germans Love Indians
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