April 14, 2011

"Swindians" among the Sioux

A "Swindian" among the Sioux

By Marie-Christine BonzomSwiss woman Isabel Stadnick realised her dream of living among Native Americans when she settled in the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1989.

There in addition to raising a family, she runs a school where the Sioux language and culture is passed on to young members of the Oglala Lakota tribe.

Born in Brazil, Stadnick always felt drawn to the northern part of the American continent.

"My interest was not sparked by Western movies, no, it was my intuition, my whole mind was focused on the ‘Indian’ country, I always had this dream and since I was a child, my strongest interest was Indian culture," Stadnick told swissinfo.ch.
And the origin of the term "Swindians":She married the guide two months later, and the couple went on to have a son and two daughters, known as “Swindians” in the Pine Ridge reservation, because of their Swiss and Lakota parentage.

Isabel Stadnick, although not a member of the tribe, became an honorary member, thanks to her love of the Lakota and devotion to their cause.

In 1994 her husband opened a nursery school in Pine Ridge. After his death, three years later, Stadnick took over the running of the school, which combines education in the Lakota language and culture with the Waldorf teaching method, inspired by the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner.
Comment:  It's nice that Stadnick has devoted her life to helping Indians. I'm a little leery of anyone who says she loves Indians but latches onto the Lakota. Why that culture and not one of the hundreds of others across the continent? It suggests a mind influenced by the standard Plains stereotypes as propagated by Western movies.

For more on the European interest in Indians, see High-End Tours for Europeans and Bulgarians Like Indians.

Below:  "The Stadnick family. Isobel Stadnick (blonde hair) with her three children." (Pascal Mora)

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