Published online 23 March 2013 at Indian Country Today Media Network, and which will be included in their print edition, my article has prompted over a hundred comments on their Facebook page and among communities in Germany, the US, and others. Discussion can be a good thing, and most especially, education about the issues and situations being experienced. My post here on site: “You’re All the Same!” American Indians From a European Perspective” explains my motivation and the situation that prompted the story.
“Germany’s Obsession With American Indians Is Touching—And Occasionally Surreal” by Red Haircrow
“Like John Blackbird, I am Indian who lives in Germany—I am of Chiricahua Apache and Cherokee heritage, with a couple of dashes of other cultures. Like John Blackbird, I generally find life comfortable and productive in Germany, and for the most part I am accepted for who I am. I have met many Germans who are genuinely interested in and respectful of Native American cultures, and are aware of the struggles we’ve had in the past and continue to face today.
But I have met other, less endearing hobbyists….”
Read more at Indian Country Today Media Network.com.
Other essays and articles by Red Haircrow on Native American life, traditions, history & more:
4 thoughts on ““Germany’s Obsession With Native Americans…” My Article at Indian Country Today”
I am fascinated and bewildered by the German fascination with Indians. I just do not get it. That aside, I thought your story in ICD was lusciously presented and in-depth. Thank you and congratulations.
Although it was edited out by ICTMN staff due to space, what I’ve observed, experienced and received in comment through interviews is that a number of Germans do not feel comfortable “accessing” their own cultural heritages. Whether by outside opinion or personal guilt, these remind some of the fundamentals of the Nazi idealogy. It’s uncomfortable. They latch onto someone else’s roots instead. That’s one strong theory with substantiated examples.
Another thing is, because of them truly do not seem to comprehend, which sometimes leads to not really caring, they don’t get that appropriating or pretending to be someone else’s culture is offensive. They struggle with the rebukes or criticism, because they either see what they do as harmless fun or sincerely meant. Then they become defensive and are determined to do whatever they want, yet also read and study and order more regalia and procure any sacred items and otherwise they can get in order to validate their “sincerity.”
For those who use/combine/change ceremonies to suit themselves, some are sincere (which doesn’t change the fact they are misusing) but believe since they are doing it for (in their mind) right reason, why should anyone object. It seems a lack of comprehension because many no longer have any traditions, etc. to compare with the depth of Native American spirituality, life, etc. so they can comparatively perceive their error. Its also why the situation has fractioned so greatly.
There are respectful non-natives who work with natives to educate, but they are too few and often attacked by other Germans who want to do whatever they wish. And really, they can do so, we can’t stop them legally at this time, but I know part of the reason they can do so much is because they are not in North America, etc. where the sheer number of natives that would be against them would lessen their offenses.
Imagine if you have dozens of pow-wows full of non-native people in regalia they’ve bought, dancing and drumming after studying books and videos, conducting ceremonies after studying at schools like The Foundation of Shamanic Studies…where they can get their “shaman” degrees from non-natives as some kind of proof they are real? http://www.fss.at/ They’d be blocked and shut down, legally and personally challenged until they are lessened. Here they flourish.
German women seem to be very eager to sleep with native men. They book vacations here with native guides/outfitters and indulge in playing Indian for a week or so. Seen this, they are very aggressive. Also they parade around in ribbon shirts looking like jackasses. No matter how much they tan themselves they are still German and cannot become us and need to respect that they cannot change that.
You said it for real. The problem is rampant over here, where you have those who pretend to be Indian, buying several hundred dollars worth of stuff from natives back in the Americas, just so they can dress up. Plus the ones who read books and are now “experts” on us. The bottom line though is they just can’t get through their heads why we are not flattered and supportive of their play acting, even when they take themselves very, very seriously.
German women can be very aggressive, I’ve experienced it. They want their fantasies fulfilled. I’ve no interest of that kind. Yet it is a societal trait not only towards natives, but for most Germans if they become fixated on something, whatever it might be: they are very direct and aggressive about it comparatively, and think they should get what they want just because they asked or demanded. It is part of the reason I strongly feel there are so many Indian hobbyists, too. They think they have the right to do whatever they want just because they want it, and every/anyone should accept it, and in some cases even compliment them about it. Very strange, but typical.
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