At ICTMN “Naked Faux Savages and Neo-Racism in Berlin”

“Nothing is sacred!” the motto of Das Helmi.

“At the Ethological Museum’s Humboldt Lab in Berlin, the play Captain Jacobsen recently premiered, featuring a performance by the group Das Helmi that culminated with brightly painted and masked dancers provocatively presenting what was supposed to be Natives of the Northwest during a potlatch feast.

The dancers writhed intertwined and rode on each other’s backs in what was described as “a naked orgy of naked savages“ by the museum’s outraged former curator of the North American Collection, Peter Bolz (who retired in 2012). Males wore socks that covered their genitalia but most of the young female dancers were naked as they playfully simulated sexual wildness before an audience that included small children.

The play is about the ethnologist Adrian Jacobsen, who traveled to the Northwest Coast to trade with the Kwakiutl, Haida and other tribes, and much of his acquired booty is still at the museum to this day. At its premiere in September, the recreation of his adventures received mixed reviews.

“Part of the audience saw it as an innovative experiment, and part saw it as a form of neo-racism against Native Americans,” said Bolz. “Imagine if representatives of these Indigenous Peoples had been present in the hall. They would immediately leave Berlin under protest and never come back!”

Other opinions were even more harsh…..”

Read my full article at Indian Country Today Media Network  http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/10/20/naked-faux-savages-and-neo-racism-berlin-157423
 
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Photos were taken by Dr. Bolz.

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