In September 2015, I was contacted again by a magazine or news source asking for an interview on the topic of German Indian hobbyists. Michael Streck of STERN Magazine, one of German’s biggest news and entertainment publications was interested in my responses to comments made by hobbyists and on the topic itself.
Indian hobbyism is only a side topic I’ve previously observed and written about, as my main research interests and endeavors lies with actual Native Americans, their needs, issues, and concerns. Most especially and specifically on their healing. The connection between historical intergenerational trauma, the continuing mascot issue despite clear evidence it is directly harmful to natives, especially the youth, and how loss of identity and culture through many aspects of neo-colonialism and cultural appropriation (such as hobbyists activities) increases Native American challenges and problems as a whole.
For centuries, natives have been fighting simply to survive, to keep their cultures, traditions and beliefs intact without adulteration or mispresentation in the face of tremendous odds and near eradication. And then you have people who are not native that want to “be” you. As the saying goes, they want the culture without the struggle. They want to be “native” or at least at special events or in their club, to dress up and pretend, but they sure as hell don’t want to live the brutal, stark lives many natives still endure in the US and Canada because of people that look just like these hobbyists.
They claim to be raising awareness about native cultures, but many, if they admit it, are most concerned with attention to themselves, their groups, their activities and welcome and solicit admiration for their authenticity. Indeed, many take great care with buying native items or learning to create their own “native inspired” costumes. As Anglos, as white people, just their pretending is a slap in the face of natives whether they realize or admit it or not.
Their copying native songs, their singing, dancing and drumming, their attempts at ceremonies are sad in that most don’t know the history of the full extend of Anglo American and European oppression, past and present, of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. These same activities Germans and other Europeans are aping were by majority forbidden to natives until fairly recently. Only in 1978 were natives “allowed” to practice their beliefs without fear of arrest and imprisonment, which are demonstrated through their songs and dances. That’s just one example. So, its a huge problem.
It’s an ugly, ugly issue no matter how pretty they or others think they look in their leathers and feathers. Most refused to accept education or any correction, because they feel its their right to do so. It’s just fun. It’s just entertainment. Well, people who look and act like you killed millions of natives, and by your attitude, we know why. You take what you want without regard to those you take it from.
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