Tremendous Event! 12-15 October: Reparation Days 2017 & #NativeAmerican Remains in German Museums

There are hundreds, and doubtless thousands of Native American sacred items, objects and human remains in Germany. Before and after, but especially during their colonial period (1871-start of WWI) graverobbing, looting and theft by German “scientists” took place around the world, including North America. This past week I participated in Reparation Days 2017, with final event the Conference: Prussian Colonial Heritage, and added their signature to a powerful resolution along with representatives from Japan, Australia, Tanzania, Namibia and others who had been robbed, and which Germany had repeatedly denied and/or minimized reparations for the genocide. Many just know the European Jewish Holocaust, but the 1st genocide took place in Africa, but it gets far less, if any, attention and it is not taught in German schools or any of their colonial crimes.

This is a huge, on-going issue as the Humboldt Forum is now being constructed. It is a multimillion dollar recreation of their emperor’s palace, which will house all of this loot taken, including the bodies of the dead. Finally, the peoples and communities most affected are being denied a voice and place in the decision-making process of recognition and repatriation.

The English version of the resolution and press release is below the German one, and you’ll see the list of speakers and representatives, that included myself and Wanbli Gleska Tohake, my mentor and sponsor in AIM Central Texas, who is Lakota from Rosebud Reservation. The decolonization struggle continues worldwide.

It begins: “We, the undersigned speakers, presenters and participants of the transnational conference “Prussian Colonial Heritage: Sacred Objects and Human Remains in Berlin Museums” on October 14/15, 2017 in the Centre Français de Berlin recognize that communities all over the world have lost a considerable part of their cultural heritage, including even “sensitive materials” – comprising “sacred objects” and “human remains” – by force and fraud in the wake of colonial conquests.”  Read the full resolution here at the Berlin Post-Kolonial website.

Other photos from the venue made by me.

 

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The Challenges & Realities of Humboldt Forum in #Berlin #NoHumboldt21

Three years ago I wrote an article for Indian Country Today Media Network, which was titled “Naked Faux Savages and Neo-Racism in Berlin”, to which I posted a link here on my blog. A particular museum in Berlin has chosen to have a theater troupe perform a fake potlatch ceremony, in which naked performers sexualized their interpretation of such an indigenous gathering. The museum’s director Viola König continues to work for the Humboldt Forum project, and to me symbolizes all that is wrong with the project: the entire idea and still being built edifice to its colonial brutality hidden behind a “civilized” facade.

The challenge and reality is European museum directors, curators, supporters and others, including many of the European visitors have benefited from white privilege and supremacy for centuries, educated to believe this is civilized, conservative behavior to preserve what remains of certain cultures and peoples for posterity. This is the lie of the whole thing, and ignores the crimes against the survivors who have been petitioning and ignored though rightfully demanding their peoples objects be repatriated.

When anyone has been taught that culturally abuse, misinterpretation, misrepresentation and misattribution is normal, who have been taught to believe these things are civilized parts of their society, they keep perpetuating these crimes. Other challenges and realities is that there are persons who work for Humboldt forum and/or within the German (colonial) museum system who recognize and admit these are stolen items but who wish to keep their jobs.

On 15 October I will participate is a two-day event titled, “Prussian Colonial Heritage”, which discussions and challenges the continuing colonial practices and behaviors where Europeans justify and excuse the monumental crimes against other cultures, primarily those of people of color, and their refusal to return stolen objects, sacred items and even the remains of indigenous peoples and others. Protests against the project have continued before and since the foundation stone was laid in 2013, and the Humboldt Forum’s planned completion is 2019. Another protest is planned for 20 September, as members of various organizations such as Post-Kolonial Berlin, continue to work a forcible change in policy and protocols at HF and other museums.

From the 2014 article at ICTMN: “The Ethnological Museum continues to be the center of controversy regarding cultural insensitivity, misinformation and shock-value displays of indigenous items from around the world. One such was a display case of sacred Native items alongside a crushed Budweiser can and empty flask of whiskey, with a blurb stating that the biggest problem among Native Americans was alcoholism.

The museum’s director, Viola König, defended the sexualized performance and the museum’s collection. “Das Helmi were simply, playfully implementing all typical contemporary prejudices in a vivid, imaginative way to entertain,” she said. Regarding the controversial objects and displays in the museum, she said, “Organizers of the Humboldt Lab said, ‘Cultural appropriation is always a violent act, and direct or structural violence were likely used in acquiring many objects of our ethnological collections, but they still need to be shown.’”

Filming for #Winnetou-My Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor: Ojibwe Playwright, Author & Filmmaker’s Documentary

Ojibwe playwriter, author & filmmaker Drew Hayden Taylor is visiting Germany again, filming for his upcoming documentary on the continuing Winnetou phenomenon, stereotyping…and playing of “Native” by Germans and other Europeans. I was interviewed for a segment in the eventual production, on why I’m in Germany and also making a film, but mine is more on why it’s time to Forget Winnetou, due to the German societal issues of racism, neo-colonialism and stereotyping directly contributing to strife and intercultural turmoil. Afterwards, we walked to a local café and had casual conversation and coffee with the crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Drew’s bio: Taylor is a prolific author and playwright with over 27 published books and numerous writing awards to his credit. He was born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario Canada and still lives there. Learn more about his current trip here.

 

New Trailer for #Documentary “Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany” (2017)

The new trailer for “Forget Winnetou!” is here. Deutsch version here. This is the longer, explanatory trailer, but we will do a short teaser (50-59s), too. Thank you to all the participants and constructive feedback, and we look forward to sharing the finished documentary with everyone in December!

Intro: “What does a world look like that respects indigenous peoples, that’s working to end racism, colonialism and intersecting oppression on a global scale? A part of that is stopping stereotyping, and Native stereotypes are some of the most pervasive and recognized, but most don’t know their origins or the real harm they do.”

Coming December 2017, “Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany”. Directed & Produced by Red Haircrow, Associate Producer Timo Kiesel. Learn more at https://forgetwinnetou.com/ and http://forgetwinnetou.de/.

 Video Editing:
Red Haircrow

 Video Footage:
Red Haircrow
Timo Kiesel
Mark Williams
Viveka Frost

 Still Photographs:
Jen Osborne
Bernd Sauer-Diete
Viveka Frost
Red Haircrow
Timo Kiesel

 Main Participants:
Kendall Old Elk and family
Stefka Ammon
Johnny Clyde
Johnnie Jae

Music:
“Deep Haze” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)-Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.

Flying With Red Haircrow Productions

 

Another Pop-Up Cinema in #Berlin, #Free Screening & Discussion of “Reel Injun” (2010) on 27 July

I’ll be speaking at the Pop-up Cinema screening of “Reel Injun” on 27 July, with Berlinale NATIVe in association with Humboldt Forum. The event takes place at MACHmit! Kinder Museum at Senefelder 5/6 in Prenzlauer Berg, 10437, Berlin. Please follow BerlinaleNAtive to learn of upcoming events, as several more are planned through the end of summer, with films from around the world.

Topic: “What kind of image do Native Americans have in Westerns, what do the cowboy-and-Indian myths mean for North America, and how did this genre shape the way cinema developed? In the German-speaking world, Karl May’s Wild West fantasies and Pierre Brice, the “French Winnetou”, still influence people’s notions and images of Native Americans in North America. In this second part of its programme, the Pop-Up Cinema invites you to watch two very different films, both of which question the familiar clichés of prairie romanticism.2
DANCE TO MISS CHIEF
D: Kent Monkman, 2010, 5 min, music video
REEL INJUN
D: Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge, Jeremiah Hayes, Canada 2010, 88 min, English with German subtitles
ADMISSION
free
———
“Was ist das Bild der amerikanischen Ureinwohner in Westernfilmen, was bedeuten Cowboy- und Indianermythen für Amerika und wie hat all das die Entwicklung des Kinos beeinflusst? Karl Mays Wildwest-Wunschträume und der „französische Winnetou“ Pierre Brice prägen unsere Vorstellungen und Bilder von Native Americans in Nordamerika bis heute. Das Pop-up Cinema lädt in seinem zweiten Filmblock zu zwei sehr unterschiedlichen Filmen, die beide jedes bekannte Klischee von Prärieromantik hinterfragen.
DANCE TO MISS CHIEF
R: Kent Monkman, 2010, 5 Min, Musikvideo
REEL INJUN
R: Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge, Jeremiah Hayes, Kanada 2010, 88 Min, Englisch mit deutschen Untertiteln
EINTRITT
frei