A sincere thank you to everyone who came out to participate and help with filming great scenes that will be included in upcoming documentary Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes and as production extras for the DVD! It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon in Germany beside the picturesque Tegelsee in Berlin. As I am almost exclusively “behind the camera”, it was nice to finally see myself in photos, which were taken by Viveka Frost and Haven Smith, who are part of our team.
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/.
“Threatened by Beads” and “The Color of Your Skin”, two of my poems in Red Ink: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities, on the topic of Native Americans, racism, colorism and prejudice. Pick up a copy, as there are many great artists and writers yet again in the Winter 2016 edition. Just got my contributor’s copy this week!
This land does not belong to us. It is not ours. We don’t know the stories here. Our ignorant bliss offends and desecrates. We remain an enemy to all life. This is a hard understanding because it asks us to stop and consider how blindly we walk on stolen land that is not ours. We […]
A “case study” by Robin Leipold, curator of the Karl May Museum in Radebeul, Germany. Karl May is the German author who created the stereotypical “American Indian” character Winnetou, peopling his dozens of books and later films with fabricated, mythical, heavily distorted “Indians”, but “positive” characters, not the vicious or dumb savages churned out by the USA. That’s why some try to claim it’s not so bad, and No, it’s not the same, but the effects of stereotyping are.
Forum: R. Leipold: The “Recommendations for the Care of Human Remains” in Practice: Case Study of the Karl May Museum Radebeul
This town is Germany is the homebase for Karl May fans, and hosts an annual festival each May. A festival which some Natives are invited to and attend, and without fail and no sarcasm whatsoever, are treated close to royalty as many Germans were introduced to “native culture” through May’s work and natives who dress and are believed to be traditional and thus “authentic”, due to appearance based on stereotypes, most certainly are. One isn’t faulting them, most have been misinformed for decades. There are lots of sincere people in Germany about native concerns as they understand them, but behavior and practices of the dominant culture still remain: appropriation. We believe it’s a unique opportunity that can benefit both, but this particular situation is unacceptable.
This same musuem (and others in Germany, but especially this one because they say they’re celebrating native culture) has been holding and refusing to return Native American scalps for years. Dismissing or ignoring entreaties to return these relatives home for proper, respectful treatment and burial. I was contacted and alerted in 2013 and began researching and writing, and by 2014, when invited to the festival I declined to participate in a “Q&A” on Native spirituality, not just because I won’t take part in any such affair but because of their holding native captives. So, almost 3 years of talks, negotiated and bluster, this is the latest from the museum.
Full of Eurocentrized interpretations of Native American cultures and practices, dripping with colonialism and pure German rationalé: that since they haven’t yet written guidelines and established protocols using only their logic and reasoning, the human remains cannot be returned. The level of white privilege and white supremacist behavior, the objectification of Native peoples is so deep, I could barely read the whole. So much for those who call themselves “Indian” experts, knowledgeable of native peoples and cultures, because obviously they have no respect or understanding of the Peoples, or even of cultural bridges.
And part of all this is reinforced when Natives and other allies are told, because we’ve been repeatedly told these exact phrases by staff and directors from KKM:
- “Natives have visited many times and THEY never complained about the scalps.” (How could they, they were your guests!)
- “Oh, natives were battling each other all the time and taking these trophies, what is the issue of us having them?” (If you can’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to. Multiple Native individuals, nations and organizations have informed you.)
Or by Natives: “They don’t know. We must educate them” On topics like these? They KNOW, they chose to ignore. When you’re not here year round, aren’t aware of the issues and know what they’re doing otherwise, your presence validates and further exacerbates the continuing colonialism, racism and silencing of minorities and ethnicities’ voices so they can continue their privileged play. These aren’t generally interested villagers you’re dealing with but those who consider themselves experts and wish to remain in control as decision-makers. Unacceptable. There are people who you can reach and help educate, and that’s what our documentary Forget Winnetou-Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany is about. We’ve been researching and working hard to bring it to the world, about the REAL story behind Germany’s fascination with Natives, and it’s fall-out. Help us reach our goal.
My past articles and appearances on the topic of these human remains: