German Museum’s Lastest on Human Remains? WE Decide, Not You. We’re in Control. #Repatriation

These photos were taken by and copyright to Mark Worth, used with his permission.

This photo was taken by and copyright to Mark Worth, used with his previous permission.

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 don’t yet have written guidelines and established protocols using only their logic and reasoning, 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 general interested villagers, you’re dealing with but those who consider themselves experts and wish to remain in control as decisionmakers. 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.

Crowdfunding campaign is Live now.
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My past articles and appearances on the topic of these human remains:

Karl May Museum Reneges on Agreement to Return #NativeAmerican Scalps

#Documentary News On “Forget Winnetou!”-Welcoming Johnnie on Board!

yvpnznsxWe’re pleased to have Johnnie Jae as an interviewee! Speaking on Native stereotypes and the effects on all concerned, sure, but mostly on what Natives are doing now. What’s going on? How do Natives respond to continued misrepresentation? Why is decolonization so important?

“Johnnie Jae is of the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw tribes of Oklahoma, the founder of A Tribe Called Geek, managing partner of Native Max Magazine , and contributor to Native News Online. She is the manager and producer for the Success Native Style Radio Network. She is also a founding board member of Not Your Mascots and Live Indigenous OK.”
Description and her podcast interview from/on NextGen Natives.


Please visit our film links for Forget Winnetou! for more information on our upcoming film on Native stereotypes, cult characters and their connection to colonialism and racism. #DecolonizeNow!

“Forget Winnetou!” Help Us Reach our #Crowdfunding Goal

crowdfundeditThe crowdfunding campaign for our documentary film Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany is now live. Please drop by, read more about the story behind our film, our aims and who is involved. Check out our perks and consider donating but most of all, we just ask that you please help us out by sharing our message around in some way.

What’s unique about our documentary? To date, there is no other film or project like it in Germany that addresses the issue of stereotyping, and which includes a strong, wider perspective from Native Americans. We’ll present “healthier” more culturally respectful ways that decolonize minds and media, while giving Natives an opportunity to present themselves.

Crowdfunding campaign link https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/forget-winnetou–2/x/6473967.

Website https://forgetwinnetou.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/forgetwinnetoufilm/
Twitter https://twitter.com/forgetwinnetou/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/forgetwinnetou/
IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6494700/?ref_=nv_sr_1

At Red Rising Magazine-“Professions-What do “Real Natives” Do?”

My latest think piece at Red Rising Magazine, featuring a photo of our graphic artist Natasha John, from our documentary Forget Winnetou!. Please visit RRM for the full article.
rr-art

The definitions of “real Indian” as opposed to “not authentic” Indian, based on ancestry or blood quantum level, or additionally on physical appearance, dress, behavior and attitude, can be compared to deciding what is a traditional or non-traditional profession as a means to judge dedication or connection to heritage and culture. This all being distinctly aside and separate from non-natives claiming to be natives, or those with distinctly questionable native heritage appropriating and then benefiting from being “Native” in non-native circles, mind you.

In whatever indigenous tribe, people or group, for the majority the reality and understanding maybe that there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) division between anything done, spoken, achieved or studied so as to be considered non-traditional or traditional. It is all connected. There is no compartmentalization of belief, activity or work. In everything you do, whether recognizable to others as “native”, it is Native because you as a Native did it, accomplished it, and added to it from who and what you are.”

My Short Clip On AlJazeera “The Listening Post” #NoDAPL & Media’s “Scant” Attention

Last week I was contacted by a representative from AlJazeera English, to give my response to a few questions about mainstream media’s minimal coverage of the largest “protest” in modern American history, and what kind of issue it was: Native only? Environmental? The resulting report was published on Dec. 10, 2016 at the Al Jazeera website and also the video on YouTube.

QUESTIONS:

1. The Dakota pipeline protest has been reported as the longest-running protest in modern American history, and yet from October 26 through November 3 the US mainstream cable networks spent less than an hour covering the demonstrations and violent law enforcement response.  Why hasn’t the issue received the coverage many feel it deserves?

2. The Dakota pipeline has been depicted as a Native America issue, “their” issue, rather than an issue that could affect millions of Americans on the Missouri River. What have the last few months told us about how the media cover Native Americans?

3. What about the environment? Do the mainstream media simply not care about major environmental stories?

MY RESPONSE

(though it was edited to some seconds):

“Even as a baseball team with a native mascot, a stereotype, said to honor natives was cheered, mostly white militarized police were attacking real natives over oil, while local media stirred hatred and mainstream ignored it.

Anything most white Americans don’t think affects them personally, they minimize or ignore. In particular, if forced to look at the original peoples of Turtle Island, the conditions many live in because of European invasion and centuries of abuse just like we’re seeing at Standing Rock: it’s the natives own fault. Never theirs, even though everything they have is based on their proficiency as liars, thieves and killers, as Simon Ortiz recently said.

The majority of police, prosecutors, judges, the media heads are all white. In society and in news, they don’t want anything or anyone threatening that status quo or that highlights the vast inequity, injustice and racism of the USA. The indigenous led movement at Standing Rock is doing that.”