Nov 30th: “Modern Germany’s Cognitive Dissonance on Racism & its Roots in Karl May’s Legacy” at Brandeis University

In cooperation with the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA, we’ll do an online film screening and discussion with viewers and students on Monday, 30 November 2020.

“Most Americans don’t know who Karl May is, and Germans no longer read his “American Indian” fiction that once inspired generations. Fewer still connect its legacy to persistent “acceptable” racism in all facets of German society, despite research clearly linking the stereotyping of “Others” to the rise of Eurocentrism, normalized intolerance and white supremacist ideology in western society.”

Learn more about the university, this department and its missions and goals at their website.

Repatriation, the #KarlMayMuseum & #Racism in #Germany – Why I had to complete this #documentary #ForgetWinnetou!

6yrs later.

6 years after I was contacted by an American shocked by the fact the Karl May Museum was displaying human remains. Beginning in 2014, I wrote several articles on the situation published at Indian Country Today, the largest Native news outlet in the USA. The work goes on, and some progress is being made but apathy is a constant.

And don’t dare say, “You have to be patient, these things take time”. Why? Because that is solely based on White time and privilege. They don’t need any praise for this either, many treated the topic and Natives shamefully. This is only a first step as there are 1000’s of human remains in German museums that need to be returned, not merely discussed, decided or rationalized by those not from other cultures.

There are multiple 1000’s of important cultural items that were stolen and coerced, often taken from massacre sites that deserve to be with or controlled by those to who they are most important. And YES, there are Native scientists, archaeologists and specialists trained for just these things like anyone else. Native North Americans are often left out of serious conversations on repatriation in Germany, just like they are wrongly left out of conversations on racism.

The continued minimization of stereotypes and hobbyism (by some Natives, too), and the objectification and dehumanization of Native peoples, cultures and histories that is common and accepted in Germany is was what facilitated and kept these human remains away from their ancestral lands and family for so long. There’s apathy but also resentment and outrage that anyone dare challenge German culture (!!) of….racism, which is what appropriation, caricatures, and misrepresentation of Natives and “others” is classified under.

I am very glad the Native nation and families finally will have their relative repatriated, but the length of time and the fact a human scalp had been on display and no one thought about anything about it but “Wow!” until someone finally questioned. A visiting American, who contacted me searching for wider coverage and Native contact on the issue.

Please check out the article at DEUTSCHE WELLE, and the video from 2014 where my interview begins around 3:00. It goes to show how little the topic of racism, Eurocentrism and imperialism are seriously discussed relating to (mis)use of Native peoples, cultures and histories in Germany.

This and other situations somewhat set the stage for me to pursue to completion this documentary FORGET WINNETOU! LOVING IN THE WRONG WAY (2018).


My past articles and appearances on the topic of these human remains:

Karl May Museum Reneges on Agreement to Return #NativeAmerican Scalps

 

 

 

New Interview at Die Tagesspiele – #Rassismus im #Kinderalltag – On Native Stereotypes & Misrepresentation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online and in print, Rassismus im Kinderalltag :„Yakari löscht unsere Identität aus by Daniela Martens. Der Psychologe und Pädagoge Red Haircrow erklärt, was Federn, Pfeile und Prärie mit Rassismus zu tun haben und wie man mit Kindern über Klischees sprechen kann.

On the topic of racism and the societal self-delusion on the negative effects of stereotypes and misrepresentation of “others”, in particular the fetishized image of the “American Indian”.

My 2011 Essay on #NineEleven, September 11th – A BIPOC Perspective

Click for a larger image

Falling Man by Richard Drew, from the Yahoo UK article

That Day: Nine Eleven, September 11th, 9/11 begins: “Six a.m., and I’d just finished a long night on patrol….”


And ends:
“My lamentation for those lost goes beyond nationalistic or even personal, but down to the root of humanity that empathizes and actually feels the others. That day, it was if a part of my flesh were cut away, and those people were MY people, but I didn’t make it a cause for further hatred and intolerance of others as so many have done.

And for all they died in such terror, I feel a peace for them now. They are all there. They are at rest and don’t have to endure such as we anymore. They will only know joy, however and by whomever or whatever supplies it. That is my belief, so I can embrace them, and though it still can hurt, I am not consumed by agony. Though I hate how they died, I won’t let their deaths make me into something that exists with hate or darkness.

The man who jumped to his death from the building, the one caught by Richard Drew in the photo called “The Falling Man,” made me think of this quote:

“When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” —Chief Aupumut, Mohican 1725

P.S. 9/11 has become a rallying cry and touch point in modern America, where each may and are required to imagine those last terrible moments for so many, and use it to fuel their convictions. Usually against anything or anyone stereotyped to be Muslim, anything or anyone as a threat to the USA superiority or justice. Yes, heavy irony there.

Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Jamestown, Staten Island (bet you didn’t even think of that one), Rhode Island, a thousand more, known and unknown in whitewashed history of Native American genocide. As strong and poignant, by nature of our spirits and beings, and because of our connection to each other past and present, be it a hundred years ago or a thousand times thousands, Native Americans don’t forget, especially in that American selective memory, concern and altruism is hypocritical. It’s just another “order of the day”.


For further thoughts on American history, immigration, society and politics, the 2020 article at Medium, “When I Think About America”.

Decolonizing Academia – A Master’s Thesis – “#KarlMay’s Legacy: Czech and German “Indians” vs. #CulturalAppropriation”

Karl May’s Legacy: Czech and German “Indians” vs. Cultural Appropriation by Martin Slezák (2020).

A well written thesis, and one of the few were the author actually added my rightful credentials alongside other academics, and added directed quotes. Many writers who have quoted me in the past fail to add my university credentials, referring to me as just as a blogger or an activist, aka someone just complaining about situations.

In western society, with its elitist Eurocentric system of expertise and worthiness to speak on a topic reserved for mostly white males with university degrees made possible due to centuries of privilege and precedence, failure to add the credentials of a person of color is beyond problematic. Whether a honest omission or not, it is clearly known in academia and society that POC are often ignored or minimized, and only slightly more regarded when compared to European peers, if holding a degree. Degrees almost always attain through far greater hardship, and having to battle structural racism within institutions that see them receive lesser marks for comparable work, lack of support from advisory and university staff, plus the microaggressions of curricula, teachers and other students. We see the effects in academic staff retention but also in hiring practices, which are widely discriminatory for a list of reasons.

There is also a distinct patronizing air towards scholars and universities in eastern Europe as well, particularly from far western Europe and the UK. However, on the topic of Native hobbyism, cultural appropriation and cognitive imperialism, I have experienced far more progressive thinking from the east. I have had many more inquiries from people from Eastern Europe not just seeking resources to learn accurate information, but advice on how they can take actual steps to correct misinformation in their education systems and communities. In Germany, there is still a large amount of defensiveness and attempted justification for racist and neo-colonist practices on all levels of society, from the media to the Kita.

This is just one of the many positive examples.

(Personal photo of a magazine, in which there was an article on Indian hobbyists.)

29 September – At Fachtag “Playing Indian” at MARKK in #Hamburg


On September 29th, I’ll be joining Harmut Lutz (in our documentary, too!) and others on the topic of “Playing Indian” at the Museum am Rothenbaum in Hamburg. I’ll be giving a workshop in the afternoon, which will include select scenes from Forget Winnetou. There is a full-day of discussions and events, please visit the webpage for the current list of participants and check back for updates in August!

Our focus, as ever, is on providing up-to-date, accurate information to help create and inspire positive change in society regarding representation and treatment of Indigenous and other POC, which aids in confronting and ending ableism, sexism and other discriminatory practices in western society.

Here’s a short description from the website, original German below.

“The work of educators, culture/museum mediators, teachers and educators in the German-speaking world is still touched by stereotypical ideas about Native Americans / First Nations: Be it the costumes at carnival times in kindergartens and schools, older literary works such as “Lederstrumpf” and the Winnetou books, current media productions such as the Yakari cartoons or visits to the Karl May Festival: All these practices and ideas leave their mark on educational work. In recent years, the clichés associated with them have been increasingly questioned and criticized – and with the social discourses that have emerged in this way, new challenges for educational work in museums, but also in kindergartens and schools, have arisen.

Under the title “Playing Indian”, borrowed from the classic book of the same name by the US-American author and Dakota Philip J. Deloria, a symposium is offered which is aimed at educators, teachers, museum mediators and educators. The event has three specific objectives: It explains the roots of the “Indian enthusiasm” in Germany in order to better understand phenomena such as today’s carnival costumes. The participants are introduced to diversity-oriented perspectives in the sense of decolonial pedagogy and can design new, contemporary options for action for their work practice under expert guidance.”


Die Arbeit von Erzieher*innen, Kultur/Museumsvermittler*innen, Lehrer*innen und Pädagog*innen im deutschsprachigen Raum wird nach wie vor von stereotypen Vorstellungen über Native Americans / First Nations berührt wird: Seien es die Kostümierungen zu Karnevalszeiten in Kindergärten und Schulen, ältere literarische Werke wie „Lederstrumpf“ und die Winnetou-Bücher, gegenwärtige Medienproduktionen wie die Yakari-Trickfilme oder Besuche der Karl-May-Festspiele: All diese Praktiken und Vorstellungen hinterlassen Spuren in der Bildungsarbeit. Damit verbundene Klischees werden in den letzten Jahren vermehrt hinterfragt und kritisiert – und mit den so aufkommenden gesellschaftlichen Diskursen entstehen neue Herausforderungen für die Bildungsarbeit in Museum, aber auch in den Kindergärten und Schulen.

Unter dem Titel „Playing Indian“ („Indianer spielen“), entliehen von dem gleichnamigen Buchklassiker des US-amerikanischen Autors und Dakota Philip J. Deloria , wird ein Fachtag angeboten, der sich an Pädagog*innen, Lehrer*innen, Museumsvermittler*innen und Erzieher*innen richtet. Der Termin verfolgt drei konkrete Zielsetzungen: Er klärt über die Wurzeln der „Indianerbegeisterung“ in Deutschland auf, um Phänomene wie die heutige Karnevalskostümierung besser einordnen zu können. Die Teilnehmenden werden an diversitätssensible Perspektiven im Sinne einer dekolonialen Pädagogik herangeführt und können unter fachkundiger Anleitung neue, zeitgemäße Handlungsmöglichkeiten für ihre Arbeitspraxis entwerfen.

 

On 29-30 June, Society of American Indian/Alaska Native Psychologists Virtual Retreat & Convention


If you have the time and interest, check out the information for Society of American Indian/Alaska Native Psychologists Virtual Retreat & Convention on June 29-30, 2020.

On the 29th, Red Haircrow will be presentation a module on one of their main research topics: Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Natives & Cultural Competency & Support for all ASD persons.

Please visit the SIP website for details of all keynote speakers, events and topics, which include Native leadership, Indigenous women and incarceration challenges, careers in research and Polynesian psychotherapy practice and methodology.

Here is a brief overview of day one morning session:

  • Stories of Our People: Stepping into Our Identity and Our Sacredness Dee Bigfoot

 

  • Mentoring Through Pandemic and Pandemonium: The Native-to-Native SIP Mentoring Program Stays Nimble and Relevant in 2020 Alberta Arviso, Linda Forrest, Becky Foster, DS Red Haircrow, Brian McNeill & Denise L. Newman

 

  • Indigenous Women Facing Social Injustices Related to Incarceration Kelli Tillquist*, Sharon Houlahan*, Tina Lincourt, & Royleen Ross

 

  • Overview of Human Trafficking: A Call to Action for Mental Health Professionals Christina Tsoi*, Caleb Andreason**, & Matthew Siufanua**

#Documentary Now Available at #Vtape, Canada’s Leading Artist-Run Not-for-profit Distributor

Request a copy of “Forget Winnetou! Loving in the Wrong Way” for your university, organization or screening event today!

Summary: “The same mentality that ignores indigenous rights to self-representation are often those who also stereotype and gaslight GLBTIIQ people, women, the disabled or economically challenged, especially people of color just for desiring change and equality. It is basically saying, “My gratification is more important than your dignity, your rights or even your life.” This is a main facet of rape culture. It is intersecting oppression.

Most films about Natives concentrate on European narratives or indigenous experience in North America but there are Natives abroad and being “loved in the wrong way” in “Indian crazy” Germany has many forms. Germany is a microcosm of struggles taking place across the world both against and for decolonization; for correcting white privilege and supremacy that’s divided and helped destroy our world. We explore the roots of racism, colonialism, and appropriation in Germany from a rarely considered perspective: the Native American stereotype they claim to adore.”

On IMDb

On Twitter

Request an Interview

Press & Resources


ABOUT VTAPE
“Vtape is a vibrant distribution organization that represents an international collection of contemporary and historical video art and media works by artists. We make this collection accessible to curators and programmers, educators, scholars and public audiences worldwide. In addition to providing a distribution framework for established and emerging artists, Vtape is committed to establishing video art preservation and exhibition standards, and strives to support hybrid practices in an increasingly complex technical milieu.”

Photo by Viveka Frost.

New date! 14-15 September – Seminar “Becoming and Teaching Human Beings: Critical Indigenous Perspectives”

 


New date 14-15 September! Social distancing & quarantine protests despite mass illness from #CoVid19? Minimization/dismissal of high death rates in some groups and ethnicities? Western values of self-interest/self above all else despite causing harm vs. Indigenous perspectives of personal responsibility and collective goodness/awareness.

They are at the heart of the on-going pandemic and economic crisis, even as normalized racism, ableism and aggression are seeing new increases. We will discuss these topics and more, and how we continue healing and correction both individually and societally, to help create a better world for all children.

**NOTE: Continued compliance with any/all updates and public notices regarding Corona protocols will be in place. Date subject to change based on on-going current events.


In cooperation with ISTA – Institut für den Situationsansatz, a two-day seminar is planned titled, “Becoming and Teaching Human Beings: Critical Indigenous Perspectives for School and Society.” It will be given by writer, educator, psychologist and filmmaker Red Haircrow in English and German. 

The seminar is designed not just for teachers or educators, but for anyone interested in these topics. It will include multimedia presentations, resource materials and networking opportunities. German description below.

***Please contact ISTA for details about the event, and to register or submit your interest in the seminar. You are welcome to share this information with your contact. Early registration is welcome as seating will be limited.

Topics for presentation:

“The tendency to ignore the needs of certain groups to represent themselves is a big problem in western society and continues to adversely affect all our children. How can we change this by incorporating accurate Indigenous knowledge and values into our classrooms and societies?

We provide a brief overview of accurate Native American history, contemporary issues and experiences in German schools as a guide in writing curriculum and planning activities. We outline what inclusion, not appropriation, looks like by presenting culturally appropriate examples and resources.

We provide research on the effects of stereotypes and bias towards Native and other peoples. We answer the question, “What is really learned by children when other cultures and peoples are misrepresented and misused?”

We provide a contrast/comparison model of Indigenous worldview and values vs. Western Society/European values. We discuss the effects of these values on things like gender identity and expression, food and living choices, belief systems and the world around us.
We discuss how humanistic, empathetic values were lost, and how this has affected our educational systems and models. Our focus is to (re)discover these values in ourselves and find the best ways to return these values to our classrooms and societies.

We discuss how to incorporate appropriate Indigenous knowledge and “awakened” practices in classrooms and raise awareness on why culturally sensitive curricula and activities are necessary. We will amplify and share Native voices from around the world to encourage critical thinking and decision making by listening to others, not reading rulebooks. We want to make a support system on a journey to create a better world for all children.

Deutsch

Die Tendenz, die Bedürfnisse bestimmter Gruppen zu ignorieren, um sich selbst zu vertreten, ist ein großes Problem in der westlichen Gesellschaft und wirkt sich weiterhin nachteilig auf alle unsere Kinder aus. Wie können wir dies ändern, indem wir genaues indigenes Wissen und Werte in unsere Klassenräume und Gesellschaften integrieren?

Wir bieten Ihnen einen kurzen Überblick über die genaue Geschichte der amerikanischen Ureinwohner, aktuelle Themen und Erfahrungen in deutschen Schulen als Leitfaden in Aktivitäten Lehrplan und Planung zu schreiben. Wir zeigen, wie die Aufnahme, anstatt Aneignung, aussieht. Wir werden kulturell angemessen Beispiele und Ressourcen geben.

Wir bieten Forschung über die Auswirkungen von Stereotypen und Ausrichtung auf Einheimische und anderen Völkern. Wir beantworten wichtige Fragen wie: „Was wird wirklich gelernt, wenn andere Kulturen und Völker falsch dargestellt und missbraucht werden?“ und „Wie falsche Darstellung der indigenen Völker andere Diskriminierung in der Gesellschaft verbinden?“

Wir bieten einen Kontrast / Vergleichsmodell der indigenen Weltanschauung und Werte vs. der westlichen Gesellschaft / Europäische Werte. Wir besprechen die Auswirkungen dieser Werte auf die Geschlechtsidentität und Ausdruck, Lebensmittel und Lebenswahl, Glaubenssysteme unserer Umwelt.

Wir erörtern, wie humanistische einfühlsame Werte verloren wurden, und wie dies unseres Bildungssystem und Gesellschaft betroffen hat. Unser Fokus ist diese Werte in uns selbst (wieder) zu entdecken, und die besten Möglichkeiten zu finden, diese Werte in unseren Klassenzimmern und Gesellschaften zurückzukehren.

Wir besprechen, wie man angemessenes indigenes Wissen und „awakened“ Praktiken in den Klassenzimmern übernimmt, und das Bewusstsein darüber, warum kultursensible Lehrpläne und Aktivitäten notwendig sind. Wir teilen Native Stimmen aus der ganzen Welt um kritisches Denken und Entscheidungsfindung zu fördern, indem sie anderen zuhören anstatt Regelbücher zu lesen. Wir wollen ein Support-Systeme kreieren um eine bessere Welt für alle Kinder zu schaffen.

 

#CoVid19 Community, Indigenous vs. Western Values & the Inherent Privilege of “Stock up and Ride it Out!”

This all really brings to mind the article I published in Medium last month,“WHEN I THINK ABOUT AMERICA” and that this is  Indigenous values vs. Western values in a nutshell. Being giving/sharing, concerned about community, cooperation vs. competitive, self-centered, taking/saving (while others are in need), skeptical.

The excerpt is from a letter: By Dr. Sharkawy On COVID-19: “I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I’ve been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I have worked in inner city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis,TB, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping cough, Diphtheria…there is little I haven’t been exposed to in my profession. And with notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared. Mostly, I’m scared what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open-mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.”

Find constantly update COVID19 Statistics HERE.

Another excellent reality check written by Mike Davis- Not advocating an political position, but this is spot on, THE MONSTER IS FINALLY AT THE DOOR.

“The danger to the global poor has been almost totally ignored by journalists and Western governments. History shows that poorer people and countries suffered most from epidemics. The Spanish Flu of 1918 is just one example.

“The outbreak has instantly exposed the stark class divide in healthcare: those with good health plans who can also work or teach from home are comfortably isolated provided they follow prudent safeguards. Public employees and other groups of unionized workers with decent coverage will have to make difficult choices between income and protection.

Meanwhile millions of low wage service workers, farm employees, uncovered contingent workers, the unemployed and the homeless will be thrown to the wolves.”

To be able to stockpile material goods, one must have savings, money. Money beyond the paycheck-to-paycheck or for us freelancers, with jobs, universities and other venues closing, that can mean we have zero income. As freelancers or those in jobs with less benefits, you have to make the choice between becoming homeless, without even basic necessities and going out to try to find some paying work, exposing yourself to the virus. Just in self-quarantining as suggested, but with little or no food, necessities anyway, especially if you have children or pets, may need medications? That is the reality for millions, and can only increase even if strictures loosen in the next weeks, as the economies of all countries will take a significant hit. So for those saying, “Calm down! Just stay at home.” I’m absolutely sure, you have necessities, you have savings, you have those privileges that help you to better remain calm.

While many of us are not in the demographics currently being affected fatally, the issue of lung damage will remain if you contract and survive covid19. That doesn’t go away. The short-sighted thinking and self-centered “every man/woman for himself”, and that eternal European rationalization “I’m just trying to take care of my family!” while knowingly contributing to behaviors and practices that take or reduce the lives of others…. We’ve seen an upswing in racism, xenophobia and cruelty, there’s no other word for it, in western society in the last couple of decades. What’s happening now is no surprise.

Where I live in Germany, the city I live, in a rather out-lying district, I’ve been out trying to find some goods to get us by. But when you have little money anyway the crazy rush to buy up toilet paper, hand sanitizer and non-perishables isn’t something you can do. While many shelves are empty, and of course, many older people have to go out to get basic goods, many of them too cannot stockpile because it is a matter of not being able to carry many packages home. I’ve seen people of that demo actually being more kind than before. But, honestly, the racism, white supremacist behaviors and privileged ugliness I’ve experienced in Germany has been from the middle-aged to younger generation. Many of whom are convinced they have it harder or as hard as anyone else, including POC, and using the aforementioned mindsets to aggressively go about life offending, lacking empathy, and being self-centered to an absurd but allowed degree. Or conversely, blithely minimizing the very real and serious inequalities others are experiencing, while “improving” themselves using their resources of privilege.

In times of crisis like this, it seems some of the old people haven’t forgotten what it means to have nothing. To be without, and without any hope of relief. Community, commitment to each other, trust, respect, and fellow feeling. Not romanticizing anything, as 20th century German history is a brutal mess of death and trauma, but in my area at least, and thus far, I couldn’t imagine happening here what we see going on in the USA.

For us, because we’ve had such a financial hardship in the last three years when we had to end up producing and funding this film alone, living on the edge, always close to homeless and with little or no prospects? This pandemic is notable, but our daily lives and living hasn’t changed much. Indigenous peoples have already been living in a post-apocalypse for a long time because of European colonization. We keep going on as long as we can, and we know crying doom, saying things like “Life is meaningless” or “It’s just the flu!” nonsense is also privileged behavior.

We are not immune to stress, anxiety, hopelessness and depression, but our values help keep us from giving up and/or harming others. We will still help each other, and others as we can, even when we have little or nothing because we believe that is the right and moral thing to do. To do otherwise, I believe is to surrender your heart, your spirit, and ultimately your life. It is great to know there are people from other cultures and groups, who remember their own collective-focused roots, and reject the self-centered rationalizations of western society as a whole, and which the virus pandemic has clearly revealed.