“It’s not about Winnetou. It’s about you and us” … and everyone.
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 infamously adore.
Treatment: “Indians feel no pain!” and “No ‘firewater’ for you, it makes your people crazy!” are comments Natives living in Germany may hear daily, such as Gerald “Kunu” Dittmer (Ho-Chunk). He grew up in Berlin and has experienced a range of “treatment” from shallow adoration of his “Indianness”, to antagonism and resentment of his heritage, especially if he didn’t oblige requests to meet European expectations.
Viveka Frost (Teques/Caribe) has a somewhat different experience. She frequently receives compliments on her attractive features, but only those resembling white standards of beauty, while her husband Johnny (Purepecha/Mezica) regularly endures hateful comments, such as average citizens, even children, yelling at him on the street as he strolls his daughter, that he shouldn’t have been allowed to procreate. “Germany is for Germans!” Many Germans assume he is Roma, another historically vilified and/or stereotyped people in Europe. The young couple worry what the future holds for their two-year old daughter, Wednesday, in an increasingly aggressive, racially divided Germany where favored foreigners are popular, like American Indians of stereotypical appearance, but other people of color experience “Alltag Rassismus” or “everyday racism” affecting all aspects of their lives.
It may be the only film of its kind, for we explore the roots of racism and colonialism, apathy and adoration in German society from Native perspectives and through their experiences. Germany is a microcosm of struggles taking place across the world both against and for decolonization, and the correction of systematic racism and white supremacist beliefs that are still dividing and destroying our world.
“What does a world that respects Indigenous peoples look like, that’s working towards ending racism, colonialism, and other intersecting oppression on a global scale?” (Marcos, 2017).
- A feature length documentary film appropriate for most ages utilizing live-action scenes, news and archival clips and short animated sequences.
- The main focus will be on conversations with Natives living in Germany, how stereotypes have and continue to affect them, plus presentations of accurate imagery and knowledge of natives from native perspective.
- Interviews with Natives: scholars, artists and more, as well as people who deal critically with the German perception of and attitude towards Native Americans and other people of color, stereotyping, cultural appropriation and/or racism.
- Exploration on how to unlearn harmful practices and decolonize, the importance of Native self-determination, presentation and control of their cultures and peoples as a means of necessary healing after centuries of oppression and continuing genocide.
Photo by Viveka Frost. Graphics by Red Haircrow.
The photos below are still shots from our film, which may be used with permission. Please contact us via this form.