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Old 04-06-2004, 01:01 PM   #1
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Unhappy DORREEN YELLOW BIRD COLUMN: Germany's 'hobby Indians' pass for real -- almost

Saw this on Indianz, more info about hobbiests

DORREEN YELLOW BIRD COLUMN: Germany's 'hobby Indians' pass for real -- almost

Birgit Hans, department chair of Indian Studies at UND, had a unique presentation Wednesday for the UND Indian Association's 35th Annual Time-Out and Wacipi Week. She told us about the "hobby Indians" in Germany. Hans talked from experience and with expertise. She is, after all, German and is researching the subject for a book.

"Gee whiz," I thought after I saw her presentation. "These people may be better at being Indian than we are - at least in regalia"

The German interest in American Indian culture isn't new. It dates back centuries, Hans said. These "hobbyists" have created a new kind of Indian based on some early prolific writers, who wrote grand, Old West-type stories about the escapades of American Indians though the writers never visited this country.

Her slide collection was telling. One of the slides showed a sea of white conical teepees. That was the weekend village for the hobbyists, she explained.

She went into the villages. The hobbyists follow the dress and culture of Indian people down to the kind of beads and buckskin used in the Indians' outfits in the early 1800s. In fact, Hans said, the hobbyists will challenge each other if design, feather or bead is not authentic, based on their readings.

The hobbyists are excellent craftsmen. They come in full dress when attending ceremonies such as marriage or naming. One of the hobbyists, she said, took Hans to his home, where he lived with his wife. Every wall was covered with buckskin dresses and outfits for men, dance outfits for both men and women, moccasins, pipe or tobacco bags, belts, knife cases and every kind of miscellaneous item you can think of that is or has been used by Indians.

The woman of this house showed six dresses that she had made. These dresses were fully beaded. Native people who bead know that is a daunting task.

The house was sensory overload, Hans said. This hobby is considered good for keeping families together, she was told.

Hans was not invited to some of the hobbyists' ceremonies. They don't like a lot of publicity either, Hans said.

From Hans' description, there are many pseudo-Indian tribes in Germany. They pick a tribe, study it and try to copy it down to the last bead color. She said she met a man who copied the Arikara (Sahnish), which is my tribe. "Yikes," I thought. "His beadwork might be better than ours."

The hobbyists do not copy modern Indians, Hans said. They don't consider actual members of modern tribes to be Indians. In fact, they consider themselves the real Indians! I was speechless at that comment.

As I sat there looking at Hans' slides of the German hobbyists, I thought of the Germans who had come each year to the South Dakota Sundance ceremony I attend. A group of about 20 to 25 used to fly to the United States each year to attend ceremonies.

They had a camp set up at the South Dakota site, just like the rest of us. In our Sundance, each day for each meal of the day, campers feed the camp. The Germans fed, too, and tried to keep with the traditions.

One evening before the ceremony, the Germans invited everyone to share a late meal. I sat on a tree stump beside a young woman who looked like she might have stepped out of an executive office. I asked her why the Germans came to these ceremonies. Some in Germany had a culture like this more than 200 years ago, the woman told me. They were trying to get in touch with their ancient culture again. Hans was skeptical about her comment.

One of the German men Sundanced. I never heard him speak a word during the four years he danced.

A few years ago, I noticed that the Germans weren't there any more and asked what happened to them. One of the people at the ceremony said the Germans had invited some of the leaders of the ceremony to Germany. The leaders were extremely disappointed when they found the Germans doing their own Sundance, based on what they had learned in South Dakota.

One of the things about these hobbyists, Hans said, is that they have all the regalia and know the ceremonies, but don't seem to have it in here - and she motioned to her heart.

"Hobby Indians," I thought. "What a turnabout!" They want to replicate who we were but not who we are. The early American settlers called us savages and uncivilized, and these Germans liked our culture from those days. We are more or less accepted by white America today, but Germany's hobby Indians think we're no longer Indian.

There must be a lesson to be learned from the hobby Indians' revelation - and it might be a good one, if I didn't feel like laughing at the irony of it all.


Reach her at [email protected].
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:15 PM   #2
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Thanks for the articile, but ughhh! Just makes me sick to see a "mockery" of our culture being made yet again. :!devil!:
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:39 PM   #3
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too bad there's not any pics, i'd like to see this!
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Old 04-06-2004, 02:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverwoman
Thanks for the articile, but ughhh! Just makes me sick to see a "mockery" of our culture being made yet again. :!devil!:
hey RW - where ya been? :dontknow:
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Old 04-06-2004, 02:59 PM   #5
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The powwow in Germany that I attended was similar to what was described.

"Fantasy and Romantism" were rampant. Agreed, the Indian cloths that they were wearing were well researched but. . .

I was a little concerned about the three days of "not bathing" of these reinactors.
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
I was a little concerned about the three days of "not bathing" of these reinactors.
Why don't they bathe? Did they think that our ancestors never bathed, that's strange, cuz I know our people don't let themselves go like that. So they have nice beaded clothes but they have a bad odor about them.

Whatever their thinking is, I for one do not approve of them copying us and the nerve of them to think that today's Natives aren't the real thing but that THEY are. Anyway, this article does help me to understand who the hobbiests are and where they are coming from. I'm glad the author wrote it.
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Old 04-06-2004, 05:14 PM   #7
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Old 04-06-2004, 06:04 PM   #8
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gee what did you guys expect from europeans after all we have so much trouble with them when their over here.
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Old 04-06-2004, 08:52 PM   #9
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http://www.powwows.dk/eng/eng_index.html

http://www.powwows.dk/eng/eng_index.html

You wanted pics.. you got pics
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackbear
:Yell :1: :karate:
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Old 04-07-2004, 01:53 AM   #11
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Hello
What are the kids learning school in Europe about the Indians?
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Old 04-07-2004, 02:00 AM   #12
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Read this FYI goto http://www.powwows.com/gathering/showthread.php?t=18279 for the info.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:21 AM   #13
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OMG!LOL. Are all these people germans and wannabes? Did ya see the women drumming with the men!! How can they even think bout wearing a jingle dress!! That's crazy!! Looks like they study us and how we live like if it's in the past and we don't exsist today!! I know that germans think ndns are so cool, they look to us as brave warriors. In fact most eurpeons do. In Europe they have a cowboy and ndn night. My fiance lived over there for awhile and his mom still does!! He said they all looked to him like WOW your a real ndn.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:38 AM   #14
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Thats right kakeeya were not Indians were ANISHNABE FOR LIFE WHAAOOO!! :indian2: DOn't tell them that then they will start calling themselves that! They my have it on the outside but never on the inside.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:43 AM   #15
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Omg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackbear


Did you see the beadwork? And did the jingle dresses! I am soooooooooooooooooooooooo hurt! One had ribbon work better then what I can do! That just aint' right I tell ya! :flaming:
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Old 04-07-2004, 12:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby 2sday
I'm going to a conference next week where Birgit Hans will be presenting this. . . I can't believe they consider themselves "real" Indians. . .This just gets me mad :Yell
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Ruby2:

Since you are going to meet Birgit Hans, ask her if this is what all Germans believe or is this the opinion of a few. It is easy to generalize a group of people on limited info. This is called "stereotyping" (for once it is reversed)!

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WPDcer:

Europeans in general are a lot more educated about Indians that non Indian Americans here in the United States. They know our history and ask intellegent questions like, "What are Sovereignty issues that Indians face today and How does your government treat Indians today?"

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BlackB:

The pictures you posted from Denmark illustrate that there are two types of powwows in Europe. One is the modern powwowers and the other is 1800's period powwowers. Many modern European powwowers bring Indians from the United States to teach them about today's powwows.
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Old 04-07-2004, 01:14 PM   #17
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This same topic was opened today on the Indianz message board. A German guy responded and said some good things in there like not all Germans are hobbiests, and some Germans (like himself) thinks that hobbiests are idiots. He also said that comment by Birget Hans regarding hobbiests thinking they are more Native that us was thrown out there to stir up emotions and reaction for the audience.





Hey by the way, I gave out good reps to all that posted here today. In fact I gave out so much rep that now I have to wait for 24 hours to give out anymore. K~
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Old 04-07-2004, 01:19 PM   #18
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Here's the link for Indianz in case anyone wants to check it out.

http://64.62.196.98/board/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6835
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Old 04-07-2004, 02:00 PM   #19
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"We understand why some people find it odd to see Europeans dance in Native American powwow outfits. Many Native Americans are often surprised in the beginning, but when they realize that we take it very seriously and are very respectful about what we do, they usually accept us and consider it a tribute to their heritage that people from other countries celebrate their traditions in this way. A few Native Americans take offense, and that is understandable. But all the Native Americans that we have met are pleased when they see our contemporary outfits and Native Americans from all tribes visit these European powwows and many bring their outfits and enjoy the dancing at these gatherings - and these are well-respected and knowledgeable elders, singers and dancers from the US and Canada.":rolleyes"

This just makes me physically ill, I wish there was that "smiley" to post that looked like it was going to throw up! Ughhhh!
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Old 04-07-2004, 02:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Singing Eagle
hey RW - where ya been? :dontknow:
Living here in Vancity.... very busy as of late:) I am alive and well:D
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