Category Archives: Native American

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

11emailFrom Flying With Red Haircrow Productions and Haircrow & Kiesel Gbr: “The crowdfunding campaign for the 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.”

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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

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Filed under Announcements, Documentary, Films, Native American, Non-Fiction

Reviewing #NativeAmerican #NonFiction by Barbara Alice Mann & Interpretation of Indigenous Movements

dsc_2560Currently finishing Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath by Barbara Alice Mann, which was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. While it has many, many, many truths the majority of the non-native world, academicians, scholars, so-called experts and others have overlooked, ignored or missed, there is some which  some natives don’t or only minimally know, also. Not excluding myself from some of that reality either. Much of it I was aware of or had learned on some level, but some, not in depth at all.

Yet for this post in particular, and considering the situation at the camps at Standing Rock who remain determined in the face of what others might see as overwhelming odds, the challenges of interpretation of native motives has always been an issue since Europeans first invaded. Misinterpretation is the more apt word, but the interpretations and labels placed on natives and native behavior, beliefs or traditions, especially by self-termed allies or “friends” has been problematic, arguably even as much as outright mendacity. It can all serve the same purpose in the end.

“The dangers of native enthusiasm and interpretation in translation of native concepts by non-natives (sometimes with natives facilitating this) has led to some of the greatest massacres and aggressive response by the USA military. Wounded Knee was a response to interpretation and sensationalization by those who returned from a Ghost Dance (Wovoka, Paiute). While (textbook) history does say the US feared the Ghost Dance Movement, they only knew more about it as scholars interpreted it as a “Messianic” movement and military deployed to kill.”

Similarly, the dangers of fabrications, lies and sensationalization such as we’ve seen at Standing Rock, the fearmongering, rumors and gossips on both sides of the DAPL issue has been the cause of much unrest, trauma and turmoil, even if one side may consider themselves pro-Standing Rock. It can be seen to serve the same purpose of villification and reduction in the eyes of the “corrupted” law, especially as arrested and arraigned water protectors are now facing trials.

“The myth these scholars started was that Wovoka wished to replace Jesus with himself, which was nothing of the sort. And these things were written by enthusiasts/experts on “Indians”, even making themselves spokesmen, to detrimental, deadly effect even while they were making a name for themselves who, since they got the natives killed, had no or few to gainsay. “Friend” of the people. Why are natives so wary? This is why.”

Barbara Alice Mann goes on to debunk the origin of the Bering Strait theory using their own reasoning, the myth that natives were all fighting each other anyway, that they were sworn enemies, the reality of how missionary Christianity and Catholicism were the main components of native genocide and ethnocide, particularly deadly to sacred ones such as medicine people, women’s societies and two-spirits (using the modern intertribal term). Full review coming soon for NAIS, Native American Indigenous Studies Association.

I classify this an essential read for Native American/Indigenous Students students, natives and non-natives alike, but particularly for anyone who believes any of the myths about the original peoples of Turtle Island. Some of which they likely do not realize as such, and have accepted as fact. This book is classified widely as one pertaining to religion, but that’s again an interpretation of non-natives. Spirituality is inseparable from traditional native life, cultures and traditions. So this is about NATIVES, past and present. Simply that.

To learn much more about “U.S. Colonial Policies Impacting Indigenous Spirituality & Sacred Sites”, because yes, ethnocide & genocide of the original peoples of Turtle Island is still ongoing, please visit Indigenous Action Media.

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Filed under Native American, Non-Fiction

From Flying With Red Haircrow Productions: 1st Teaser for Documentary “Forget Winnetou!”

“Forget Winnetou: Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany” is an upcoming documentary by Timo Kiesel & Red Haircrow. Exploring themes of racism, stereotyping and erasure that Native Americans face living and working in Germany, despite German fascination with the indigenous peoples of North America.

Website: https://forgetwinnetou.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/forgetwinnetou/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forgetwinnetoufilm/

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Filed under Announcements, Films, Germany, Native American

#BookReview: “The Midnight Lake Band of Indians” by John Blackbird

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Published: January 29, 2016
Available: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Native American
Source: Author

Synopsis: “As Indians in the 21st century we have reclaimed our own voices, and now portray ourselves and entertain on mainstream media venues for TV, Film Stage and Radio. As Indians playing Indians in a contemporary world, we are no longer confined to the pre-Reservation, buckskin clad brave and sighing maiden, but rather we have changed the narrative to a narrative that tells our story.

A Trilogy of The Midnight Lake Band of Indians is a collection of three stories from a Cree First Nations community recalling an unhappy event, unhappy relationship, unfaithful friendship and dealing with an emptiness. It’s a story of journey and sacred choices we make, whether we know it or not.”

Review: A presentation of a fictional native community and characters in stark detail and often vivid description, the three stories of the Midnight Lake Band of Indians have great depth of thought and storytelling that can teach and from which perceptive readers might learn. While it is fictional, one imagines it may partially be based on the author’s observations, experiences, even actual events, as many such works tend to be. Certainly it’s reflective of the struggles, internal and external complications, and hugely affective brutal colonization of natives and the latter-day results. All facets of indigenous culture, identity, beliefs and the peoples themselves have been assaulted, stereotyped and systematically oppressed for hundreds of years directly or indirectly. In any such situation, the traumatization is long-lasting, highly extensive, and present even now, as Blackbird simply shared in three “slice of life” tales but even in such situations, as demonstrated here, there is clearly evident resilience and beauty.

Writing, editing and publishing is a process, and should definitely be a learning experience as editing and formatting can improve with time and experience. Here the writing is abrupt, in present tense, almost screenplay in style and therefore challenging to understand continuity occasionally, but tone and characterization was always clear. At times I questioned the effectiveness of the method, but I respected  the author’s choice, and in the end it worked. It served the purpose of driving plots forward and building palpable tension that resulted in almost inevitable conclusions.

It is a tremendous accomplishment to finish and publish any work in my opinion, especially with themes or topics that may be difficult, but works like “A Trilogy of the Midnight Lake Indian Band” are absolutely necessary, even crucial to First Nations survival and progression in particular. Stories like these, despite some viewing them only as representative of stereotypes, can actually give hope because they are critical examples of natives actually presenting themselves. I didn’t see the characters or situations as stereotypical, but merely representative of the realities of too many natives experience and/or live with every day.

Reminiscent of New Zealand’s world-reknown Maori writer Alan Duff, who used “manner of speaking” in an unconventional way to set the mood and give his characters unique personalities and voice, John Blackbird also created a quite visual, unforgettable work because of this ability. One not all writers possess. An outstanding debut, powerful and poignant even when presenting ugly realities, utilizing a sparse style that heightened impact. I definitely hope to read more in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Blackbird is Plains Cree and a member of the Waterhen Lake Cree First Nations located in Northwestern Saskatchewan, Canada (where the prairie meets the pine). He is a descendant of the original Blackbird, who travelled north with Sitting Bull after Little Big Horn. He lives in Leipzig, Germany, where his book was penned. Says the author, “There is a great interest in the North American Indians (thanks to Karl May) and while he wrote about an imaginary Indian, I have written about my real Indianz.” Continue reading

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Native American

The Importance of Real Native Stories: “Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You”-Eva Tulene Watt/Ken Basso

a sstepRe-reading “Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You“, the collected stories by Eva Tulene Watt assisted by Keith Basso made me write my mother and say, “Tell me a story”…and she did. She did, and it was good! If you’ve read the work, you’ll know why I add emphasis just so in the previous sentence. And why I wanted to hear from my mother about our people, our cousins, our family, about the past that touches the present and the future. The stories she was told or the things she observed.

Re-reading “Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You” made me want to hear songs. Made me want to hear songs I’d never heard before in this life and songs I already knew. One of them was “I’ve Been Around”, a popular Apache song that somehow voices all those stories of the hardworking, big-hearted, fierce, gentle, humorous, resilient, pragmatic, whimsical and wise Apache. “They’re always walking, walking, going around and doing things. They worked hard!”
I hear my ggrandmother’s voice again, and the stories she told and tried to tell us even when we weren’t listening, only halfway or transfixed cause they seemed light, even funny, but were deep. Stories when she was cooking or cleaning or working or chasing us (me!) with a switch when I had done something she directly told me not to do but I did it anyway because I was stubborn and/or curious.

Stories tell you why you should do things or why not to do other things. They give you purpose. They give you hope. They help you remember why you’re here now, right this very minute and not just what our ancestors endured. Stories help explain why they are important, to be kept, and remembered so our children understand and know. Some stories are shared with non-family, not-of our People, but others are special. Knowing them helps you understand why we defend them and how when someone copies you, culturally appropriates, or takes and changes your stories into their fantasies, these critically important parts of your culture and identity, it is beyond offensive but also really hurtful. Painful. That they do not care, that they make excuses, rationalize or say its just “fantasy” or “honoring” you is even worse. It’s terrible for native identities and cultures. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Memoir, Native American, Non-Fiction, Writers and Writing