SOU professors look at depictions of Native Americans in communist cultures | The Siskiyou

SOU professors look at depictions of Native Americans in communist cultures | The Siskiyou – There are two main myths about Native Americans, Tumbaga explained. The first is the “indigenous warrior” myth, where Native Americans are regarded as warriors of exceptional prowess and cunning. Tumbaga pointed out that while some tribes did have aggressive tendencies, such as the Yaqui people during the Yaqui-Mexican War, it wasn’t accurate to apply those characteristics to all Native American tribes. The second is the “noble savage” myth, which Tumbaga explained was the assumption that all native people are more in tune with nature and the earth, and have an enhanced sense of spirituality. While this may partially be true, Tumbaga said, “to assume that all Native American tribes and all Native American peoples are in touch with the earth is overly simplifying it.” Tumbaga then turned the podium over to Pyle, an SOU German instructor, who explained the German people’s fascination with Native Americans. It all started, Pyle said, when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show came to England in 1887 to perform for Queen Victoria. Among the audience was the future Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was so impressed by the show that he had several hundred Native Americans imported into Germany from reservations in the United States. These people, Pyle explained, were then set up in human zoos and told to act like Native Americans. These exhibitions were open to the German public day and night, so they could come by at any time and see how Native Americans ate or slept. “[But] Germans were not just obsessed with Native American shows,” said Pyle. “They also ate up stories from the west and from the frontier.” Pyle went on to talk about Karl May and his characters Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, who were wildly popular at the turn of the century and remain so today. May’s books have spawned countless television shows and movies, and he was the favorite author of Einstein, Kafka, Albert Schweitzer, Fritz Lang, and even Hitler. The obsession with Native Americans wasn’t limited to dime-a-dozen pulp westerns though. Franz Kafka, one of the most influential German writers in history, wrote “The Wish to be a Red Indian,” a piece from his book “Meditation.”

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