Tag Archives: Canada

When in Doubt, Ask a Native Author! The Winnetou Debate

By Maryann Henck

After a storm of protests from enraged par­ents con­cern­ing issues of (mis)representation and cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion in the new children’s movie, The Young Chief Win­netou (2022), the Ger­man pub­lish­er, Ravens­burg­er Ver­lag, with­drew the com­pan­ion book and puz­zle to the film. Soon there­after, the main Ger­man TV sta­tion (ARD) announced they would no longer broad­cast the pop­u­lar Win­netou movies from the 1960s based on Karl May’s nov­els. Every­one seems to have their take on the cur­rent con­tro­ver­sy; yet, there’s been some crit­i­cism regard­ing issues of pater­nal­ism due to the lack of Native voic­es in the debate. That’s why the Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog has gone direct­ly to the source and inter­viewed Drew Hay­den Tay­lor acclaimed Cana­di­an Anish­naabe author, fre­quent fly­er to Ger­many, and cre­ator of the doc­u­men­tary, Search­ing for Win­netou (2018).

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Teaching Native North America: A Continuing Challenge

By Christoph Strobel

Intel­lec­tu­al lega­cies of col­o­niza­tion play a pow­er­ful role in shap­ing how main­stream U.S. and glob­al soci­ety has come to see Native Amer­i­cans. Art­work from the 19th and 20th cen­turies – such as James Ear­le Fraser’s sculp­ture, “The End of the Trail” – have helped to cre­ate the image of Native Amer­i­cans on horse­back as rep­re­sen­ta­tions most asso­ci­at­ed with Indige­nous pop­u­la­tions of North Amer­i­ca. Type “Native Amer­i­can” into a search engine, and you’ll like­ly get many his­tor­i­cal images of Great Plains Indi­ans. In parts of Europe as well, the per­cep­tion of Native Amer­i­cans has been shaped in unique ways by authors like Karl May and the lat­er movies based on his books. With­out a doubt, our stu­dents’ per­cep­tions about Native Amer­i­cans are influ­enced by these fan­tasies and representations.

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“Writing is how I process things”: An Interview with Miriam Toews

By Sabrina Völz and Maryann Henck

Pho­to Cred­it: Car­ol Loewen

We met Miri­am Toews at a read­ing in Ham­burg on March 26, 2019. Toews was on a book tour to pro­mote the Ger­man trans­la­tion of her sev­enth nov­el, Women Talk­ing. The nov­el is based on very dis­turb­ing events that took place between 2005 and 2008 in Bolivia. The Ger­man ver­sion, Die Aussprache, was pub­lished by Hoff­mann und Campe in 2018. For her nov­el, A Com­pli­cat­ed Kind­ness (2004), Miri­am Toews won Canada’s most pres­ti­gious lit­er­ary prize, the Gov­er­nor General’s Award. Since Toews will not be phys­i­cal­ly present at the Frank­furt Book Fair 2020 to rep­re­sent Cana­da, this year’s guest of hon­or, this inter­view will hope­ful­ly help tie us over until her next vis­it to Germany.

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How well do you know the United States and Canada? A Quiz

By Maria Moss

“Cana­da Border-R12-074–35A” by melissambwilkins

Now that the nation­al hol­i­days of both Cana­da (July 1) and the Unit­ed States (July 4) are upon us, it’s time to check how well you, our read­ers, know both coun­tries. In my sem­i­nar, “Intro­duc­ing North Amer­i­can Stud­ies,” I’m always pleased with how much my stu­dents know about the States and, at the same time, shocked at how lit­tle they know about Cana­da. Let’s see if you fare better….

Down­load and enjoy the quiz  – and don’t look at the answers yet!

 

In a World Created by an Indigenous God: A Native Writer’s Take on Karl May’s Winnetou

By Maryann Henck

Pho­to Cred­it: Robert Fantinatto

It goes with­out say­ing that the Ger­mans’ unri­valled fas­ci­na­tion with the Native peo­ple of North Amer­i­ca is not exact­ly a well-kept secret. Case in point: the annu­al Karl May Fes­ti­vals in Bad Sege­berg and Elspe. But I’ve always won­dered whether this fas­ci­na­tion might be mutu­al. Spoil­er alert: It is.

In 2017, Anish­nawbe writer Drew Hay­den Tay­lor set out in search of Win­netou. What he found ranged from the amus­ing to the unset­tling. In oth­er words, the per­fect mate­r­i­al for his doc­u­men­tary film, Search­ing for Win­netou, where the fine line between appro­pri­a­tion and appre­ci­a­tion becomes a bit blurred. Curi­ous about the mak­ing of? Then click on our exclu­sive inter­view with the writer. Read more »