Tag Archives: Drew Hayden Taylor

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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Dreams Have No Borders: The 8th Indianer/Inuit North American Film Festival

By Maria Moss and Sabrina Völz

Acosia Red Elk and Drew Hay­den Tay­lor. Pho­to cred­it: Sab­ri­na Völz

Ask any Native Stud­ies schol­ar in Europe, and they will be well aware of the Euro­pean fas­ci­na­tion with Native peo­ples of North Amer­i­ca – a fas­ci­na­tion that can be traced back to the nov­els of 19th cen­tu­ry writer Karl May who fur­thered the noble sav­age stereo­type. The pre­em­i­nent schol­ar for Native Stud­ies, Hart­mut Lutz, even coined a term for it: Indi­anthu­si­asm. When we heard about the 8th Indi­an­er Inu­it Fes­ti­val in Stuttgart from Feb­ru­ary 6–9, 2020, two ques­tions came to mind: Would this Indi­anthu­si­asm come to life or be decon­struct­ed at the fes­ti­val? And is “Indi­an­er” even a term that should still be used in Ger­man-speak­ing countries?

So we packed our bags and took the 5½-hour train ride from Lüneb­urg to Stuttgart to inves­ti­gate. The festival’s pro­gram was quite exten­sive, encom­pass­ing doc­u­men­taries, short films, fea­ture films, children’s films, and music videos pro­duced and direct­ed by Indige­nous artists from North Amer­i­ca and beyond. Apart from vis­it­ing the film screen­ings, we also encoun­tered fas­ci­nat­ing peo­ple who gave us an inkling of the impres­sive vari­ety of con­tem­po­rary Native artis­tic expression.

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So, You Wanna Be a Writer?!? Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between – An Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor

By Maryann Henck

Pho­to Cred­it: Suzanne Carroll

Per­haps you’ve toyed with the idea of becom­ing a pro­fes­sion­al writer, or you sim­ply want to indulge in flights of fan­cy that you lat­er com­mit to paper. Whether you turn your pas­sion into your pro­fes­sion or rekin­dle the embers of that pas­sion every now and then, there’s always some­thing to learn from vet­er­an writ­ers. Since one of my pas­sions is improv, I asked Anish­nawbe writer Drew Hay­den Tay­lor if he’d mind doing an improv inter­view with me. As some­one who is used to script­ing his char­ac­ters’ respons­es, Drew was skep­ti­cal at first but warmed up to the inter­view in no time. Dur­ing our Skype call, I sent him 10 rapid-fire ques­tions one by one, which he, in turn, had to answer off the cuff. The result is a writer’s unadul­ter­at­ed low­down on writ­ing. Read more »

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 »