Veneto yes or no? The recent decision by Ravensburger to pull two new children’s books with a Native American fantasy hero from the market has stirred up feelings in Germany, but also in the Czech Republic. ARD will not purchase licenses to broadcast the original series of Vinnetou films from the 1960s. The American reporter for Radiožurnál finds out what the Native Americans themselves, who are primarily interested in this debate, think of similar fictions.




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According to Bob McConnell of the Yurok tribe in California, stories of Native Americans’ interactions with Europeans are largely romantic | Photo: Jan Kaliba Source: Radio Czech

“The romanticization of our culture and our interactions with Europeans is pervasive, yet there was certainly nothing romantic about the genocide to which our ancestors were subjected.”

How do Indians see stories about Veneto? Hear what they answered to our reporter Jean Caleb

I hear answers similar to the answer given by Bob McConnell of the Yorok tribe in California regularly when I talk to Natives when I introduce them to the work of Carl May. On the other hand, it is undeniable that his novels have sparked interest in Native Americans among generations of Europeans.

“I was in Germany, and among the Germans there are many Native American fans. You can ask them anything about our culture and they have scientific knowledge. And I was also in the Czech Republic, in your Indian celebrations. My Lord! People there know a lot about us. You go to England and the people are there. They know more about us than the average American does, than the people in our country,” notes Marianne Robbins of Onondaga Nation.

Poster calling for the protection of indigenous peoples and paraphrasing a popular election slogan | Photo: Jan Kaliba Source: Radio Czech

Native Americans usually don’t know the character of a Veneto, at least I haven’t met her yet. But they are understandably aware that adventure films and romance books created about them in Western culture.

Principal Natosha Carmine of the Nanticoke Nation points out that a great deal of literary and film work lacks a basis in reality.

“When people watch shows like this on TV, it doesn’t tell them anything about Native American reality. It’s just the actors and their roles. With books, you need to check if the author has actually studied Native American culture or has just written a book.”

“Let people come to our celebrations, this is where they get to know who we really are,” says Natosha Carmine, president of the Nanticoke Nation on the east coast of the United States.

There’s nothing wrong with being romantic

And who would rather choose a movie or book, according to Carmella Willmore, another member of the Nanticoke Nation, these days there really are solid options for choosing high-quality content that faithfully depicts Native Americans.

Bob McConnell of the Gurok Indian tribe | Photo: Jan Kaliba Source: Radio Czech

Unlike the golden age of Veneto in the last century. “There will always be people who will believe the romantic image they see of us in a movie like this and not think about what really happened. It doesn’t mean it hurts us, but it doesn’t help.

“However, there are more and more TV shows and movies featuring real Native Americans. So we are finally showing people who we really are, and this is essential. For people to see the truth and not believe the lies.”

Nanticoke Tribe Celebrations | Photo: Jan Kaliba Source: Radio Czech

Only in the first 100 years after arriving in the Americas, Europeans killed about 55 million Native Americans by force or by introducing previously unknown diseases. Only ten percent of them survived and in the following centuries Native Americans were subjected to genocide.

They still feel its consequences today, as well as the contamination of their water sources or the destruction of the holy places of their ancestors. For example, the year before last, the federal government authorized the bombing of Native American cemeteries near the border with Mexico.

Jan Kaliba, November

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