NAFPS Archives > Archive No. 1

German Hobbyists & New Agers


educatedndn" <>  Add to Address Book
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 17:33:20 -0000
Subject: [newagefraudsplastichshamans] German Hobbyists and Nuagers

Some passages that really struck me reading the link given by Barnaby.

Germany's Weekend Warriors By JAMES HAGENGRUBEROf The Gazette Staff

BERRIFFINGEN, Germany - Alex Biber's day job is designing semiconductor technology. Away from work, he becomes "Beaver," a Cheyenne warrior.

Biber the engineer drives on the autobahn and wears blue jeans. Beaver the brave wears hand-tanned buckskin and rides a horse. He
commands the steed in an ancient language once used by Plains Indians half-a-world away.

Biber, his wife and two daughters live in a 91-year-old farmhouse, but the family vacations in tepee villages in humid Central European forests....

The soft-spoken, blue-eyed man is one of Germany's weekend warriors, a tribe that numbers about 40,000 strong....

What he didn't say is that hobbyists are increasingly reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Although some American Indians are
flattered by Germany's fascination with their culture, some think the Germans' passion goes too far.

Hobbyist and New Age groups have ventured beyond the beadwork and feathers and are copying sacred religious ceremonies, upsetting some Native Americans. Hobbyists, in turn, sometimes criticize Indians for not living up to their image in the Aryan brain.

During a recent powwow in Germany, some make-believe Indians were angry with the visiting American Indian dancers for using microphones and wearing brightly colored feathers. The hobbyists also were annoyed that the dancers wore underwear beneath breech cloths.

The guest dancers were dumbfounded and protested the protests. The hobbyists lost the battle. They were kicked out and told not to
return without open minds and underwear, said Carmen Kwasny, a full-blooded German and press secretary for the Native American Association of Germany, which hosts dance gatherings near a large U.S. military base in Kaiserslautern.

"As long as (the hobbyists) stay in their little camps, we don't worry about them. But the problem is they go into schools and get
interviewed on television, and they show up at our powwows and create trouble," said Kwasny, who is fascinated by Indians, but doesn't try to imitate them.

The Native American Association's Web site ( now includes a list of powwow protocols.

"Native Americans do not appreciate you or your children showing up in fake Indian outfits," the guidelines state. "Toy guns, plastic spears, and tomahawks should also be left at home.

"During a powwow, you will have opportunities to participate in the dancing. Please watch out for the other dancers. Do not touch their regalia."

If hobbyists insist on appearing in breech cloths, they are asked to wear shorts or cycling pants underneath.

The sizable German New Age movement has adopted aspects from traditional Lakota spirituality, Kwasny said. There are weekend
vision quests with people searching for their power animals. When the animal is revealed, its image is drawn on a drum or a rattle for use in meditation.

"Of course, the power animals are always wolves, buffalos, eagles, which are not very common here. They never use an ant, or something like that," Kwasny said.

The Native American Association of Germany was started nearly 10 years ago to provide fellowship for American Indian soldiers stationed in Germany and to facilitate cultural exchanges. The group
is spending more and more time, however, trying to help hobbyists separate fact from fiction, Kwasny said.

"People are overdoing it," she said. "They are acting like Native American people have solutions for all our problems. They need to learn to accept Indians as human beings."

Many Germans dream of traveling to the American frontier to see "red Indians," but their romantic notions are often far from the reality of life on a modern reservation, Kwasny said, recalling her first
encounter with American Indians in Germany. The free-flowing humor and jokes were especially uncomfortable for her, she said.

"They were teasing me, and they had a big party with plastic forks and knives. I was so shocked. I thought they were all so environmentally conscious."  

....Karl May, penned some of his work while in prison for fraud and never visited the West. Although the details are often comical
(Apaches living in pueblos?), more than 100 million copies of his books have been sold, according to the Karl May Museum. His fans included Adolph Hitler, Herman Hesse and Albert Einstein. The
characters are still so popular that many Germans name their children Winnetou....

Biber is part of a particularly strict faction of Germans who love Indians.

On a recent afternoon at his home in the south German countryside, he agreed to talk about his passion. But first, he wanted to make a few things clear. Not all hobbyists are alike. Some dress in garish war bonnets once a year to dance around tom-toms and whoop like Indians from the Hollywood movies. Others seek enlightenment through chanting, sweating and chasing visions....

Not all Indians interest the Germans. Most hobbyists focus on American Indian culture pre-1880, when the last tribes were forced onto reservations. Biber rejects criticism that hobbyists need to be more concerned with contemporary Indian issues, such as widespread poverty or the fight to protect wild bison in Yellowstone National

"What we do has nothing to do with the Indians today," he said. "What we do has to do with a culture that is already gone, like the Romans. It's not necessary for me to go to Rome and get
permission to study the Romans...."

Biber's daughters - Buffalo Robe, 4, and 6-year-old Winona - play nearby. The girls are known to their friends as Anna and Maria. These "civilian names" were given in case they outgrow the hobby, Biber said: "Many children do when they hit the awkward teenage years...."

barnaby_mcewan"<>  Add to Address Book
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 15:11:11 -0000
Subject: [newagefraudsplastichshamans] Germans and Indians

Christian Feest, an Austrian academic and (former?) editor of theEuropean Review of Native American Studies, has taken an interest in
this topic for a while now, and has edited/co-edited  a couple of anthologies:

Feest, Christian F., (ed.) Indians and Europe:An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
1999. ISBN 0-8032-6897-1

Here's a review, from

>Indians & Europe is a handsome collection of essays, lavishly and fascinatingly illustrated, that examines the interaction between Europe and Native American Indians, from early times when the Indians were a barely credited myth, through various stages in the relationship from fascination to fear, hatred, contempt and finally - on the part of Euopeans - guilt at the near genocide that was the eventual fate of so many Indian cultures. Not least of the vast study's virtues is that it gives as much attention to the Indians' view of Europe and the Europeans as to the more familiar Eurocentric

I've only read Feest's fascinating afterword, 'Europe's Indians'; it teases out in some detail the roots of German fascination with the
Indians haunting their imaginations. It's also in
Clifton, James A. (ed). The Invented Indian: Cultural Fictions and Government Policies. London, England: Transaction Books. 1990. ISBN:
0-88738-341-6. pp 313-332.

which is where I read it.

The second anthology, 'Germans and Indians: Fantasies, Encounters, Projections.' arose from a conference on this topic. There's a review and full citation here:
Finally I found this newspaper article:
>Reporters aren't allowed in Alex Biber's annual Indian hobbyist encampment in Germany. "Having a reporter there would be too much of
an anachronism," he said.<


If you 'click to enlarge image', you'll see that these German hobbyists have another strange habit: they wear his 'n' hers sandals.
And he wears socks with his.


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