Ich bin ein Indianer - Der Cowboyclub Regensburg in der interationalen Presse
Cowboys-Injuns (1994). Michael Belmore

Ich bin ein Indianer

Der Cowboy Club in der internationalen Presse

Germany’s obsession with a past it never had


In one of its more equivocal forms, the experience of homesickness is rooted in an intuition that there is not and never has been a home. This occurred to me on an unseasonably warm spring afternoon, shortly after arriving in the town of Regensburg, deep in the heart of Bavaria. Outside the train station, I found a cab and asked the driver if he knew of the Regensburg Cowboy Club. He gave me the once-over. “Cowboy Club?” he queried. (I was lacking the requisite Western attire.) “Yes,” I said. “The Regensburg Cowboy Club.” He shrugged. “No problem,” he said.

I was in Regensburg on the advice of Murray Small Legs, my Blackfoot guide to Germany’s famously flourishing Indian hobbyist movement. As I was soon to discover, the presence of a Canadian at the Cowboy Club was a special occasion. My trip was a reversal of a pilgrimage that, for most hobbyists, is a right of passage: Instead of coming to North America to see real Native Americans, I was journeying to Germany to see pretend Indians.

Murray Small Legs, incidentally, is not a hobbyist; he is a real Blackfoot, from the Peigan reserve, in Alberta. He has been living in a suburb of Berlin since 1997, part of a growing aboriginal expatriate community in a country where an estimated 60,000 Germans convert, on weekends and holidays, into Nineteenth-Century Native Americans. For those who haven’t witnessed its curious pageantry, Indian hobbyism describes the imitation and study of Native-American culture by non–Native Americans. Typically, the hobbyist gatherings in Germany are organized around a central event, such as a powwow, a sweat lodge, or a rodeo. It was just such a gathering that I hoped to witness in Regensburg. The Regensburg Club, Murray Small Legs had told me, was hosting a weekend rodeo, and the local cowboys were expecting large contingents of dress-up Indians........

(Vollständiger Artikel: https://thewalrus.ca/2003-10-feature-2/)

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