Kindred by Choice
Germans and American Indians since 1800
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...thinspace“Let me confess,” said Charlotte, “that when you call all these curious entities of yours affi ned, they appear to me to possess not so much an affi nity of blood as an affi nity of mind and soul.”This book began as an eﬀ ort to explain the abundant references to Ameri-can Indians in contemporary Germany as well as the staggering numbers ...
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If I had known that this book would take so long to complete, I might well have pursued something else: a life history, a state history, a take on an era, something with a more explicit beginning, middle, and end. There were many times when I cursed myself for not choosing a topic with a fi nite set of sources located in a tidy, accessible archive. Transnational and transcultural ...
Introduction: Beyond the Buckskin
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Germania is separated from the Gauls and from the Raeti and Pannonii by the Rhine and Danube rivers, from the Sarmatians and Dacians by the barrier of mutual fear or mountain ranges. The other parts, with their broad promontories and vast islands, are surrounded by the Ocean; in recent times war has revealed the existence there of nations and kings unknown before....
PART I: Origins and Transformations across the Nineteenth Century
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In 1951 Hans Plischke’s From Cooper to Karl May set the stage for a half century of literary analysis. Presenting a genealogy of German authors of “ethnographic novels” set in Native America, he argued that romanticism led Germans to develop an interest in these books at the outset of the nine-teenth century. They “took readers into the past, into the communal life of ...
1 From Cooper to Karl May—Recast
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Germany’s black hills, the Elbsandsteingebirge, are replete with picturesque sandstone pillars jutting out of pristine forests textured by wide valleys, steep canyons, and imposing mesas. Much like in the Black Hills of South Dakota, tourists fl ock to the forests during the summer and take to the trails that wind through the narrows and up the stone faces. Inspiring romantic ...
2 Accommodating Violence
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In August 1862, while much of the United States was focused on the Sec-ond Battle of Bull Run in the American Civil War, the Minnesota frontier exploded. Dakota Indians began killing white, overwhelmingly German, set-tlers in southwestern Minnesota, leading to the “massacre”¹ of six hundred to eight hundred of those settlers and the depopulation of twenty- three Min-...
3 Changes in the Lands
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When Rudolf Cronau arrived in Minnesota two decades after the Dakota confl ict, colonial encounters were no longer possible. The landscape had changed. A quest for “red winter wheat,” which began “rivaling king cotton,” had transformed areas once replete with meadows and forests. Farms had domesticated the landscape, and Minneapolis, he noted with wonder, had ...
4 Modern Germans and Indians
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In 1903 W. E. B. Du Bois famously remarked that “the problem of the twen-tieth century is the problem of the color- line,—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and in the islands of the sea.” It was the color line that made him, as an African American, feel like a persistent “problem” everywhere and always, “save perhaps,” he noted, “in ...
PART II: Consistencies across Twentieth-Century Ruptures
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Hitler’s fascination with Karl May, his concerns with the United States, and National Socialists’ interests in American Indians, even the ways in which the Nazis harnessed the American past to rationalize their eﬀ orts to colonize Eastern Europe, did nothing to undercut the widespread sense of affi nity for American Indians among Germans during the twentieth century. The enthu-...
5 Instrumentalization across Political Regimes
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At fi rst glance, the Karl May Indian seems to be the image that dominated German imaginations in the twentieth century. It was, after all, his books and the movies based upon them that outsold everything else. Scholars have posited countless theses for his continued success. Mary Nolan has argued, for example, that Karl May transformed America into epic fi ction, creating ...
6 Race, Character, and Masculinity before and after Hitler
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On 7 July 1959, the Süddeutsche Zeitung gleefully reported the burning of three thousand books in a public square in Munich. The bonfi re took place toward the conclusion of a successful “Indian- Exhibition” in Munich’s Old Botanical Garden. About one thousand people, including U.S. military offi -cers and public school offi cials, attended the incineration of these “bad books ...
7 Comparative Genocides
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During a recent meeting of the American Anthropological Association I had the pleasure of eating dinner with an anthropologist who works in Zim-babwe. We had just completed a panel on settler colonialism, where I had spoken on subaltern genocide and New Ulm. During the more general dis-cussion of Germans’ long fascination with American Indians that ensued ...
8 Receptions in Native America
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The Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation is an oasis on the prairie. Nestled behind a rise just oﬀ of Highway 18 about four miles north of the town of Pine Ridge, it makes a stunning impression. Tourists approach it from Hot Springs and Wind Cave National Park on the edge of the Black Hills to the west, drive down from Rapid City or the Bad Lands ...
Conclusions: What Persists
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The German fascination with American Indians is not over, and I do not ex-pect it to end any time soon. Thus, this book does not conclude, as so many history monographs do, with a rupture, a break, a moment after which every-thing is diﬀ erent, and yet some traces of the subject remain to be summed up in a tidy epilogue. One of the things this book has demonstrated is that the ...
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Publication Year: 2013