It took some time .... however, here comes our report about our participation in this year's Karl May Festival in Radebeul, Germany
Our Team in front of our booth
For the third time One Spirit Germany took part in the Karl May Festival near Dresden in Eastern Germany. This year’s motto of the festival was “Stories, Fairy Tales and Legends”. Therefore the artists of the Oneida Nation had come to narrate about their culture, their traditions and their stories. There was also an oriental market where dancers from Anatolia and a storyteller disguised as Karl May performed. The patron of the festival was Gojko Mitic, the most famous “Indian” of the East German film scene, a kind of “Winnetou of the East”.
On Friday afternoon, while enjoying the nicest sunshine, we started to set up our booth. We were 5 members coming from all over Germany and managed the decoration work with some routine. Due to the great weather even on Friday a lot of visitors stopped at our booth. It was decorated with a beaded saddlebag and a pipebag made by our member Gaby Trümper which draw the attention of many visitors and led to interesting talks with some of them. The jewelry by Lakota artist Robert Lee Apple found much admiration.
Later we had our annual staff meeting. When looking at the numbers of last year's visitors to the website, we found out that the numbers increased very much, especially after taking part in several festivals. The amount of donations that we could send to the USA had increased in 2015, too. These lucky circumstances showed the importance of such events as the Karl-May-Festival to us, where we can demonstrate the disastrous situation of the Lakota at Pine Ridge. Because of our meeting we missed the Indian Film Night and the movie “Four sheets to the wind”.
The next sunny morning invited many visitors to the Festival, where many attractions waited: In the quarry “High Rock” the traditional PowWow of the Oneida took place, storyteller Ron Patterson told tribal narratives and legends and showed the art of making bows and arrows. The 5 dancers led by Heath Hill showed different dances which could be joined by the visitors. The Canadian singer George Leach performed his emotional and sometimes rocky Blues Lines, touching the hearts of the visitors. The shows were led and translated by Indian book author Kerstin Groeper. The PowWow took place beneath a painting on the rocks by artist Ed Bryant. Ed is from the Tsimshian Nation in the northwest of Canada and in his early years he was taught by his grandfather about the legends of his Nation. He has been carving totem poles for 30 years and now, after a break of some years, he painted the picture „Tree of Life“ on the cliff near the quarry. Therein he unites the 3 animals eagle, bear and wolf. The eagle stands for the king of the air, for power and determination. Only those were allowed to wear his feathers that had distinguished themselves by special deeds, courage and power. The bear represents strength, wisdom and is one of the most important animals in narratives and legends of many tribes. The wolf is honored as a wise mentor and a familiar spirit and seen as an ancestor of some clans.
Then there was a gold digger town named „Fort Henry“, a place that was built with much dedication to make it look like a town during the gold rush. There you could watch a blacksmith at work, have a beer at Hank’s Saloon or visit the trappers’ Trading Post. Suddenly there were gun shots when some tramps robbed the bank and blew up the safe. The sheriff and his men came to help. A wild shooting took place until the law won in the end. After that the undertaker had a lot of work to do.
There also was an Oriental Bazar where you could enjoy dances, stories and food from the Orient and the Balkan.
At Little Tombstone there was live music all day. The country stage Saxonia showed parts from “Winnetou I”. The Sheriff chased the Locci band so the bandits could be watched in prison afterwards. At the booths of the Karl-May-House Hohenstein-Ernstthal and the Karl-May-Museum Radebeul they offered information about current exhibitions.
From time to time gun shots sounded through Lößnitzgrund and the Santa Fé-Train was robbed by bandits – but the courageous soldiers of the Virginia Volunteers could clear the situation every time.
In the camp of the star riders there were western riding tournaments. The award ceremony was held by Gojko Mitic. When he gave autographs afterwards the rush of fans was overwhelming.
At our booth we had many visitors, too. Many of them were well informed about the situation of the Indians and so we had some good conversations. The art of Robert Lee Apple, his picture postcards and handcrafted earrings found many admirers. One supporter of One Spirit Germany had a special interpretation of Rob’s picture of the conquered brave. Usually the sight of the warrior bowing his head in sorrow is a symbol for the ending of the Indian way of life, the defeat of the Indian people. Rob had also added the ghost of a buffalo in the clouds to the picture, so he saw the union of the Indian man and the buffalo, which used to be the foundation of their life and provided everything for them. He saw the hope that the buffaloes may come back and through them the Indian people may rise again. A beautiful and hopeful sight!
In the evening the „Night of the Stories“ was held in the quarry by the Oneidas, dancers from Anatolia, George Leach, Gojko Mitic and Kerstin Groeper. Gojko read a part of Chief Seattle's speech which was very touching. Rose, George Leach’s girlfriend, told stories from her people, the Haida from the western coast. She is such a fascinating storyteller that everyone was absolutely quiet and one could almost see the thunderbird she demonstrated with her voice and body. After that the movie “Songs my Brother taught me” was shown.
Activities on Sunday morning started with the traditional star rider parade. Altogether there were 200 horsemen and ladies. During that day, we had some more good conversations at our booth, for example with Bruno Schmäling and Kerstin Groeper from Dreamcatcher Publishing (Traumfänger Verlag). We had also some informative papers fixed vis-à-vis to our booth explaining the programs of One Spirit and many visitors took their time to read them.
Here are some more pictures of the festival:
|Lots of interested visitors at our booth||Reading about One Spirit Programs|
|A part of our offer||Kerstin Groeper translates Oneida narratives||The Oneidas with the Schmähling/Groeper family||Karl May and some of the characters he brought to life on the stage|