This year, the Karl-May-Festival was quite different for us. In the past years we had a stall in the middle of the festival grounds. This year however, we moved onto the festival agenda and therefore were granted a stall close to the big stage "Kleine Feder" (small feather).
In co-operation with One Spirit USA we organized the participation in the Karl-May-Festival of 3 Oglala Lakota. Vance and Nuvassie Blacksmith (father and son) and Delacina Chief Eagle came to Dresden on Tuesday before the festival. Since we had some time before the festival started, they had a good chance to get over the jetlag and see some of the towns of Radebeul and Dresden.
The first official item of the agenda was on Wednesday afternoon. We went to the garden of the Karl-May-Museum where we also set up a small booth. Since it was still a normal weekday (next day, Thursday, was a national holiday), not too many visitors showed up. But there were enough people to fill the giant tipi the guys of the museum had set up. Vance introduced himself, Nuvassie and Delacina to the visitors and told them about what it is like to live on a reservation. Afterwards Delacina showed a Fancy Dance and Nuvassie invited the visitors to a handgame. He explained to them how it worked (2 rows of people standing face to face, in one row a person hides a small stone in the left or right hand and another person standing opposite to him has to guess in which hand he holds the stone). This turned out to be very funny and was a good start into the festival.
Afterwards we were invited to a barbecue within the museum grounds. During the barbecue we met the other Native Americans (hey, in Germany WE are the natives!) who were invited to the festival. They came from the White Mountain Apache, Tsimshian and Kwakwaka'wakw nations.
On Friday morning we went downtown Dresden for a press conference in front of the famous Frauenkirche. Nuvassie and Delacina showed some dances and we had a chance to talk about One Spirit. Afterwards we showed them the old city of Dresden (which was completely destroyed during the last war but totally rebuilt in the old style). In the late afternoon we went to the festval grounds to set up our stall.
The program on Saturday started on the stage of the western town with the mayor's welcoming speech and a presentation of all artists who were involved in the festival program. The Lakota, the Apaches, the Tsimsian and the Kwakwaka'wakw had the chance to introduce themselves to the audience with a short description about which nation they belong to and a dance. The audience's feedback for all of them was very positive. Both, the Lakota and the Apaches told us later on that they were positively surprised by the reaction of the audience.
After this official part, the program started on the stage "Kleine Feder". You can find some pictures from the Sächsische Zeitung by following this link: https://www.dnn.de/Mehr/Bilder/Bilderstrecken/2019/6/Impressionen-der-28.-Karl-May-Festtage#chart=1
Nuvassie showed a Men's Traditional Dance and Delacina a Fancy Shawl Dance and a Hoop Dance (see videos below). Both explained the meanings of the dances and from where they came. Again, the audience was very interested in everything they were told and could watch. Even when Delacina asked the visitors to come onto the stage and do the Hoop Dance with her, the stage was filled in a minute.
Nuvassie does a Men's Traditional Dance
Delacina doing the Hoop Dance
Delacina doing the Fancy Dance
Vance told about the life and the traditions of the Lakota. At this place we would like to say a big Thank You to Kerstin Groeper who did all the translations.
People were also very interested in everything Vance told them and the 3 Lakotas told us later that they never had such an interested and attentive audience before when performing in front of white people. The Apaches told us similar things. However, this was already normal for the Tsimshian and Kwakwaka'wakw because it wasn't their first participation in the Karl-May-Festival. At the beginning of his performance, Ed Bryant greeted the audience in his native language Tsimshian and suddenly changed seemlessly into German. You could clearly see that most of the people didn't believe their ears, but how could they know that he normally lives in the town of Salzburg, Austria where he won't get too far when speaking Tsimshian.
Again we were able to sell a lot of jewelery from the reservation. The money we earned will be used for buying new jewelery and also for One Spirit's Youth programs.
The organizers of the festival were very pleased with the performances of all Native American participants. They want to invite them for next year's festival again.
We are looking forward to the 2020 festival!