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(S+) An Apsáalooke in Brandenburg: “I am personally grateful to Karl May”


Karl May once invented Winnetou as a kind of blood brother of the Germans. 150 years later, Montana's Kendall Old Elk mediates between fantasy and reality in a Wild West park in Templin. How does he deal with clichés?

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Kendall Old Elk with two young visitors of the amusement park El Dorado Templin: "I am personally grateful to Karl May"


Hermann Bredehorst / SPIEGEL history

Kendall Old Elk stands on the stage of the Wild West Salon, bangs his drum and dances.

He has his hair braided into two pigtails, two large eagle feathers and many smaller chicken feathers sticking out of the headband.

His purple fabric overdress barely covers the base layers he's wearing underneath.

Bells jingle on his arms and legs as he jumps from one foot to the other.

Old Elk is a showman at El Dorado Templin, a Wild West theme park in the Uckermark, an hour and a half drive from Berlin.

About 200 people sit in the audience and watch Old Elk, mostly parents with their children.

Many of them wear cowboy hats, sheriff stars, toy guns.

Indigenous chants pour out of the speakers, then the music suddenly switches to Eminem's »The Real Slim Shady«, Old Elk waves his arms back and forth, the audience claps along, the children in the front row jump to their feet.

As the song ends, Old Elk is standing at the edge of the stage.

“My name is Kendall Old Elk and I want to teach you about Native American culture,” he says.

"Howgh," calls a man from the audience.

Old Elk is getting serious.

"It's a stereotype," he says into the microphone.

There are more than 500 indigenous groups in North America, some with their own languages.

"Howgh" he had never heard as a greeting.

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Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-02-07

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