The Double Entendre of Re-enactment
Many Germans are well aware of the late 19th century author Karl May who wrote many historically inaccurate ethnically-directed novels, some of which the Native North American was the main motif. Though his work would or never be considered art, nevertheless, his work was among many in which the primitive other pervaded the everyday life of European at a level that was simultaneously attractive and repelling. In the present tense, each summer thousands of Europeans, and Germans, spread out to the forests in an ancient rite of gathering to re-enact the historical fictions. Meanwhile Native North American contemporary artists use tropes of their own to create works that draw attention, usually in comic fashion, to the relationship between the Native and non-Native.
Keywords: Re-enact, Native, North American, Non-native
Dr. Gerald McMaster
Curator of Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto