Lost in Translation: Germany’s Fascination With the American Old West

tags: Germany, Karl May Museum, Old West



Hans Grunert is no stranger to requests from Native Americans regarding the display of sacred items among the headdresses, moccasins, jewelry and hundreds of other artifacts at the Karl May Museum, housed in a faux-log cabin behind a stately 19th-century villa in this eastern German town.

Since the museum’s opening in 1928, a Blackfoot medicine man has held a smoke ceremony for the peace pipe collection, and Lakota have made recommendations on how to display the contents of medicine bags in a way that appeases the spirits.

“We have always been concerned about the sacred objects, and careful that our displays respect native peoples’ wishes for their treatment,” said Mr. Grunert, the curator of the collection of 840 Native American artifacts from the late 18th to early 20th centuries.




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