June 19th, 2011
by Dr. William Thomas
I took the trouble to read Rob Schmidt’s article in the Newspaper Rock under the title “Rob questions Winnetou movie”. Let me just say that I was more than disappointed by the presentation of the writer Karl May [1842-1912]. The whole approach of Mr. Schmidt and that of the participants in the discussion suffer from one unforgivable flaw – that is to judge events which happened one hundred and thirty one years ago from the present day point of view. This is a common mistake not tolerated of course in any serious study of past events by critical scholars.
Rob Schmidt’s contribution to the discussion – given just one example out of many similar – states: “Winnetou’s Apaches are phony” does not resemble the true situation at the time of Karl May writing his book. Mr. Schmidt has no doubt read and heard of the Western Apache in Arizona, a legendary place in the Little Colorado Valley, north of their historic range, where they claim to have once lived in company with the Navajo and Pueblo peoples. This has been clearly described in the book by Thomas E. Mails: “The People Called Apache” [A Rutledge Book Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1974] in many pages in there. I trust Mr. Schmidt is familiar with this study. There were Pueblo dwelling Apache!
June 4th, 2011
I recently came across this article written by Rob Schmidt on Newspaper Rock
After much amusement, I could not resist the urge to set the record straight.
Rob Schmidt wrote:
In the introduction of the original “winnetou – the red gentlemen” from 1800 the author has a long prologue that the Native Culture is much better than the white conquerors. he describe the native culture as culture of honour and love to nature, and that he will inform all the people that this culture is much higher than our culture because they only take from nature what they need to survive – full of respect to mother nature! The bad guys in the story are mostly greedy white guys. And that opinion of an european is for my really surprising at that time.
Yes, the prologue is indeed long, but the above summation is far from accurate for Karl May wrote:
… If it is true that all living beings have a right to life, and this right is granted equally to the masses as well as to the individual, then the red man has that right no less than the white man. He may well speak out with authority about his social development in the context of his culture and according to his individuality. But it is openly stated that the Indian doesn’t possess the necessary qualities. Is that true? I say no! I don’t want to offer any proofs, since it is not my intent to write an all-encompassing dissertation on the subject. The white man has found time to evolve naturally. He went from hunter to herdsman, from herdsman to farmer and industrialist. But the red man did not find this time because it was not granted to him. Now he must make the giant leap from the lowest rung; that is, from hunter to the very top. And in making this demand on him, one has not considered that he could stumble and suffer life-threatening injuries. …