If Only I Were an Indian

Year
1995
Duration
81 minutes

If Only I Were an Indian follows three Native Americans (two Cree and one Ojibwa) from Manitoba, Canada as they travel to the former Czechoslovakia to meet several hundred Czechs and Slovaks who have set up a remarkable "Indian" community.

Wearing Indian dress and living in tee-pees, these central Europeans have adopted, to an amazing, almost obessive degree, the traditional cultures of nineteenth century North American Native Indians. Everything from play and recreation to religion and philosophy, from food preparation to child rearing is based on historic Native American models.

Inspired by the writings of the turn of the century Canadian naturalist, Ernest Thompson Seton, and his contemporary, the German novelist Karl May, these Czechs and Slovaks see Native Indian cultures as an alternative to what they consider to be the spiritual bankruptcy of modern day European civilization.

Astonishing, humourous, angry and poignant by turns, this beautiful film is a remarkable journey across continents, history, and cultures.

If Only I Were An Indian is a glimpse into the disorienting world of the "White Wampum" tribe, a group of Czech and Slovak families expressing their fascination with North American Native Culture by spending their summer vacations deep in the forests of Central Europe, living in teepees, dressed in loincloths, features and Moccasins, attempting to appropriate another culture's way of life.

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