Montag, 4. Oktober 2010


Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Too-hul-hul-sute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who once led them is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

Hat Chief Joseph von den Nez Percé Indianern gesagt. Heute vor 133 Jahren hat er auf seiner Flucht vor der amerikanischen Armee kurz vor der kanadischen Grenze kapituliert und sich dem Colonel Nelson Miles ergeben. Der hatte ihm zugesagt, dass sein Stamm in das alte Reservat zurückkehren kann. War aber gelogen. Irgendwie hat Chief Joseph viel zu viel Vertrauen in General Oliver Otis Howard, der sich in den Schlachten von Chancellorsville und Gettysburg als völlig unfähiger General erwiesen hat (und sich sein Leben lang mit Nelson Miles darüber streiten wird, wer denn für die Gefangennahme von Chief Joseph den Ruhm bekommen soll). Aber er ist ein großer Christ und sehr gläubig. Dieses With God on our side ist immer gefährlich.

Arthur Kopit hat diesen Monolog in sein Theaterstück Indians hineingearbeitet, er verfehlt dort seine Wirkung nicht. Wenn das Licht ausgeht, und nur noch ein spot auf Chief Joseph ist. Und wenn er auf ein kleines hölzernes Fass klettert und seinen Text aufsagt: Tell General Howard I know his heart... Die Szenenanweisung vermerkt an dieser Stelle accompanied by exaggerated and inappropiate gestures. Und wenn er I will fight no more forever gesagt hat, klettert er von seinem kleinen Fass, schaut ins Publikum und sagt: After which the audience always applauded und geht ab. Da wagt aber niemand zu klatschen, in diesem Augenblick.

Als ➱Kopits Indians auf die Bühne kommt, werden die Indianer zum ersten Mal beachtet. Und damit meine ich nicht die vor allem in Deutschland kursierende Rede des Chief Seattle, die so wie sie verbreitet wurde, auf keinen Fall echt ist. Sie wurde von allen auswendig gelernt, die später die Grünen waren. Wir haben es seit Karl May nun mal mit der Indianerromantik. Und Zitate aus der Rede klebten als Sticker an verrosteten Döschewos und R4s. Heute wären die Autos, die die Grünen damals fuhren, ja das Ende einer Politikerkarriere, aber damals sah man das nicht so.

In den sechziger Jahren haben die Indianer plötzlich Konjunktur. The Return of the Vanishing American hat Leslie A. Fiedler sein Buch genannt über den Indianer in der neueren amerikanischen Literatur. Der Indianer in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest von Ken Kesey spielt darin eine Rolle. Und es gibt das American Indian Movement (AIM), und Vine Deloria mit seinem Buch Custer Died for Your Sins. Und indianische protest singer wie Floyd Westerman und Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Und am Ende des Jahrzehnts erscheint Dee Browns Buch Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, da hat selbst Time gemerkt, dass etwas in Amerika vorgeht. In the last decade or so, after almost a century of saloon art and horse operas that romanticized Indian fighters and white settlers, Americans have been developing a reasonably acute sense of the injustices and humiliations suffered by the Indians. But the details of how the West was won are not really part of the American consciousness ... Dee Brown, Western historian and head librarian at the University of Illinois, now attempts to balance the account. With the zeal of an IRS investigator, he audits U.S. history's forgotten set of books. Compiled from old but rarely exploited sources plus a fresh look at dusty Government documents, 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' tallies the broken promises and treaties, the provocations, massacres, discriminatory policies and condescending diplomacy.

Das ist ja sehr zurückhaltend gesagt, die Sängerin Buffy Sainte-Marie hatte das zuvor, die Trauer und Wut in der Stimme, ganz anders gesagt:

Now that your big eyes have finally opened,
Now that you're wondering how must they feel,
Meaning them that you've chased across America's movie screens.
Now that you're wondering how can it be real
That the ones you've called colorful, noble and proud
In your school propaganda
They starve in their splendor?
You've asked for my comment I simply will render:

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the longhouses breed superstition
You force us to send our toddlers away
To your schools where they're taught to despise their traditions.
You forbid them their languages, then further say
That American history really began
When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress
That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.
And yet where in your history books is the tale
Of the genocide basic to this country's birth,
Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed,
How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?
And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell
As it rang with a thud
O'er Kinzua mud,
And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year?

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Hear how the bargain was made for the West:
With her shivering children in zero degrees,
Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,
Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,
And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.
And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,
A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it's better this way.
And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,
Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.
From the Gran Canyon's caverns to craven sad hills
The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.
From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
The white nation fattens while others grow lean;
Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens;
Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks.
And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands
And surprise in your eyes that we're lacking in thanks
For the blessings of civilization you've brought us,
The lessons you've taught us, the ruin you've wrought us --
Oh see what our trust in America's brought us.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the pride of the sires receives charity,
Now that we're harmless and safe behind laws,
Now that my life's to be known as your "heritage,"
Now that even the graves have been robbed,
Now that our own chosen way is a novelty --
Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory,
Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy
Pitying the blindness that you've never seen
That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory
They were never no more than carrion crows,
Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story;
The mockingbird sings it, it's all that he knows.
"Ah what can I do?" say a powerless few
With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye --
Can't you see that their poverty's profiting you.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Die meisten Radiosender Amerikas haben den Song nicht gespielt.

Lesen Sie auch: Edle WildeGeorge CatlinTecumseh in DresdenCharles WimarMontcalmLake GeorgePhilip FreneauRalph EarlWilliam Cullen BryantAby WarburgCuster

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