Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

The Plot Thickens: Now it's the Austrians Dressing up as Native Americans

In our International Issue, we asked the age-old question: Why do 40,000 Germans spend their weekends dressed as Native Americans? We know this much: it has something to do with Karl May, the best-selling German author of all time.

In Der Indianer, reprinted from Alberta Views, we learn that "in 1892, May published the first of many books about a fictional Apache warrior named Winnetou and his German blood brother, Old Shatterhand. The two men roamed the North American plains, using their nearly superhuman powers to fight off the land-hungry government and thuggish, violent pioneers."

Now we've stumbled upon photographs from a Karl May festival in Austria. Whatever it is that is happening here, it seems to be spreading.

Der Indianer One

Der Indianer Two

Der Indianer Three

Images bypixel0908, licensed under Creative Commons.