180110: Museum für Völkerkunde: Sitting Bull and his world

Museum für Völkerkunde: Sitting Bull and his world Myth and man Tatanka Iyotanka or Iyotake (1831-1890), better known as Sitting Bull, significantly influenced the image of Native Americans in the years marking the “Wild West”. The attributes connected to him, ranging from freedom fighter, “holy man”, demagogue, troublemaker, poet, painter, media star, role model for management strategies and loving father, created a very contradictory image of this historically significant man for the USA. His Indian name “Sitting Bison animal”, symbolizes the courageous, nearly invincible, noble “wild” and ultimately he became a myth, a “green pioneer”. Sitting Bull was photographed nearly 60 times during his last 13 years, showing him in diverse roles - considering the photographic technology of the time, it is hardly surprising that he was presented in any other way but “frozen” - either sitting or standing: Sitting Bull, the family man, Sitting Bull, once with a hat, and - another time, on account of a facioplegia, with sunglasses and only a single feather on his head. And Sitting Bull with a Christian cross around his neck. He wore the present made by a clergyman as a sign of his respect for the “holy man”. Or as the worthy warrior and chief of the Hunkpapa, part of the Lakota Sioux, posing next to Buffalo Bill, whom he accompanied for four months on his famous Wild West shows. The exhibition “Sitting Bull and his world” at the Vienna Ethnology Museum attempts to do the “last Indian” Tatanka Iyotanka justice - both as a myth as well as a man. Not an easy undertaking, which – at least from today’s European perspective – seems to be successful. The co-operation brought three museums together: The Völkerkunde Museum, Vienna, the Übersee-Museum, Bremen, and the Museum Centre Vaprilikki, Tampere (Finland). The exhibition presents a comprehensive historical picture of his tribe and its family system. One learns that men did not have any say in household affairs or have any rights regarding their children (children from former marriages remained with their mothers). And one learns about the hostile American policy towards Native Americans during those years, and Sitting Bull’s “after life”, including the commercial exploitation of “Sitting Bull” as a brand. By Marie-Gabriela Martinkowic Museum für Völkerkunde 1010 Vienna, Neue Burg, until 05.03.2010 http://www.ethno-museum.ac.at

Weltmuseum Wien
1010 Wien, Neue Burg
Tel: +43 1 534 30 – 5052
Email: info@weltmuseumwien.at
Öffnungszeiten: täglich außer Dienstag 10-18 Uhr

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