Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Turbans or Teepees?

A few weeks ago, James casually mentioned that his class watched and/or did some "Indianer dancing" at school.  I asked him a few questions about it, but before I could elicit much out of him, he gave me his typical shut-down-the-conversation answer: "It's kind of hard to tell."  So I mentally pictured his class watching a dancing clip from a Bollywood movie, thought that sounded kind of cute, and moved on.

A few days went by and he brought up the "Indianer" once or twice more, and then started talking about their hats.  He said they had feathers on them.


Then I remembered that a couple of Daphne's very first German vocabulary words this year were the words for "India" and "Indian" (they learned words with the letter "i" very early on).  I also vaguely recalled seeing a tiny black-and-white picture of what looked like a Native American on her vocab list.  I'll admit, they struck me as rather odd vocabulary words to start off with, despite the fact they contain two "i"s a piece.

But now we were curious, so we pulled up some images of both Actual Indian-Indians and Native American Indians on Google images to show James and settle the issue.

Result: inconclusive (perhaps because some of the turbans had feathers too?) - but still leaning toward Native Americans.

We received the final proof the other day, however, when James mentioned a word that sounded a lot like "moccasins" in a Luxembourgish accent, and then said they lived in "teepees," straight-up.  Okay, mystery solved.

So in other words, my son came all the way to Luxembourg to learn about Native Americans.  Wow, cool - we have no problem with this.  But still...it is just us, or does it also seem a bit, for lack of a better term, random?

If you read this previous post, you'll know that the class can spend several weeks on one topic, and it appeared that, indeed, James' class has spend several weeks studying Native Americans, culminating with a field trip this past Monday.

Wait, huh?

Ah, the magic and mystery of field trips here.  Emphasis on mystery.  Remember the forest trip from this time last year?  Most of the time we get a note home saying a trip is happening, and what the kids should bring, but it's not really a formal permission slip.  Sometimes we're given an address.  Parents are not invited (allowed?) to participate as chaperones, so you only find out what happened via the verbal account of your small child.  It's also an account of something that has just happened to them in a different language than they're using to explain it (and in this case, the subject is a culture that is neither of these).

Take a moment to wrap your mind around that.

Anyway, we received the note a few days before informing us that the class would partake in "Une Journée Chez Les Indiens."  They listed a website for details: tipi.lu

Do yourself a favor and go to this site, set your browser to translate, click around and enjoy the translations from German. :)

And sure enough, James came home from school on Monday looking like this:

can anyone make out what his Indian name is?
He had a great time and wants to know when we can all go back.

We're curious, does anyone else think this is super cute but super random like we do??  Are Luxembourgers "into" Native Americans?


Anonymous said...

I believe they are in Britain, and they must be in France, too....

Anonymous said...

We're not really into them ;-) Also there is no such word in Lux for Native Americans ;)) "Amerikanesch Ureinwohner" isn't used at all

Pete and Rosie said...

A friend of mine just told me that she was shocked at how many kids were dressed up in "stereotypical" Native American costumes for Carvinal at her kids' school (local Lux school as well). It's interesting, because many schools in the US would frown upon this as not politically correct (say, for Halloween costumes). But that's interesting that there isn't even a word for Native Americans in Lux!! Saying "Indians" for Native Americans in the US considered ignorant or at least un-PC these days.

Renay said...

Indians call them Red Indians. I remember doing a Red Indian dance in kindergarten (in India) for a function.