Cross-Cultural Filmmaking as a Process of Self-Reflection: Filming Native Americans within Central European Space’s Prevailing Imagery of the “Noble Savage”

Lívia Šavelková 1
  • 1 Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology University of Pardubice, , Pardubice, Czech Republic


In Said´s notion of “Orientalism” as a set of discursive practices through which the West structured the imagined East, the Czech Republic (or former Czechoslovakia) in particular, and so called Eastern Europe in general, has been viewed by “the West” as a space inhabited by “exotic other”. The former socialist countries (and the so called post-socialist countries) have been constructing their own “Orients” and “exotic others” as well including Noble Savage stereotype of Native Americans. This paper focuses on a visual (re)presentation of a meeting between people who might have mutually constructed each other as the “exotic other”. Based on filming of a visit of a Native American sport team competing in the Czech Republic, the paper would like to discuss who are the “exotic ones” and for whom and the methodological issues related to the creation of the cross-cultural ethnographic films.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • ALEISS, A. (2005): Making the white man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood movies. Westport, CT: Praeger.

  • APPADURAI, A. (1990): Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy. In. Theory, Culture and Society 7, pp. 295-310.

  • ARZYUTOV, D. V. (2016): Samoyedic Diary: Early Years of Visual Anthropology in the Soviet Arctic. In. Visual Anthropology 29, pp. 331-359.

  • BANKS, M. Which films are the ethnographic films? In. Peter Ian Crawford, David Turton (eds): Film as Ethnography. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 116-130.

  • BANKS, M. - RUBY, J. (eds.) (2011): Made to be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

  • BARBASH, I. - TAYLOR, L. (1997): Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Video. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

  • BELLMAN, B. L. - JULES-ROSETTE, B. (1977): A paradigm for looking: cross-cultural research with visual media. Norwood: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

  • BUCHOWSKI, M. (2006): The Specter of Orientalism in Europe: From Exotic Other to Stigmatized Brother. In. Anthropological Quarterly 79: 3, pp. 463-482.

  • CALDER, J. - FLETCHER, R. (2011): Lacrosse: The Ancient Game. Toronto: Ancient Game Press.

  • CALLOWAY, C. G. - GEMÜNDEN, G. - SUSANNE, Z. (eds) (2002). Germans and Indians: Fantasies, Encounters, Projections. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.

  • CHURCHILL, W. (1998): Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema, and the Colonization of American Indians. San Francisco: City Lights Books.

  • CLIFFORD, J. (1988): The Predicament of Culture. The Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature and Art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  • CLIFFORD, J. - MARCUS, G. E. (eds.) (1986). Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • CLIFTON, J. A. (ed) (1990): The Invented Indian: Cultural Fictions and Government Policies. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

  • D'ANDRADE, R. G. (1995): Moral models in anthropology. In. Current Anthropology 36: 3, pp. 399-408.

  • DELORIA, V. (1969): Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: Macmillan.

  • DIATCHKOVA, G. (2008): Indigenous Media as an Important Resource for Russia´s Indigenous Peoples. In. Pamela Wilson, Michelle Stewart (eds): Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics. Durham and London: Duke University Press, pp. 214-231.

  • DOWNEY, A. (2012): Endendering Nationality: Haudenosaunee Tradition, Sport, and the Lines of Gender. In. Journal of the Canadian Historical Association/Revue de la Société historique du Canada 23: 1, pp. 319-354.

  • FABIAN, J. (1983): Time and the Other. How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • FARIS, J. C. (1996): Photographing the Navajo: Scanning Abuse. In. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 20:3, pp. 65-81.

  • FEEST, Ch. F. (1990, 2011): Europe´s Indians. In: James A. Clifton (ed.): The Invented Indian: Cultural Fictions and Government Policies. 6th edition, New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, pp. 313-332.

  • FISHER, D. M. (2002): Lacrosse: A History of the Game. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • FLUEHR-LOBBAN, C. (ed.) (2003): Ethics and the Profession of Anthropology: Dialogue for Ethically Conscious Practice. Lanham: Altamira Press.

  • GINSBURG, F. (1995): The Parallax Effect: The Impact of Aboriginal Media on Ethnographic Film. In. Visual Anthropology Review 11:2, pp. 64-76.

  • GRIMSHAW, A. (2001): The Ethnographer´s Eye: Ways of Seeing in Modern Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • HANN, Ch. (ed.) (2002): Postsocialism: Ideas, ideologies and practices in Eurasia. London and New York: Routledge.

  • HEIDER, K. G. (1976, 2006): Ethnographic Film: Revised Edition. Austin: University of Texas Press.

  • HUGHES, S. P. (2011): Anthropology and the Problem of Audience Reception. In. Marcus Banks, Jay Ruby (eds.): Made to be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

  • HUHNDORF, S. M. (2001). Going Native: Indians in American cultural imagination. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

  • HYMES, D. (1974): Reinventing Anthropology. New York: Vintage.

  • KILPATRICK, J. (1999): Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film. Lincoln a London: University of Nebraska Press.

  • KNOPF, K. (2008): Decolonizing the Lens of Power: Indigenous Films in North America. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B. V.

  • KUBICA-HELLER, G. (2016): Fotografia etnograficzna dokumentująca życie Żydów w Polsce: charakterystyka ogólna/Ethnographic photography documenting Jewish life in Poland: an outline. In. Etnografia Nowa/New Ethnography 7-8, pp. 257-321.

  • KÜRTI, L. - SKALNÍK, P. (2009): Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological Perspectives from Home. New York and Oxford: Bergahn Books.

  • KÝROVÁ, L. (2017): The Right to Think for Themselves': Native American Intellectual Sovereignty and Internationalism during the Cold War, 1950-1989. Ph.D. Dissertation, The College of William and Mary.

  • LASSITER, L. E. (2005): The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

  • LUTZ, H. (2015): Contemporary Achievements: Contextualizing Canadian Aboriginal Literatures. Augsburg: Wißner, 2015. Studies in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures (SALC), 6.

  • MacDOUGALL, D. (1998): Transcultural Cinema. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • MARCUS, G. E. - FISCHER, M. M. J. (1986): Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An Experimental Moment in the Human Sciences. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

  • MARTINEZ, W. (1992): Who Constructs Anthropological Knowledge? Toward a Theory of Ethnographic Film Spectatorship. In. Peter Ian Crawford, David Turton (eds): Film as Ethnography. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 131-161.

  • McNICKLE, D. (1970): American Indians Who Never Were. In. Indian Historian 3: 3, pp. 4-7.

  • MEDICINE, B. (2001): Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining "Native" Selected Writings. Edited with Sue-Ellen Jacobs. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

  • MIHESUAH, D. A. (1993). Suggested Guidelines for Institutions with Scholars who Conduct Research on American Indians. In. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 17:3, pp. 131-139.

  • MIHESUAH, D. A. (1996): American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities. Atlanta: Clarity.

  • MICHAELS, E. (1986). The Aboriginal Invention of Television in Central Australia, 1982-1986. Canberra: Canberra Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

  • PETERSON, L. C. (2013): Reclaiming Diné Film: Visual Sovereignty and the Return of Navajo Film Themselves. In. Visual Anthropology Review 29:1, pp. 29-41.

  • PRINS, H. E. L. (2002): Visual Media and the Primitivist Perplex: Colonial Fantasies and Indigenous Imagination in North America. In. Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, Brian Larkin: Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 58-74.

  • RAHEJA, M. H. (2010): Reservation Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Representations of Native Americans in Film. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.

  • REKHARI, S. (2008): The "other" in film: exclusions of Aboriginal identity from Australian cinema. In. Visual Anthropology 21, 2, pp. 125-135.

  • RONY, F. T. (1996): The Third Eye: Race, Cinema, and Ethnographic Spectacle. USA: Duke University Press.

  • ROSALDO, R. (1989, 1993): Culture and Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis. With a new introduction. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • RUBY, J. (2000): Picturing Culture: Explorations of Film and Anthropology. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

  • RYNKIEWICH, M. A. - SPRADLEY, J. P. (eds) (1976): Ethics and Anthropology: Dilemmas in Fieldwork. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

  • SAID, E. W. (1979): Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.

  • SCHEPER-HUGHES, N. (1995): The Primacy of the Ethical: Propositions for a Militant Anthropology. In. Current Anthropology 36:3, pp. 409-20.

  • SIKORA, S. (2012): Film i paradoksy wizualności w antropologii. Praktikowanie antropologii. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo DiG.

  • SMITH, L. T. (1999): Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books.

  • STRONG, P. T. (2012): American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

  • STRONG, P. T. (2004): Representational Practices. In. Thomas Biolsi (ed): A Companion to the Anthropology of North American Indians. Malden, MA and Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, pp. 341-359.

  • ŠAVELKOVÁ, L. (2017): When the Creator´s “Game” Spreads to the World. In: Barbora Půtová (ed): Identity, Tradition, and Revitalization of American Indian Cultures. Prague: Charles University, Karolinum Press, pp. 74-107.

  • TODOROVA, M. N. (1997, 2009): Imagining the Balkans. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

  • TÓTH, G. F. (2016): From Wounded Knee to Checkpoint Charlie: The Alliance for Sovereignty between American Indians and Central Europeans in the Late Cold War. Albany: SUNY.

  • TURNER, T. (1992): Defiant Images: The Kayapo Appropriation of Video. In. Anthropology Today 8:6, pp. 5-16.

  • VENNUM, Jr., T. (1994): American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.

  • VIZENOR, G. (1993). The Ruins of Representation: Shadow Survivance and the Literature of Dominance. In. American Indian Quarterly 17:1, pp. 7-30.

  • WEATHERFORD, E. (ed) (1981): Native Americans on Film and Video. New York: National Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation.

  • WEINBERGER, E. (1992): The Camera People. In. Transition 55, pp. 24-54.

  • WILSON, P. - STEWART, M. (eds.) (2008): Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

  • WOLFE, T. (2000): Cultures and communities in the anthropology of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In. Annual Review of Anthropology 29, pp. 195-216.

  • WOLFF, L. (1994): Inventing Eastern Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

  • WORTH, S. - ADAIR, J. (1972). Through Navajo Eyes: An Exploration in Film Communication and Anthropology. Bloomington: The Indiana University Press.


Journal + Issues