Germans Keep First Nations Traditions Alive

Three years ago, I met the biggest change in my life: my fiancée, Jennifer Fröhling.

She is from East Germany, near Berlin; I am a Kaska First Nation artist, carving in moose antler.

I spent all of my life in the bush near Ross River and, from there, a beautiful girl finally pulls me out during her vacation.

Jenny and I spend three months of the year in Germany and nine months in the Yukon bush.

Yet it was in Germany that I was welcomed with a tobacco offering, which is a lost tradition in Canada.

During my stay in Germany, we travelled a lot and I’m just amazed by the wonderful people, the rich culture and history, the great architecture, delicious food and the beautiful country.

We went to the Museum of German History, but we could not finish it in one day .. there is just so much information. They have hand-held translating devices, which was very convenient for me.

No matter what museum or gallery we went to, all descriptions were in German, English and French.

The different lifestyle, and how modern everything is, makes it very interesting.

Even though there are millions of people in a tiny country, I was amazed at how clean and neat everything is.

Even the forest is groomed, but there is still a lot of wildlife.

My experience with the European people is just fantastic.

They are so friendly and respectful toward Canadians and, especially, to First Nation People.

We even met Germans living in a teepee, who dressed in traditional First Nation clothes for one week … all handmade.

Some of them even tan their own hide and all the beadwork is in original traditional designs.

That was very impressive.

I wish the Canadian First Nations will get back their pride; it is the German people who carry on the traditions for us.

The flower design we are using in Canada is not a traditional design. It came over with the English ladies, who demanded from First Nation women to bead this type of design.

I was always interested in Germany and Europe and there is still more I want to see.

Our next goal is the Alps and beyond.

I went two times to Germany now and, what can I say, I’m very honoured to have my first solo art exhibition in April 2010 near Berlin. After that, there will be a group show with two other First Nation artists, Mary Caesar and Mark Preston.

It will be the first time for them in Germany and I know they will love it.

Suga sinla.

This story has been entered in the Foreign Correspondent Contest and could earn the writer a round-trip, for two, to Frankfurt, Germany, courtesy of Condor Airlines. See the Contest Guidelines at

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