Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 2   September 2011

Center for Comparative Native and Indigenous Studies created at Mainz university
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Germany: "Dances With Wolves..."  "Pocahontas..."  We've all seen Hollywood films or read popular books about indigenous peoples. Most, however, are anything but accurate mirrors of indigenous cultures and identities.

To help bring the world’s indigenous people into the scope of research focus, the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz has founded the Center for Comparative Native and Indigenous Studies (CCNIS). Dr. Mita Banerjee heads CCNIS and is a well-respected researcher in her field.

"We want to show that these myths hardly have anything to do with the real Indian's identities and environments, and, above all, that Indians are not extinct but are an existing people that make an independent contribution to culture," said Professor Banerjee.

CCNIS will be organized within JGU's American Studies department. It hopes to change public misconceptions by looking at indigenous cultures themselves. They will also identify those institutions which provide Indigenous communities with national and global visibility.


Among the issues CCNIS plans to address are:
The recent surge of interest in native cultures due to “Ecocriticism;”
Native medical cultures;
Native religions and spirituality;
Indigenous cultures’ representation in theater, film, and literature. 

The Center will also examine and analyze actions taken by nation-states to accommodate indigenous peoples. 

 “…The CCNIS wants to provide synergy effects for research on indigenous studies which is already being conducted at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz," Professor Banerjee said. CCNIS also plans to "...invite further research by guest researchers both national and international, and writers and artists working in the field of indigenous studies."

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