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November 27 Notes.docx

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University of Alberta
Angela Brkich

CHANGE THEY WERE FORCED TO BELIEVE IN - scholars tend to treat indigenous traditions as "PRIMITIVE" CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITIES - indigenous traditions have radically changed, they are not artifacts from history, and their cultures and religions have changed after contact with Europeans - a lot of First Nations folks converted when they first met with European. Some of it was ● genuine ● forced (residential schools) ● feigned THE GHOST DANCE - a good example of new indigenous religious created in reaction to the europeans - GOT ITS DEFINITIVE FORM FROM A PAIUTE INDIAN from NEVADA named WOVOKA, around 1870 - WOULDED KNEE, SOUTH DAKOTA - syncretistic hybrid of christianity and native religions - operating in a time of westward expansion, losing land and being forced into smaller and poorer territories - Wokova received vision from sky that told him how to align all the North American traditions and turn the tide back on all the changes. Utopia would be established by spirits of the dead if this dance was done. Peace would come with white people, lands returned, buffalo would return. - this movement cut across tribal lines. - as it spread into our neck of the woods (great plains) it underwent a change where the dance would actually drive away the whites or destroy them. it became a messianic movement (in this area there was still a lot of armed conflic with the whites) - the europeans regarded it with suspicion - us army got involved, saw it not as religion but as political upheaval - US ARMY MASSACRED ALL THE GHOST DANCERS AT WOUNDED KNEE, SOUTH DAKOTA - all the people were wearing their ghost shirts which they thought would stop bullets - this was a big movement and moment for the natives of NA, especiall USA NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH - similar to ghost dance in that it was syncretistic with Roman Catholicism - traditional things like pipes, drumming, visions. but there's also belief in jesus, mary, angels - most important ritual was eating PEYOTE PEYOTE - bud from a cactus. powerful hallucinations. MESCALINE is in it. - taking it would give you insights into the other world - taking hallucinogens is not rare in religion - consumed liek eucharist at gathering NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH early 1800's - 100,000 members - represents itself as pan-indian, all tribes are welcome. - whites obviously don't like this - they fought for recognition and won, they are recognized as a religion, and are allowed to consume peyote. REVITALIZATION AND PAN-INDIANISM - ties into counter cultural movements and new age stuff. emerged around the 60s - cross tribal meetings with stone lodges and dances and all the different traditions combined. - this is called PAN-INDIANISM They are trying to identify the doctrines all the NA native religions share: THE NOTION THAT NATURE IS CONTINUALLY UNFOLDING NOTION THAT TIME IS CYCLICAL, NOT LINEAR THE NOTION THAT SUPERHUMAN POWERS AND IN THE WORLD AROUND US THE NOTION THAT DREAMS, VISIONS, AND ORAL TRADITIONS PROVIDE US WITH A KIND OF TRUTH AND FINALLY, IT PROMOTES A MORALITY THAT STRESSES DECENT RELATIONSHIPS WITH ALL BEINGS. - proponents of this whole movement believe that all these tribes need to unify politically - it is a new religions movement. NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUALITY AND NEW AGE RELIGION - This is not what natives are doing with native tradition but what WHITES ARE DOING WITH NATIVE TRADITIONS. ENVIRONMENTALISM - they've really linked the native spirituality to their movement. idea is that their beliefs are much better stewards for the earth - if we can combine some of their beliefs, it would improve our way of life. - this may all be a chimera, whites may be imagining things a certain way and calling it native religion - this does help give Natives more voice - for that reason, there are a lot of Native leaders who are thus rallying around environmentalism as a key to greater political power by valorising them - there is no belief that all of nature is sacred. if everything is sacred, nothing is sacred. this is new stuff. it is reaction. TESTAMENT OF CHIEF SEATTLE - a good example of this zeitgeist manifesting itself. "How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us..." - made in the mid 1800's when their land was trying to be bought from them by the Europeans. - this speech was actually penned by Ted Perry for a movie called "Home" in the 1970's. This speech gets attributed to the First Nations. - it fits into the ideology that the First Nations want to promote because it is politically empowered - it is the white people telling the First Nations what their tradition was. a certain type of imperialism is happening here. NEW AGE new age groups appropriate the native traditions. CARLOS CASTANEDA - A UCLA DOCTORAL CANDIDATE IN ANTHROPOLOGY SPECIALIZING IN THE TRADITIONAL MEDICAL TECHNIQUES OF THE YAQUI OF NORTHERN MEXICO. - became banner waver in the 60s for mind altering drugs, became something of a cult figure. used native traditions to valourize his views - started talking about cosmic light rays and energy fields and bending that shit and such. some of his disciples have developed SHAMANIC THERAPY - IE USING VISION AND TRANCE TECHNIQUES OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS TO ACHIEVE THE NEW AGE GOALS OF PERSONAL SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT - some First Nations groups like it, some are appalled! after taking everything else, now they take our ideas and bend them to use them for theirselves. - so First Nations spirituality is hotly contested. SOUTH PARK - new kid gary, nice and smart, everyone hates him. - he disarms his enemies with kindness - he goes over family night. - turns out they are mormons
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