Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality (Women in Culture and Society)

Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality
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Here, as with the female gender, the essence of the male person was regarded as in process and as eventually completed in a spiritual encounter with sacred power. This reveals that the virtue associated with the strong male image were not merely natural but part of a complex relationship with the creative power that fills all life. The myths tell of the first peoples looking for a homeland and sources of life. They are portrayed as knowing their weakness and welcoming the interventions by gods or spirits who come to assist them.

A paradigmatic story comes from the Navajo, who fall into error regarding the essential balance of men and women, male and female, in life on Mother Earth. They are gently led to reunite by the intervention of a spirit who manifests the vitality and rightness of that balance in himself. In the Lakota story of extended beginnings, the prototypical warrior, Stone Boy, works arduously to make the earth safe for the people, and in the story of the founding of the League of the Hodenosaunee, the prophet Deganawidah finds it necessary to temper the uncontrolled warlike nature of Atatarho, whom he defeats by skillful diplomacy.

A powerful transformation takes place when the ferocious warrior chief surrenders his passions and agrees to be the servant of all — the chief of chiefs who holds the council fires together.

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The Iroquois honor this memory of the shift from uncontrolled aggression to diplomatic means to achieve harmony both within and around them. Because the male was required to support not only his family but all those in need, much depended on developing a pattern of learning that relied on fostering certain verities.

Courage was paramount, but skill in tracking, patience in waiting, and the will to endure privations — often for long periods of time — were also crucial. These skills, although important, are minor compared to the habits of mind and soul. Thus many people valued generosity and altercenteredness and viewed the whole as contributing to the attainment of honor.

Much was expected of the man, and the burden this could impose was often felt as heavy.

Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality

Anthony F. Wallace's study of the Seneca, based on a lifetime of work by others, such as William Fenton, illustrates how such pressure was in need of a means to release it without shaming the warrior. He notes the wisdom of a community that paid great attention to dreams, seen as early as the s, as "wishes of the soul" and the acumen of soul that instituted a way private dreams could be enacted at the Midwinter New Year 's Festival and answered in appropriate ways by the community.

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It is important to note here that the Iroquois, remembered by history as fearsome warriors, were actually part of a matriarchal society and that one of the most highly regarded warrior societies on the Plains was that of the Cheyenne, who were renowned for their courage and discipline and spirit of sacrifice.

Their allies and friends the Lakota remarked that the Cheyenne women deserved as much honor as their men, being famed for their character and the extraordinary companionship, which they provided in peace and war. The activities that occupied warriors concerned the support and defense of the people — both very serious responsibilities. They were also encouraged to hone their skills in sports and gaming and did so with relish, but the reality of their role was never far from their minds. Even though the level of aggression was magnified greatly by the dislocations and impact of colonization, raiding had a large part in life on the Plains and the severely impacted Northeast.

One example shows what was really at stake in such skirmishes. Many peoples vied for honor by successfully getting away with horses or other goods by skillful stealth. The highest honor in fact was credited to the person who had the bravery to get close enough to a living enemy to touch him or her and escape with his or her own life intact. More seriously, in the epic years of the final battles for freedom of the northern Plains Indians, the Lakota and Cheyenne each had a band of volunteers who joined sacred societies such as the Kit Fox Society or the Dog Soldiers.

Each man had vowed to defend his people to the point of death. The Dog Soldiers wore a sash that, dismounting, they tied to the ground in the forefront of the battle. They understood the price and were willing to pay it. The descendants of the warrior societies of North American Indians have volunteered to fight in the major battles of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. They have continued to distinguish the vital heritage from which they come.

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In fact, she claims, Oglala women have been better able to adapt to the dominant white culture and provide much of the stability and continuity of modern tribal life. Powers's fine study introduced me to Oglala women 'portrayed from the perspectives of Indians,' to women who did not pity themselves and want no pity from others. In some places e. Women were also expected to have talents in craft making beading, pottery , and often there is a mythic person who is considered to impart this gift e. A Good Day to Die! That gender was distinguished from sex is clarified in a seminal paper never published but widely circulated by the highly regarded Lakota anthropologist Beatrice Medicine in , revised as part of Patricia Alber and Beatrice Medicine's, The Hidden Half: Studies of Plains Indian Women This study examines the emergence of the western Ojibwa within this context, seeing both the cultural changes that they chose to make and the continuity within their culture as responses to historical pressures.

Because sacred power is inextricably related to gendered living, it is not surprising that the freedom and creativity of that sacred power is ultimately the key to gender in Native America. Although the roles of women and men are clearly defined, they also are not strictly limited to sexual identity. It is not uncommon to find men, as among the Hopi, who do the weaving or to find women who are capable of excelling in manly arts.

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Apparently it is hard to limit the creative power of the sacred. Thus no one was surprised when a sister of a Cheyenne warrior, seeing him struck from his horse in battle, raced to take his place. Though Buffalo Calf Road Woman is vividly remembered, it was viewed as natural for her to assume that role. More tellingly the recognition of other genders can be traced to a similar foundation. This aspect of gender has been captured in some early accounts, mostly in an objective way. Women such as Ruth Benedict — , Alice Kehoe, Ruth Landes — , Margaret Mead — , and Ruth Underhill — actually strove to present sensitive descriptions based on intensive conversations in the field.

But the real breakthrough occurred only in the last quarter of the twentieth century with the work of Walter Williams, Sabine Lang, and Paula Gunn Allen among others. What their contributions reveal is that a large range of gender issues have escaped the net of scholarship. The reasons are understandably many. So much of native culture has been interpreted by outsiders looking in that the deepest parts of sacred traditions have been carefully guarded. Part of that reality is the long-standing recognition of the existence of more than two genders, framed by the steady opposition of Christian Euro-Americans.

Sadly some of these prejudices have crossed over during the difficult period of forced education that had assimilation as its goal. Traditional language, customs, and values were targeted for extinction.

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An inevitable part of this was the imposition of mores that are culturally alien to the native peoples. Thus the subject of diverse models of gender is often met with embarrassment, and some persons whose identity is neither male nor female have met with intolerance on their own reservations. There is, however, a powerful lesson to learn from the traditional understanding admittedly complex of gender diversity.

The kinship circle, which embraces all of life for a native person, includes a variety of gendered persons whose place in the community is determined by careful identification of recognized gender characteristics. Growing contemporary research reveals a traditional past in which wide gender variety was regarded as part of the natural order. In some societies such persons were believed to possess special powers that could help the community flourish. The term two-spirit , in favor at the beginning of the twenty-first century, has been chosen to indicate the connection of such persons to the spiritual world, in particular their special place in ritual.

Early anthropological research brought the biases and categories of the Western worldview to the study of gender variances. Faced with a complex image of wide diversity in this area, the reports of these scholars could neither embrace nor appreciate the rich universe of meaning they had encountered. One example is the common use of the French term berdache , which is not only taken from a foreign context but is also burdened with a specific meaning e. Although this term was intended as a positive description of North American Indian customs, it could not begin to translate the rich diversity in balance with a view that all things are in dynamic process toward the cosmic purpose of everything that exists — hozho.

The rich diversity in gender is not exceptional but rather a vital dimension of a multifaceted reality. He notes that a crucial difference separates Western and traditional Navajo concepts relating to gender, sexuality, and sexual relationships. That gender was distinguished from sex is clarified in a seminal paper never published but widely circulated by the highly regarded Lakota anthropologist Beatrice Medicine in , revised as part of Patricia Alber and Beatrice Medicine's, The Hidden Half: Studies of Plains Indian Women Beatrice Medicine notes that the traditional vocation of the winkte included roles as ritualist, artist, specialist in production of women's crafts, herbalist, seer, namer of children, and perhaps most interesting rejection of the warrior's role.

Among the highly disciplined Plains Indians, the warrior's place was greatly esteemed. To reject it required conviction and courage. Thus the winkte occupied a unique place in traditional Lakota society, as did the equivalent in many other cultures. It was Beatrice Medicine's intent to examine the changes wrought by urbanization imposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For the young men and women transplanted to urban and intertribal settings, adaptation was a difficult process.

One of the dimensions of native life that did not transfer well was the area of gender diversity. In a larger society unable to deal with ambiguities, labels were hastily applied. The distinction between gender and sex is perhaps too foreign for general acceptance, and certainly the circumstances of invasive cultural drifts onto the reservations complicated this area of culture. Thus the traditional context has been harder to retain, both on and off traditional lands. Medicine sadly notes that native winkte have experienced discrimination not only in the mainstream society but also at home.

Thus a dimension of native spiritual understanding that has so much to offer the Western world has suffered a unique form of repression. The emerging voices and research in the twenty-first century of mainstream gay activists and their eagerness to lift from oppression victimized others holds a promise of a battle that could result in a better resolution.

Clearly, there is an innate link between gender and North American Indian religious traditions. Due to its limited scope, it can only be a summary of an exceedingly rich field. Through the early efforts of anthropologists and ethnologists to describe and understand them, through the great generosity of the people who were convinced of the need to speak, and now through the growing numbers of Native Americans who are speakers for themselves, a rich tapestry of variegated beauty is emerging.

Their world is so much older than that of Euro-Americans, and their insights into the nature of reality enrich the story of the world's religions. They speak of wholeness, of complementarity, mutuality, and of harmony. Their image of difference is one that strives for unity yet preserves distinctness as the proper order of creation. Albers, Patricia, and Beatrice Medicine Lakota.

Lanham, Md. An early sociological study of the life and culture of Native American women. Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop. Recovering the Feminine in Native American Traditions. Boston, An engaging exposition of the depths of the feminine dimension in Native, American traditions, especially in the Southwest, by a Laguna Pueblo scholar.

Bataille, Gretchen M.

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Lincoln, Neb. Beck, Peggy, and Anna Lee Walters. Tsaile, Ariz. Deloria, Vine, Jr. New York , Revised edition, Golden, Colo.

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DeMallie, Raymond, and Douglas Parks, eds. Sioux Indian Religion: Tradition and Innovation. Norman, Okla. Irwin, Lee, ed. American Indian Quarterly 20, nos. Hall, Robert L. Urbana, Ill. Hazen-Hammond, Susan. An intriguing report of a conference designed to bring Native Americans into dialogue with scholars of the dominant society on gender issues in contemporary America.

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Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality (Women in Culture and Society) Paperback – November 15, Based on interviews and life histories collected over more than twenty-five years of study on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, Marla N. Powers conveys what it means to. Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. Intensive life history interviews with Oglala Lakota Oglala Women: Myth, Ritual, and Reality (Women in Culture and Society) - Kindle edition by Marla N. Powers. Download it once and read it on your.

Lang, Sabine. Austin, Tex. Schwarz, Maureen Trudelle. Tucson, Ariz. Pierre, Mark, and Tilda Long Soldier. New York, Williams, Walter L. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. September 28, Retrieved September 28, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Underhills fine ethnographic work gives us at least a glimpse into a time that will not come again, yet a time that will forever shape the future. Her approach is reverential, without being too sentimental.

The study of culture is enriched by Underhills writings, and the life history presented in Papago Woman stands clear as an excellent example of her devotion to her subject. Gender and Modernity in Andean Bolivia. Marcia Stephenson. In Andean Bolivia, racial and cultural differences are most visibly marked on women, who often still wear native dress and speak an indigenous language rather than Spanish.

In this study of modernity in Bolivia, Marcia Stephenson explores how the state's desire for a racially and culturally homogenous society has been deployed through images of womanhood that promote the notion of an idealized, acculturated female body. Noel Dyck. The essays in Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native Peoples in Canada provide a comprehensive evaluation of past, present, and future forms of anthropological involvement in public policy issues that affect Native peoples in Canada.

The contributing authors, who include social scientists and politicians from both Native and non-Native backgrounds, use their experience to assess the theory and practice of anthropological participation in and observation of relations between aboriginal peoples and governments in Canada. They trace the strengths and weaknesses of traditional forms of anthropological fieldwork and writing, as well as offering innovative solutions to some of the challenges confronting anthropologists working in this domain.

Gender and the Boundaries of Dress in Contemporary Peru. Set in Arequipa during Peru's recent years of crisis, this ethnography reveals how dress creates gendered bodies. It explores why people wear clothes, why people make art, and why those things matter in a war-torn land. Memory and Methodology. Susannah Radstone. The increasing centrality of memory to work being done across a wide range of disciplines has brought along with it vexed questions and far-reaching changes in the way knowledge is pursued.

This timely collection provides a forum for demonstrating how various disciplines are addressing these concerns. Is an historian's approach to memory similar to that of theorists in media or cultural studies, or are their understandings in fact contradictory? Which methods of analysis are most appropriate in which contexts? What are the relations between individual and social memory? Why should we study memory and how can it enrich other research? What does its study bring to our understanding of subjectivity, identity and power?

In addressing these knotty questions, Memory and Methodology showcases a rich and diverse range of research on memory. Leading scholars in anthropology, history, film and cultural studies address topics including places of memory; trauma, film and popular memory; memory texts; collaborative memory work and technologies of memory. This timely and interdisciplinary study represents a major contribution to our understanding of how memory is shaping contemporary academic research and of how people shape and are shaped by memory. Similar ebooks. Chip Colwell. Who owns the past and the objects that physically connect us to history?

And who has the right to decide this ownership, particularly when the objects are sacred or, in the case of skeletal remains, human? Is it the museums that care for the objects or the communities whose ancestors made them? These questions are at the heart of Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits, an unflinching insider account by a leading curator who has spent years learning how to balance these controversial considerations. Five decades ago, Native American leaders launched a crusade to force museums to return their sacred objects and allow them to rebury their kin.

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Today, hundreds of tribes use the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to help them recover their looted heritage from museums across the country. This book offers his personal account of the process of repatriation, following the trail of four objects as they were created, collected, and ultimately returned to their sources: a sculpture that is a living god, the scalp of a massacre victim, a ceremonial blanket, and a skeleton from a tribe considered by some to be extinct.

These specific stories reveal a dramatic process that involves not merely obeying the law, but negotiating the blurry lines between identity and morality, spirituality and politics. Things, like people, have biographies.

cadivus.co.uk/state-immunity-in-international-law-cambridge-studies-in.php Repatriation, Colwell argues, is a difficult but vitally important way for museums and tribes to acknowledge that fact—and heal the wounds of the past while creating a respectful approach to caring for these rich artifacts of history. Penelope D. In this study of the manner in which medieval nuns lived, Penelope Johnson challenges facile stereotypes of nuns living passively under monastic rule, finding instead that collectively they were empowered by their communal privileges and status to think and act without many of the subordinate attitudes of secular women.

In the words of one abbess comparing nuns with monks, they were "different as to their sex but equal in their monastic profession. A fascinating look at the world of medieval spirituality, this work enriches our understanding of women's role in premodern Europe and in church history. Marie Jenkins Schwartz. Behind every great man stands a great woman. And behind that great woman stands a slave. And as Marie Jenkins Schwartz uncovers in Ties That Bound, these women, as the day-to-day managers of their households, dealt with the realities of a slaveholding culture directly and continually, even in the most intimate of spaces.

For elite women and their families, slaves were more than an agricultural workforce; slavery was an entire domestic way of life that reflected and reinforced their status. In many cases slaves were more constant companions to the white women of the household than were their husbands and sons, who often traveled or were at war. By looking closely at the complicated intimacy these women shared, Schwartz is able to reveal how they negotiated their roles, illuminating much about the lives of slaves themselves, as well as class, race, and gender in early America.