AmerIndian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit / Edition 2

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Until now few people have been aware of the prevalence of belief in some form of rebirth or reincarnation among North American native peoples. This collection of essays by anthropologists and one psychiatrist examines this concept among native American societies, from near the time of contact until the present day.

Amerindian Rebirth opens with a foreword by Gananath Obeyesekere that contrasts North American and Hindu/Buddhist/Jain beliefs. The introduction gives an overview, and the first chapter summarizes the context, distribution, and variety of recorded belief. All the papers chronicle some aspect of rebirth belief in a number of different cultures. Essays cover such topics as seventeenth-century Huron eschatology, Winnebago ideology, varying forms of Inuit belief, and concepts of rebirth found among subarctic natives and Northwest Coast peoples.

The closing chapters address the genesis and anthropological study of Amerindian reincarnation. In addition, the possibility of evidence for the actuality of rebirth is addressed. Amerindian Rebirth will further our understanding of concepts of self-identity, kinship, religion, cosmology, resiliency, and change among native North American peoples

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Editorial Reviews

Emerging in part from papers presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Anthropological Society, Montreal, 1990, this collection of essays examines the concept of rebirth or reincarnation among Native American societies, from near the time of contact until the present day. Following a foreword by Gananath Obeyesekere that contrasts North American and Hindu/Buddhist/Jain beliefs, an introductory overview, and a chapter that summarizes the context, distribution, and variety of recorded belief, all of the papers chronicle some aspect of rebirth belief in a number of different cultures. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802077035
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 410
  • Sales rank: 1,158,100
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonia Mills is an associate professor in the First Nations Studies Program at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Richard Slobodin was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, McMaster University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Reincarnation Eschatologies and the Comparative Study of Religions
1 Introduction 3
2 Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit: Context, Distribution, and Variation 15
3 Saving the Souls: Reincarnation Beliefs of the Seventeenth-Century Huron 38
4 The Reincarnations of Thunder Cloud, A Winnebago Indian 55
5 Behind Inupiaq Reincarnation: Cosmological Cycling 67
6 From Foetus to Shaman: The Construction of an Inuit Third Sex 82
7 Born-Again Pagans: The Inuit Cycle of Spirits 107
8 The Name Never Dies: Greenland Inuit Ideas of the Person 123
9 Kutchin Concepts of Reincarnation 136
10 Reincarnation as a Fact of Life among Contemporary Dene Tha 156
11 The Concept of the Person and Reincarnation among the Kwakiutl Indians 177
12 Person, Time and Being: Northwest Coast Rebirth in Comparative Perspective 192
13 Rebirth and Identity: Three Gitksan Cases of Pierced-Ear Birthmarks 211
14 Cultural Patterns in Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation among the Tlingit Indians of Southeastern Alaska 242
15 Alternate-Generation Equivalence and the Recycling of Souls: Amerindian Rebirth in Global Perspective 263
16 The Study of Reincarnation in Indigenous American Cultures: Some Comments 284
Appendix. North American Indian and Inuit Reincarnation Sources 299
References 357
Culture Index 391
General Index 395
Contributors 409
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