The Four Hills of Life: Northern Arapaho Knowledge and Life Movement / Edition 1

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Overview


For many generations the Northern Arapaho people thrived over a vast area of the North American Plains and Rocky Mountains. For more than a century they have lived on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The reservation, the fourth largest in the country, is surrounded by vast rural lands and has been largely ignored by outsiders. As a result, the Northern Arapahos have been in some ways more isolated from mainstream American society than most Native groups.
 
In The Four Hills of Life Jeffrey D. Anderson masterfully draws together many different aspects of the Northern Arapahos' world—myth, language, art, ritual, identity, and history—to offer a compelling picture of a culture that has endured and changed over time. Arapaho culture is seen dynamically through the ways that members of the community in the past and present experience their unique world in everyday life.
 
Anderson shows that Northern Arapaho unity and identity from the nineteenth century through today are derived less from political centralization than from a shared system of ritual practices. The heart of this system is a complex of rituals called the beyoowu'u ("all the lodges"), which includes the Offerings Lodge, now more commonly known as the Sun Dance—a ritual still central to Northern Arapaho life. According to Anderson, the beyoowu'u and other life transition ceremonies work together to mold time and experience for the Arapahos, a life movement that also helps create social identities and transmit vital cultural knowledge. Anderson also offers an in-depth study of the problems that Euro-American society continues to impose on reservation life and the empowered responses of the Northern Arapahos to these problems.
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Editorial Reviews

Western Historical Quarterly

“This is an extraordinarily rich book, one that should be read widely and returned to often by historians, anthropologists, and sociologists who desire to understand the complexity, coherence, and contradictions in the relationship between socio-historical forces and the symbolic representations that attempt to shape the impact and significance of those forces at the local level.”—Western Historical Quarterly

Montana: The Magazine of Western History

The Four Hills of Life is a formidable volume worthy of the attention of all students of American Indian history. On the small shelf of academic studies written on this tribe, it merits a place alongside the works of Alfred Kroeber and Loretta Fowler.”—Cary C. Collins, Montana: The Magazine of Western History

— Cary C. Collins

Denver Westerners Roundup - Wick Downing

"A remarkable work."—Wick Downing, Denver Westerners Roundup
Denver Westerners Roundup

"A remarkable work."—Wick Downing, Denver Westerners Roundup

— Wick Downing

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Jeffrey D. Anderson is an associate professor of anthropology at Colby College and the author of One Hundred Years of Old Man Sage: An Arapaho Life Story (Nebraska 2003).
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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Contemporary Arapaho Orthography
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Northern Arapahos 1
2 The Approach 26
3 Arapaho Persons and Relations 39
4 The Space and Time of Life Movement 91
5 Childhood 119
6 The Men's Age-Grade System 137
7 Old Age and the End of Life 162
8 Women and Life Movement 173
9 A Total View of Life Movement 185
10 Changes in Age Structure and Life Movement 199
11 Arapaho Knowledge 240
12 Euro-American Knowledge 274
13 Conclusion 322
Bibliography 333
Index 345
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