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Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Ojibwe Religion
     

Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Ojibwe Religion

by Michael D. McNally
 

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ISBN-10: 0231145020

ISBN-13: 9780231145022

Pub. Date: 08/06/2009

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Like Many Native Americans, Ojibwe people esteem the wisdom, authority, and religious significance of old age, but this respect does not come easily or naturally. It is the fruit of hard work, rooted in narrative traditions, moral vision, and ritualized practices of decorum that are comparable in sophistication to those of Confucianism. Even as the dispossession

Overview

Like Many Native Americans, Ojibwe people esteem the wisdom, authority, and religious significance of old age, but this respect does not come easily or naturally. It is the fruit of hard work, rooted in narrative traditions, moral vision, and ritualized practices of decorum that are comparable in sophistication to those of Confucianism. Even as the dispossession and policies of assimilation have threatened Ojibwe peoplehood and have targeted the traditions and the elders who embody them, Ojibwe and other Anishinaabe communities have been resolute and resourceful in their disciplined respect for elders. Indeed, the challenges of colonization have served to accentuate eldership in new ways.

Using archival and ethnographic research, Michael D. McNally shows that Ojibwe deference to older women and men is part of a fuller moral, aesthetic, and cosmological vision connected to the ongoing circle of life-a tradition of authority that has been crucial to surviving colonization. McNally argues that the tradition of authority and the authority of tradition frame a decidedly indigenous dialectic, eluding analytic frameworks of invented tradition and naive continuity. Demonstrating the rich possibilities of treating age as a category of analysis, McNally asserts that the elder belongs alongside the priest, prophet, sage, and other key figures in the study of religion.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231145022
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
08/06/2009
Series:
Religion and American Culture Series
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1

1 Aging and the Life Cycle Imagined in Ojibwe Tradition and Lived in History 42

2 Eldership, Respect, and the Sacred Community 82

3 Elders as Grandparents and Teachers 124

4 Elders Articulating Tradition 159

5 The Sacralization of Eldership 230

6 The Shape of Wisdom 280

Notes 315

Bibliography 355

Index 365

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