New Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, and Representations


In this volume some of the leading scholars working in Native North America explore contemporary perspectives on Native culture, history, and representation. Written in honor of the anthropologist Raymond D. Fogelson, the volume charts the currents of contemporary scholarship while offering an invigorating challenge to researchers in the field.

The essays employ a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches and range widely across time and space. The introduction and ...

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In this volume some of the leading scholars working in Native North America explore contemporary perspectives on Native culture, history, and representation. Written in honor of the anthropologist Raymond D. Fogelson, the volume charts the currents of contemporary scholarship while offering an invigorating challenge to researchers in the field.

The essays employ a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches and range widely across time and space. The introduction and first section consider the origins and legacies of various strands of interpretation, while the second part examines the relationship among culture, power, and creativity. The third part focuses on the cultural construction and experience of history, and the volume closes with essays on identity, difference, and appropriation in several historical and cultural contexts. Aimed at a broad interdisciplinary audience, the volume offers an excellent overview of contemporary perspectives on Native peoples.

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Editorial Reviews

Great Plains Quarterly

New Perspectives on Native North America is a must read for graduate students in anthropology, cultural studies, ethnic studies, and history preparing for comprehensive exams.”—Great Plains Quarterly
Anthropos - Dagmar Siebelt

"The scientific community will welcome this publication for its inspiring inquiries."—Dagmar Siebelt, Anthropos
Great Plains Quarterly

New Perspectives on Native North America is a must read for graduate students in anthropology, cultural studies, ethnic studies, and history preparing for comprehensive exams.”—Great Plains Quarterly


"The scientific community will welcome this publication for its inspiring inquiries."—Dagmar Siebelt, Anthropos

— Dagmar Siebelt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803227736
  • Publisher: UNP - Nebraska
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 516
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sergei A. Kan is a professor of anthropology and Native American studies at Dartmouth College. He is the editor of Strangers to Relatives: The Adoption and Naming of Anthropologists in Native North America (Nebraska 2001), co-editor of Coming to Shore: Northwest Coast Ethnology, Traditions, and Visions (Nebraska 2004), and the author of Memory Eternal: Tlingit Culture and Russian Orthodox Christianity. Pauline Turner Strong is an associate professor of anthropology and gender studies at the University of Texas–Austin. Her publications include Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives and a series of influential articles on the representation of indigenous peoples.

The contributors include: Jeffrey D. Anderson, Mary Druke Becker, Margaret Bender, Robert Brightman, Jennifer S.H. Brown, Thomas Buckley, Raymond A. Bucko, S.J., Regna Darnell, Raymond DeMallie, David W. Dinwoodie, Frederick W. Gleach, Michael E. Harkin, Joseph C. Jastrzembski, Sergei A. Kan, Robert E. Moore, Peter Nabokov, Larry Nesper, Jean M. O’Brien, Pauline Turner Strong, Greg Urban, and Barrik Van Winkle.

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New Perspectives on Native North America

Cultures, Histories, and Representations
By Sergei Kan

University of Nebraska Press

Copyright © 2006 Sergei Kan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780803227736



The essays in this volume were influenced and inspired by Raymond D. Fogelson, who has taught in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago since 1965. The contributors, mainly Fogelson's students, include some of the leading anthropologists and ethnohistorians working on Native North America, and their essays exemplify the broad interests and interdisciplinary approach of their mentor. Grounded in historical, ethnographic, and linguistic research, the essays span four centuries and focus on the Subarctic, Northeast, Northwest Coast, California, Southwest, Great Basin, and Plains as well as the region at the core of Fogelson's research, the Southeast. The contributors explore many of the theoretical issues central to Fogelson's work and, more broadly, scholarship on Native North America at the turn of the twenty-first century: culture, history, and power; personhood and creativity; historical consciousness and ethnographic representation; identity, alterity, and hybridity; and the politics of culture. Many of the essays also exhibit a penchant for reflexivity, collaboration, irony, andwordplay-all of which were characteristic of Fogelson's work long before they became hallmarks of postmodern and postcolonial anthropology.

The contributors represent several generations of Fogelson's students, from notable senior scholars to others in the early stages of their careers. Two contributors, Regna Darnell and Peter Nabokov, are close colleagues of Fogelson rather than former students. Most of the essays gathered here were originally presented in two double sessions honoring Fogelson at the 1996 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. A handful of papers presented at the sessions could not be included in this volume-most tragically, a paper on representing indigenous peoples by the late Sharon K. Stephens. A student of Fogelson's as both an undergraduate and graduate student, Stephens's research on the Sami of Finland and Norway (e.g., Stephens 1995) advanced the tradition of scholarship on the circumpolar North pioneered by Fogelson's mentor, A. Irving Hallowell (1926). Stephens's work also exemplifies the research that Fogelson and some of his students and colleagues have carried out on indigenous land claims and cultural rights.

The volume is divided into four sections: Perspectives, Cultures, Histories, and Representations. Fogelson considered each of these themes extensively in his publications-although, as the essays attest, many of the contributors were influenced even more by Fogelson's informal teaching and mentoring. The remainder of this introduction presents the essays in each section in the context of Fogelson's research, teaching, and intellectual roots. It concludes with a sketch of Fogelson's life and scholarship, followed by a selected bibliography of his publications.

Perspectives: On the Genealogy and Legacy of an Anthropological Tradition

From A. Irving Hallowell and Anthony F. C. Wallace, his mentors at the University of Pennsylvania, Ray Fogelson inherited an abiding interest in intellectual history-particularly the history of anthropology but also the history of religion, psychology, and sociology (see Fogelson 1976, 1982b, 1985b, 1987b, 1991a, 1999a). This interest, enhanced by his close association with the historian George W. Stocking Jr. at the University of Chicago, was passed on to many of Fogelson's students. For decades now Fogelson and Stocking have collaborated, commented on each other's works, and supported each other in training graduate students (including many of the contributors to this volume).

The essays in part 1 place the works of Fogelson and the contributors in the context of the history of anthropology. The first chapter, "Keeping the Faith: A Legacy of Native American Ethnography, Ethnohistory, and Psychology," is by Regna Darnell, who did her graduate work at Penn a few years after Fogelson. Using a characteristically Fogelsonian phrase-gardez le foi-as a metaphor for allegiance to what she calls the Americanist tradition, Darnell explores the intellectual genealogy of Fogelson's work, focusing on the distinctive manifestation of that tradition at Penn (see also Darnell 2001; Valentine and Darnell 1999). By emphasizing the importance of "the native point of view" in the Americanist tradition she traces from Boas through Frank Speck, Edward Sapir, Hallowell, and Wallace, Darnell sheds light on the ubiquity of the prefix ethno- in Fogelson's work-the significance of which is noted in many of the subsequent chapters.

Jennifer S. H. Brown's "Fields of Dreams: Revisiting A. I. Hallowell and the Berens River Ojibwe" explores Hallowell's rich legacy in several contexts, including the work of Brown's own mentors, Fogelson and Stocking; the subfield of psychological anthropology; and Brown's conversations with the descendants of Chief William Berens, Hallowell's foremost Ojibwe consultant. Brown's approach to the significance of dreams among the Ojibwe-which draws on extensive research in Hallowell's unpublished papers as well as fieldwork on the Berens River-exemplifies the melding of historical and ethnographic methodologies that Fogelson has advocated and practiced. Though she is critical of Hallowell's foray into Freudian interpretation, Brown praises his fieldwork and his (more typical) interpretations of dreams in terms of Ojibwe ontology and what Fogelson (1976) calls ethnopersonality theory (see also Straus 1977, 1982). Invoking Fogelson's (1989b) call for attention to "native theories of history," Brown interprets Ojibwe dreams as "ways of framing, telling, and remembering history."

As Darnell's chapter indicates, the Speck-Hallowell-Wallace-Fogelson line of inquiry has centered on the Algonquian and Iroquoian cultures of the Subarctic and eastern Woodlands. Nearly a dozen of Fogelson's students have worked in these areas. Margaret Bender, however, has most directly followed in her mentor's footsteps, conducting fieldwork among the Eastern Cherokees of North Carolina three decades after Fogelson's first visit there as a young graduate student. Bender's essay, "Framing the Anomalous: Stoneclad, Sequoyah, and Cherokee Ethnoliteracy," considers the mysterious life of Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, in the context of Fogelson's writings and teachings about fieldwork, interpretation, and Cherokee culture and history. In comparing Sequoyah to the Cherokee culture hero Stoneclad (Fogelson 1980c), utilizing Fogelson's (1989b) concept of "epitomizing events" to interpret Cherokee views of Sequoyah, and employing the term ethnoliteracy to refer to the meanings of literacy within Cherokee culture, Bender builds upon and extends Fogelson's lifelong inquiry into Cherokee beliefs, practices, and historical processes.

Significantly, both Bender and Brown invoke the cultural and semiotic theories of a fellow contributor, Greg Urban, while Brown cites collaborative work she has conducted with still another contributor, Robert Brightman. Darnell notes earlier collaborations between Fogelson and one of his fellow students at the University of Pennsylvania, Paul Kutsche, as well as between Fogelson and one of his students at the University of Chicago, Amelia Bell (Fogelson and Bell 1983; Fogelson and Walker 1980). The bibliography to this chapter also includes collaborations between Fogelson and his mentor, A. F. C. Wallace; his colleagues Richard N. Adams, Melford E. Spiro, and George Stocking; and several other students, including the editors (Fogelson 1981, 2001a; Fogelson and Brightman 2002). Such collaborations and cross-fertilizations have continued among Fogelson's students (and now include students of students), indicating the extent to which he is a central node in a vibrant social network and scholarly tradition.

Cultures: On Persons and Power, Rituals and Creativity

Although currently a contested term, culture remains important both to Native American peoples and to those who write about them. The opening essays of parts 2, 3, and 4 offer theories of culture that respond to postmodern and postcolonial critiques while remaining true to what Bender calls Fogelson's "deep cultural relativism." Thomas Buckley (part 3) presents culture as a construction, inscription, possession, dispossession, and repossession, while Robert Brightman discusses Western concepts of culture as only one kind of "ethno-anthropology" (part 4). Greg Urban's essay, "Power as the Transmission of Culture," enters an arena, the anthropology of power, that has been central to Fogelson's research since he co-edited an important volume on that theme (Fogelson and Adams 1977; Fogelson 1977). Urban, however, turns from Fogelson's interest in the cultural construction of power to the complementary "relationship of power to the movement of culture." Analyzing a set of examples ranging from ethnographic documentations of Cherokee and Yanamamo culture to the feature film Babe and, finally, to one of his own interactions with Ray Fogelson, Urban considers how culture is both replicated and transformed through power relations.

The relationship between culture and power is considered in a more traditionally political sense in Larry Nesper's "Ironies of Articulating Continuity at Lac du Flambeau." Based on extensive ethnographic and ethnohistorical research among the Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Nesper's essay considers a recent conflict over the exercise of off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights. He places this conflict in the context of the growing articulation between local and global economies at Lac du Flambeau over the past century. Viewing cultural difference as dynamically related to political and economic relations, Nesper demonstrates how geographical knowledge, hunting and fishing skills, and indigenous crafts were revalued as Lac de Flambeau became a tourist destination. In demonstrating the process through which the spearfishing of walleyed pike became central to Chippewa (or Anishinabeg) identity, Nesper shows that, ironically, as the Anishinabeg of Lac de Flambeau "grew more connected, they grew more distinct from the dominant society."

Power and powerlessness are central themes in the work of one of Fogelson's favorite authors, the ethnologist James Mooney. Arapaho texts recorded by Mooney are the subject of Jeffrey D. Anderson's "The Poetics of Tropes and Dreams in Arapaho Ghost Dance Songs." Anderson analyzes key tropes such as pity, exchange, and metamorphosis in order to demonstrate how Ghost Dance songs exemplify "creative ritual responses to external sources of power"-be they spiritual beings or colonial powers. Cultural creativity is a longstanding concern of psychological anthropology, but it is also central to linguistic anthropology, and Anderson's chapter is one of several showing the influence on Fogelson's students of Chicago linguistic anthropologists Paul Friedrich and Michael Silverstein.

Creativity often takes the form of humor, as Raymond A. Bucko, S.J., points out in an essay that evokes Fogelson's ready sense of humor in its title as well as in its content and style. "Night Thoughts and Night Sweats, Ethnohistory and Ethnohumor: The Quaker Shaker Meets the Lakota Sweat Lodge" utilizes one of Fogelson's favorite images-the reduplication and infinite regress evident on a cylindrical container of Diamond Crystal Shaker Salt. Comparing dry ethnographic descriptions to his own experiences of the Lakota sweat lodge, in which humor is central, Bucko suggests that joking and wordplay are such an implicit and contextual aspect of the sweat lodge that they are rarely included in Lakota descriptions of the ritual. He also speculates that sweat lodge participants or observers may censor themselves in order not to give offense and, furthermore, that observers may simply be oblivious to the humor around them. It is clear from Bucko's analysis that although there are occasions when a more somber attitude is appropriate, humor is integral to the sweat lodge ceremony because it invokes conscious reflection, helps to produce harmony and equality, corrects unacceptable behavior, and serves to present the participants as weak and pitiful in order to invoke spiritual aid.

Like Anderson and Bucko, Robert E. Moore is among the many scholars inspired by Fogelson to focus on the meanings of religious symbols and rituals. In his essay, "Self-consciousness, Ceremonialism, and the Problem of the Present in the Anthropology of Native North America," Moore discusses two rites of passage that each exhibit innovations from the perspective of the culture in which they originated. The first is a birthday party at which the honored guest is absent-a fairly common occurrence for rites of passage at the Wasco-Wishram community of Warm Springs, however uncommon it may be in the dominant society. The second rite of passage Moore considers is a naming ceremony in which a young woman chooses her own name-not the custom at Warm Springs and, in fact, a violation of a proscription against explicitly acknowledging a relationship with a guardian spirit. These innovations lead Moore to a renewed appreciation of an anthropology that, as Sapir puts it, "boldly essays to bring every cultural pattern back to the living context from which it has been abstracted in the first place, and, in parallel fashion, to bring every fact of personality formation back to its social matrix" (1934:410). Many of the contributors to this volume consider themselves part of this project, one that resonates strongly with the psychological anthropology of Hallowell, Wallace, and Fogelson (see Fogelson 1982b).

Histories: On Varieties of Temporal Experience and Historical Representation

Nowhere is Ray Fogelson's influence clearer than in the field of ethnohistory or historical anthropology (see Krech 1991). Critical of the ethnocentrism of much scholarship labeled "Indian history" or "ethnohistory," Fogelson has called for an "ethno-ethnohistory" that embodies native historical consciousness and theories of history, and even an "ethno-ethnoethnohistory" written by indigenous scholars (Fogelson 1974a, 1989b; Turner 1988). As Thomas Buckley points out in the opening essay in part 3, Fogelson's reduplications of the prefix ethno- might best be understood as parody-aimed, it would seem, at getting the original ethno- in ethnohistory taken seriously. Viewed as a whole, Fogelson's work makes it clear that all histories are ethnohistories-that is, representative of a particular cultural perspective-just as all logics are ethnologics; all psychologies, ethnopsychologies; and all anthropologies, ethno-anthropologies.


Excerpted from New Perspectives on Native North America by Sergei Kan Copyright © 2006 by Sergei Kan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

1 Keeping the faith : a legacy of Native American ethnography, ethnohistory, and psychology 3
2 Fields of dreams : revisiting A. I. Hallowell and the Berens River Ojibwe 17
3 Framing the anomalous : Stoneclad, Sequoyah, and Cherokee ethnoliteracy 42
4 Power as the transmission of culture 65
5 Ironies of articulating continuity at Lac du Flambeau 98
6 The poetics of tropes and dreams in Arapaho ghost dance songs 122
7 Night thoughts and night sweats, ethnohistory and ethnohumor : the Quaker shaker meets the Lakota Sweat Lodge 162
8 Self-consciousness, ceremonialism, and the problem of the present in the anthropology of Native North America 185
9 Native authorship in Northwestern California 211
10 The Sioux at the time of European contact : an ethnohistorical problem 239
11 Proto-ethnologists in North America 261
12 Folklore, personal narratives, and ethno-ethnohistory 285
13 Events and nonevents on the Tlingit/Russian/American colonial frontier, 1802-1879 310
14 Time and the individual in Native North America 327
15 Culture and culture theory in Native North America 351
16 Cannibals in the mountains : Washoe teratology and the Donner party 395
17 "Vanishing" Indians in nineteenth-century New England : local historians' erasure of still-present Indian peoples 414
18 Pocahontas : an exercise in mythmaking and marketing 433
19 "I'm an old cowhand on the banks of the Seine" : representations of Indians and Le Far West in Parisian commercial culture 456
20 "To light the fire of our desire" : primitivism in the Camp Fire Girls 474
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