Powers Which We Do Not Know: The Gods and Spirits of the Inuit

Powers Which We Do Not Know: The Gods and Spirits of the Inuit

by Daniel Merkur
     
 

Pressure for economic development in the Far North and the progressive acculturation of its native peoples in the wake of that development raise serious challenges to the survival and integrity of the Inuit cultural heritage. Further, despite an ever-increasing abundance of specialized ethnographic studies of individual groups, not for over half a century has a… See more details below

Overview

Pressure for economic development in the Far North and the progressive acculturation of its native peoples in the wake of that development raise serious challenges to the survival and integrity of the Inuit cultural heritage. Further, despite an ever-increasing abundance of specialized ethnographic studies of individual groups, not for over half a century has a comprehensive, comparative survey been undertaken of the traditional religions of the Inuit from Alaska to Greenland. Long known as the Eskimo, from an Algonkian Indian pejorative that entered the European languages during the great age of exploration, the Inuit provide today an ongoing focal point of methodological controversy for scholars in anthropology and the history of religions. Most seriously at issue are the significance of mythology in textualizing beliefs, the role of shamans in transmitting religious culture, and the reliability of common rather than specialized experiences as the basis for a broader assessment of pervasive religious motifs. The present volume, companion and sequel to the author's Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation Among the Inuit (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1985), delves deeply into common Inuit experiential religious concepts and uncovers within them the outlines of a powerful pantheon. Beginning with searching investigations of souls, spirits, and indwellers in nature and in the wind, it explores with great sensitivity the meaning of the numinous figures that people the everyday world of the Inuit. From the metaphysical abstraction of the indwellers to the human and animal personifications of the Sea Mother, the Moon Man, Eagle, Tornarssuk the polar bear spirit, and the Moon Dog, it reveals to their full extent a range of beliefs as impressive in originality as they are effective in the lives of those who hold them. A scholarly tour de force, Powers Which We Do Not Know will be a welcome new resource for study of the native peoples of the Americas and an in

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Handbook guide to memory and storage management for PC-XT/AT (or compatibles) offering advanced techniques and capabilities. Includes extended memory and RAM disk management. No bibliography. This companion and sequel to the author's Becoming half hidden: shamanism and initiation among the Inuit (1985) delves into common Inuit experiential religious concepts and uncovers within them the outlines of a powerful pantheon. Beginning with investigations of souls, spirits, and indwellers in nature and in the wind, it explores the meaning of the numinous figures that people the everyday world of the Inuit. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780893011482
Publisher:
University of Idaho Press
Publication date:
01/01/1993
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.05(w) x 9.07(h) x 0.69(d)

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