Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming

Overview

When she invites us to “recover the sacred,” well-known Native American organizer Winona LaDuke is requesting far more than the rescue of ancient bones and beaded headbands from museums. For LaDuke, only the power to define what is sacred—and access it—will enable Native American communities to remember who they are and fashion their future.

Using a wealth of Native American research and hundreds of interviews with indigenous scholars and activists, LaDuke examines the ...

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Overview

When she invites us to “recover the sacred,” well-known Native American organizer Winona LaDuke is requesting far more than the rescue of ancient bones and beaded headbands from museums. For LaDuke, only the power to define what is sacred—and access it—will enable Native American communities to remember who they are and fashion their future.

Using a wealth of Native American research and hundreds of interviews with indigenous scholars and activists, LaDuke examines the connections between sacred objects and the sacred bodies of her people—past, present and future—focusing more closely on the conditions under which traditional beliefs can best be practiced. Describing the plentiful gaps between mainstream and indigenous thinking, she probes the paradoxes that abound for the native people of the Americas. How, for instance, can the indigenous imperative to honor the Great Salt Mother be carried out when mining threatens not only access to Nevada’s Great Salt Lake but the health of the lake water itself? While Congress has belatedly moved to protect most Native American religious expression, it has failed to protect the places and natural resources integral to the ceremonies.

Federal laws have achieved neither repatriation of Native remains nor protection of sacred sites, and may have even less power to confront the more insidious aspects of cultural theft, such as the parading of costumed mascots. But what of political marginalization? How can the government fund gene mapping while governmental neglect causes extreme poverty, thus blocking access to basic healthcare for most tribal members? Calling as ever on her lyrical sensibility and caustic wit, moving from the popular to the politic, from the sacred to the profane, LaDuke uses these essays not just to indict the current situation, but to point out a way forward for Native Americans and their allies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896087125
  • Publisher: South End Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 345,485
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


LaDuke is a well-know Native American organizer, environmentalist, and author. She teaches Native Environmentalism at the University of Minnesota.
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Table of Contents

What is sacred? 11
Pt. 1 Sacred lands and sacred places
God, squirrels, and the universe : the Mt. Graham International Observatory and the University of Arizona 19
Salt, water, blood, and coal : mining in the Southwest 33
Klamath land and life 47
Pt. 2 Ancestors, images, and our lives
Imperial anthropology : the ethics of collecting 67
Quilled cradleboard covers, cultural patrimony, and Wounded Knee 87
Vampires in the New World : blood, academia, and human genetics 113
Masks in the new millennium 131
Pt. 3 Seeds and medicine
Three sisters : recovery of traditional agriculture at Cayuga, Mohawk, and Oneida communities 153
Wild rice : maps, genes and patents 167
Food as medicine : the recovery of traditional foods to heal the people 191
Pt. 4 Relatives
Return of the horse nation 213
Namewag : sturgeon and people in the Great Lakes region 227
Recovering power to slow climate change 237
About Winona LaDuke
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