Recovering the sacred: the power of naming and claiming
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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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
One of the hardest books I have ever read. LaDuke does not hesitate to rub our noses in the abuses perpetrated by European invaders over the last several centuries. I had hoped for more positive reports on what native communities are accomplishing, but there were only a few paragraphs on that for most chapters. The one thing I'll likely remember is a quote from Debra Harry "every day [millions of dollars of ]grants are being made ...on our behalf, for research that looks at ...the genetic basis for conditions that we suffer from, and it's completely a misappropriation of funding because if you consider our health conditions today, we live in contaminated environments, we are eating unhealthy food, we don't have access to the natural lifestyles and the foods that we've always eaten, that have sustained our lives, and so we have horrible health conditions. ...So what I'm saying is, our health conditions are a result of the environment and the economic, political, legal situations that we're in. They're not caused by our genetic, biological makeup. ...There is a reductionist view of the world through scientific eyes. You would see far more benefit in cleaning up the water, in cleaning up contaminated environments, and making sure people have access to just standard health care, ...organic gardening, all of those things that sustain healthy lives. That's where we're going to see benefits."
Review: Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and ClaimingUser Review - Goodreads
Amazing. This is one of the best histories (to use the term loosely - it's way more than that) I've read in a very long time. Winona LaDuke manages to balance infuriating and terrible things with a ...
God Squirrels and tl?e Universe
and the Unroersity of Arizona
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