Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit

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University of Toronto Press, 1994 - History - 411 pages
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Until now few people have been aware of the prevalence of belief in some form of rebirth or reincarnation among North American native peoples. This collection of essays by anthropologists and one psychiatrist examines this concept among native American societies, from near the time of contact until the present day.

Amerindian Rebirth opens with a foreword by Gananath Obeyesekere that contrasts North American and Hindu/Buddhist/Jain beliefs. The introduction gives an overview, and the first chapter summarizes the context, distribution, and variety of recorded belief. All the papers chronicle some aspect of rebirth belief in a number of different cultures. Essays cover such topics as seventeenth-century Huron eschatology, Winnebago ideology, varying forms of Inuit belief, and concepts of rebirth found among subarctic natives and Northwest Coast peoples.

The closing chapters address the genesis and anthropological study of Amerindian reincarnation. In addition, the possibility of evidence for the actuality of rebirth is addressed. Amerindian Rebirth will further our understanding of concepts of self-identity, kinship, religion, cosmology, resiliency, and change among native North American peoples

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Reincarnation Beliefs of the SeventeenthCentury
38
The Reincarnations of Thunder Cloud A Winnebago Indian
55
Cosmological Cycling
67
The Construction of an Inuit Third
82
The Inuit Cycle of Spirits
107
Kutchin Concepts of Reincarnation
136
Reincarnation as a Fact of Life among Contemporary Dene
156
Northwest Coast Rebirth in Comparative
192
Three Gitksan Cases of PiercedEar Birth
211
Cultural Patterns in Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation among
242
Appendix A Trait Index to North American Indian and Inuit
299
References
357
Culture Index
391
Contributors
409
Copyright

The Concept of the Person and Reincarnation among the Kwakiutl
177

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About the author (1994)

Antonia Mills is an associate professor in the First Nations Studies Program at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Richard Slobodin was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, McMaster University.

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