Recovering the Sacred
The Power of Naming and Claiming
SOUTH END PR
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; Well-known activist discusses the importance of accessing tradition for the Native American community; Describes the differences between mainstream and indigenous thinking in America; Through hundreds of interviews with scholars and activists, LaDuke suggests ways in which access to cultural and social traditions can be used to create political change today 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. Basing her explorations on a wealth of Native American research and hundreds of interviews conducted with indigenous scholars and activists, LaDuke examines the connections between sacred sites, 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 practised. 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 continues to fail 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 government neglect causes extreme poverty, thus blocking access to basic healthcare for most tribal members? 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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