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The Sacred Hoop
and spirits are always found together" (2). "Indians endure--both in the sense of living through something so complete in its destructiveness that the mere presence of survivors is a testament to the human will to survive and in the sense of duration or longevity" (2).
"Traditional tribal lifestyles are more often gynocratic than not, and they are never patriarchal" (2).
"American Indians are not merely doomed victims of western imperialism or progress; they are also carriers of the dream that most activist movements in the Americas claim to be seeking. The major difference between most activist movements and tribal societies is that for millennia American Indians have based their social systems, however diverse, on ritual, spirit-centered, women-focused world-views" (2).
"Also likely to be prominent in such systems are nurturing, pacifist, and passive males (as defined by western minds) and selfdefining, assertive, decisive women. In many tribes, the nurturing male constitutes the ideal adult model for boys while the decisive, self-directing female is the ideal model to which girls aspire" (2).
"The sacred, ritual ways of the American Indian peoples are similar in many respects to other sacred cultures on the planet, such as the Tibetan and trans-Caucasus cultures" (5).
"There is a spirit that pervades everything, that is capable of powerful song and radiant movement, and that moves in and out of the mind. The colors of the spirit are multitudinous, a glowing, pulsing rainbow. Old Spider Woman is one name for this quintessential spirit, and Serpent Woman is another. Corn Woman is one aspect of her, and Earth Woman is another, and what they together have made is called Creation, Earth, creatures, plants and light" (13).
Grandmother of the Sun
"Warfare among the most traditional American Indian tribes who practiced it (went on the war path) was a ritual, an exercise in the practice of shamanism, and it is still practiced that way by the few 'longhairs' left. Its outcome was the seizure of a certain sacred power, and that outcome could be as a result of defeat as well as victory. The point was to gain the attention of supernatural powers, who would then be prevailed upon to give certain powers to the hero" (21).
"The exact war is not important. What is important is that from warfare comes certain powers that benefit the people and that are gained by a hero who encounters and transcends mortal danger" (21). "The concept of power among tribal people is related to their understanding of the relationships that occur between the human and nonhuman worlds. They believe that all are linked within once vast, living sphere, that the linkage is not material but spiritual, and that its essence is the power that enables magical things to happen" (22).
When Women Throw Down Bundles: Strong Women Make Strong Nations
"The coming of the white man created chaos in all the old systems, which were for the most part superbly healthy, simultaneously cooperative and autonomous, peace-centered, and ritualoriented" (31).
Where I Come From Is Like This
"An American Indian woman is primarily defined by her tribal identity. In her eyes, her destiny is necessarily that of her people, and her sense of herself as a woman is first and foremost prescribed by her tribe" (43).
"Since the coming of the Anglo-Europeans beginning in the fifteenth century, the fragile web of identity that long held tribal people secure has gradually been weakened and torn. But the oral tradition has prevented the complete destruction of the web, the ultimate disruption of tribal ways. The oral tradition is vital; it heals itself and the tribal web by adapting to the flow of the present while never relinquishing its connection to the past. Its adaptability has always been required as many generations have experienced" (45).
The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary Perspective
"The artistry of the tribes is married to the essence of language itself, for through language one can share one's singular being with that of the community and know within oneself the communal knowledge of the tribe. In this art, the greater self and allthat-is are blended into a balanced whole, and in this way the concept of being that is the fundamental and sacred spring of life is given voice and being for all" (55).
among all the beings of the universe must be fulfilled; in this way each individual life is fulfilled" (56). "The American Indian universe is based in dynamic self-esteem, while the Christian universe is based primarily on a sense of separation and loss. For the American Indian, the ability of all creatures to share in the process of ongoing creation makes all things sacred" (57).
"Another difference between these two ways of perceiving reality lies in the tendency of the American Indian to view space as spherical and time as cyclical, whereas the non-Indian tends to view space as linear and time as sequential. The circular concept requires all 'points' that make up the sphere of being to have a significant identity and function, while the linear model assumes that some 'points' are more significant than others" (59).
"the Indian universe moves and breathes continuously, and the Western universe is fixed and static" (59). "The natural state of existence is whole. Thus healing chants and ceremonies emphasize restoration of wholeness, for disease is a condition off division and separation from the harmony of the whole. Beauty is wholeness. Health is wholeness. Goodness is wholeness" (60-61).
"The ceremony is the ritual enactment of a specialized perception of a cosmic relationship, while the myth is a prose record of that relationship" (61). "The formal structure of a ceremony is as holistic as the universe it purports to reflect and respond to, for the ceremony contains other forms such as incantation, song (dance), and prayer, and it is itself the central mode of literary expression from which all allied songs and stories derive" (62).
"The purpose of the ceremony is to integrate: to fuse the individual with his or her fellows, the community of people with that of the other kingdoms, and this larger communal group with the worlds beyond this one. A raising or expansion of individual consciousness naturally accompanies this process. The person shed the isolated, individual personality and is restored to conscious harmony with the universe" (62).
"The tribal person perceives things not as inert but as viable and alive, and he or she knows that living things are subject to the processes of growth and change as a necessary component of their aliveness. Since all that exists is alive and since all that is alive must grow and change, all existence can be manipulated under certain conditions and according to certain laws" (69).
"traditional American Indian literatures possess a unity and harmony of symbol, structure, and articulation that is peculiar to the American Indian world. This harmony is based on the perceived harmony of the universe and on thousands of years of refinement. This essential sense of unity among all things flows like a clear stream through the songs and stories of the peoples of the western hemisphere" (75).
Whose Dream is This Anyway? Remythologizing and Self-Definition in Contemporary American Indian Fiction
"Traditional tribal narratives possess a circular structure, incorporating event within event, piling meaning upon meaning, until the accretion finally results in a story. The structure of tribal narratives, at least in their native language forms, is quite unlike that of western fiction; it is not tied to any particular time line, main character, or event. It is tied to a particular point of view--that of the tribe's tradition-and to a specific idea--that of the ritual tradition and accompanying perspective that inform the narrative" (79).
"Every part of the oral tradition expresses the idea that ritual is gender-based, but rather than acting as a purely divisive structure, the separation by gender emphasizes complementarity. The women's traditions are largely about continuity, and men's traditions are largely about transitoriness or change" (82). "an isolated or alienated individual is a sick one, so the healing practice centers on reintegrating the isolated individual into the matrix of the universe" (88).
“And whether the ritual traditions are in ceremony, myth, or novel, the nourish the people. They give meaning. They give life" (101).
The Ceremonial Motion of Indian Time: Long Ago So Far
traditional tribal concept of time is of timelessness, as the concept of space is of multidimensionality. In the ceremonial world the tribes inhabit, time and space are mythic" (147). "There is plenty of time in the Indian universe because everything moves in a dynamic equilibrium and the fact of universal movement is taken into account in the ritual life that is tribal existence" (147).
achronological time sense of tribal people results from tribal beliefs about the nature of reality, beliefs based on ceremonial understandings rather than on industrial, theological, or agricultural orderings" (149). "Chronological time structuring is useful in promoting and supporting an industrial time sense. The idea that everything has a starting and an ending point reflects accurately the process by which the industry produces goods" (149).
"Achronicity is the kind of time in which the individual and the universe are 'tight.' The sense of time that the term refers to is not ignorant of the future any more than it is unconscious of the past. It is a sense of time that connects pain and praise through timely movement, knitting person and surroundings into one" (150). "Chronological time denies that an individual is one with the surroundings" (150).
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