By Michael D. McNally
Like many local americans, Ojibwe humans esteem the knowledge, authority, and spiritual importance of previous age, yet this appreciate doesn't come simply or obviously. it's the fruit of labor, rooted in narrative traditions, ethical imaginative and prescient, and ritualized practices of decorum which are related in sophistication to these of Confucianism. whilst the dispossession and regulations of assimilation have threatened Ojibwe peoplehood and feature precise the traditions and the elders who include it, Ojibwe and different Anishinaabe groups were resolute and ingenious of their disciplined appreciate for elders. certainly, the demanding situations of colonization have served to intensify eldership in new ways.
Using archival and ethnographic learn, Michael D. McNally follows the making of Ojibwe eldership, displaying that deference to older men and women is a part of a fuller ethical, aesthetic, and cosmological imaginative and prescient hooked up to the continued circle of life—a culture of authority that has been the most important to surviving colonization. McNally argues that the culture of authority and the authority of culture body a decidedly indigenous dialectic, eluding analytic frameworks of invented culture and naïve continuity. Demonstrating the wealthy probabilities of treating age as a class of research, McNally provocatively asserts that the elder belongs along the priest, prophet, sage, and different key figures within the research of faith.
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Additional info for Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Ojibwe Religion (Religion and American Culture Series)
This is no narrow story of infancy alone. Neither is it a mere detailing of a notable kinship relation between namesakes. Neither still is it an offhand remark about the etiquette of respecting one’s elders: it is an insight into the way that social relations, ritual, cosmology, and life cycle come together. ”32 If this is also the case among the Ojibwe, as I believe it was and is, then how are we to regard anew the significance of age and the authority of eldership in Ojibwe life? Hallowell, the most likely of the ethnologists to make these interpretive connections, was apparently beginning to do so on this particular issue late in his career.
In Ojibwe Singers, I reflected at length on the authority and the limits of the authority of my own witness and interpretations of Anishinaabe events and lives over the course of the eight years that preceded that book’s publication and that amounted to a bit less than two consecutive years. The relationships with Anishinaabe people out of which this current work emerges are largely congruent with those that gave rise to my observations in Ojibwe Singers, and so I won’t recapitulate all the details, save my claim that my own perspectives on Anishinaabe culture are profoundly limited by the particularity of the relationships I have had with certain Ojibwe people.
At the time of this writing, there admittedly remains more work on my part to solicit those conversations, and I invite elders, scholars, and community people to pose questions of this book, to me and more publicly, in hopes of an ongoing conversation that is more accurate still. As for the historical research that supports this book, I have reread much of the missionary correspondence archived in the Minnesota Historical Society, both in the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota papers, the extensive Henry Benjamin Whipple papers, and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions papers relevant to the Great Lakes region archived in Harvard’s Houghton Library but mercifully copied and cata logued in the Grace Lee Nute collection at the Minnesota Historical Society.