Journal Article

Postcolonial Sun Dancing at Wakpamni Lake

Dale Stover

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 69, issue 4, pages 817-836
Published in print December 2001 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online December 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/69.4.817
Postcolonial Sun Dancing at Wakpamni Lake

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Postcolonial theory assists in making apparent the essentialism of “self” and “other” that characterizes Eurocentric colonial discourse. A North American Postcolonial hermeneutic is proposed that focuses on the oral voice of tradition embodied in the lived experience of an indigenous community. Postcolonial interpretation entails an interpreter entering into ritual relationship with a traditional community so that the hegemonic pattern of dominant-culture discourse is circumvented. The traditional practices of the Wakpamni Lake community on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota provide the local context for understanding Sun Dancing as a postcolonial undertaking. The postcolonial character of Sun Dancing at Wakpamni Lake is identified through four interrelated features described as four ways of respect. This Sun Dancing Expresses a religious praxis, described as a politics of kinship, that contradicts the colonizing power relations rooted in European American cultural heritage. This politics of kinship offers the dominant culture a way to intercultural relationship that disarms the entrenched essentialism of “self” and “other.”

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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