The One Who Flies All around the World

Thomas Buckley

in Standing Ground

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233584
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936447 | DOI:
The One Who Flies All around the World

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This chapter presents an account of a major theme of life of the Yurok tribes: wealth. It suggests that capitalist wealth and Yurok wealth are two quite different things, and that Yurok sacred wealth, especially in the form of dance regalia, is both functionally communal and, interpretatively, emblematic of life-force itself, rather than being essentially material. This life force, “spirit,” is ultimately identified with “that which exists,” also, “the world.” Wealth is the measure of spiritual wisdom, in the ideal model, but greed and selfishness drive wealth away. Finally, the chapter emphasizes that the highest forms of wealth, dance regalia, come to and stay with people who are dedicated to “fixing the world” through, particularly, the great dances. Wealth, therefore, does not indicate an individual's personal salvation, but his or her fitness, through spiritual discipline, to contribute to the good of creation itself.

Keywords: Yurok; wealth; dance regalia; life-force; spiritual wisdom; spiritual discipline

Chapter.  2711 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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