Friday, February 5, 2010

Hijacking Culture?

One of the reasons I bring this up (the spiritual movement in hunting) is that I do have some personal experience (family and close friends) in the area of Native American culture. I am no expert by any means and welcome any comments but one of the comments that has been made to me (on more than one occasion) was that whites (or Europeans, take your pick) have hijacked aspects of Native American culture as a replacement for parts of their culture that has been lost because of religious pressures. Is it possible that we are seeing this desire to incorporate Native American (and other aboriginal peoples) belief systems into ours because our own culture (white, Anglo-Saxon, Judeo-Christian) has become determined to separate us from nature?
Tough subject to think about isn't it?


Tovar Cerulli said...

This is an important topic, too. I think your suggestion--that the draw toward Native traditions is, at least in part, linked to our own culture's separation from nature--is on the mark.

Though I find much to respect in various Native traditions, I'm uneasy with the appropriation or "hijacking," as you call it. Many Native/First-Nations folks are mighty uncomfortable with it, too.

Early threads of it show up in 19th century American history, partly in connection with hunting, but it really got traction in more recent decades as you suggest. One good book on this romanticization and hijacking is Philip Jenkins's "Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality."

Galen Geer said...

Tover, I'll have to check that book out. glg

Eric C. Nuse said...

In the book "Hunting and the American Imagination", Daniel Herma talks about this also. He contends that the early frontier subsistence hunters viewed hunting a part of clearing the land and nation building. It was the early 19th century sport hunters who saw themselves, and painted earlier heroes like Daniel Boone as self reliant "American Natives" and the heirs of the native Americans as stewards of wildlife and the wild lands.

Tovar Cerulli said...

I second Eric's recommendation of Herman's book. The author isn't a hunter but takes a open-minded approach to the subject. His research is impressively detailed and his arguments are compelling.

NorCal Cazadora said...

I'll withhold judgment on the whole "hijacking" notion, but I have to agree with you about the Judeo-Christian tradition being determined to separate us from nature. The more I think about hunting and why I love it, the more I keep coming back to a deep resentment toward this notion that nature is something we should rise "above." Makes me want to go feral.

And Eric, thanks for the book recommendation - looks like another one for my list!

SimplyOutdoors said...

I suppose religious pressures could very well have something to do with "hijacking" the Native American cultures. If that is the case, though, I can tell you that I'm not very comfortable with it.

I do think our culture has separated from nature, but I'm not completely convinced as to what started that, or how it ties in to the spiritual movement that seems to be taking place when it comes to hunting.