We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be—Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night, 1961. Minkiol was the most despised and feared shaman known among the Ona hunter-gatherers of Tierra del Fuego. “Incontestably this person was by nature a dangerous…
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For the Yolngu of Central Australia, illness was often thought to be caused by a harmful object lodged within the body. Treatment involved a medicine…
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During the annual Okipa ceremony among the Mandan of the Great Plains of North America, in a display of his devotion to the Great Spirit, a young man…
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Should any man, Halimink warned me gravely, confide to a woman or an uninitiated lad anything of what went on in the Hain [men’s lodge], both he and the…
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There is an event recounted in the book Naven (1936) by Gregory Bateson, on the Iatmul fisher-foragers of New Guinea, that I have not been able to get…
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Research over the last few years has demonstrated some important patterns of music use across societies. Music appears to be universal across cultures…
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One of the most important insights about people is that they can form social relationships with almost anything. Animals, the deceased, spirits, Gods…
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With the tying off and cutting of the umbilical cord the relations with the uterus and placenta are ended and the newborn infant is for the first time…
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Traditions of Conflict