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Comparing (Serpent in the Rainbow: by Wade Davis) to (Peyote Hunt: Barbara Myerhoff) - Research Paper Example

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Peyote Hunt by Barbara Myerhoff tries to understand Native American religions and culture through explaining and giving the meaning of Huichol symbols. On his part, Davis tries to understand the…
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Comparing (Serpent in the Rainbow: by Wade Davis) to (Peyote Hunt: Barbara Myerhoff)
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Comparing (Serpent in the Rainbow: by Wade Davis) to (Peyote Hunt: Barbara Myerhoff)

Download file to see previous pages... The Peyote hunt is an enthralling ritual; a social drama characterized by deeply felt symbols, speech inversions, unusual behaviors and carefully designed movements that develop a description of an individual’s connection to the land and the ancestors. In Peyote Hunt, Barbara Myerhoff does not make an important contribution to the study of Native American religions and culture as a result of four vital misunderstandings. In the book, Myerhoff uses several symbols: for example the maize in the book represents the present and hence symbolizes the interdependent nature of gender roles in the modern agriculture. On the other hand, the deer signifies the lost hunting life and links with a past idea of male dominance. The drama gives an account of Myerhoff’s affiliation with Ramon (mara’akame of the Huichol tribe of Mexico) and the peyote hunt which is a basic tribal event. In this book, she identifies her main goal which is to fulfil Ramon’s most appreciated aspiration of presenting and preserving his symbols, customs and his stories in a very interesting and humanistic way. The introduction to the Huichol religion by Myerhoff is a non-humanistic one for the reason that it fails to give emphasis to its cosmology in order to give imminent into the Huichol religion (Myerhoff, 34). She utilizes ethnocentric vocabulary that does not precisely express Huichol philosophy. She applies purpose and meaning to Huichol symbols and fails to notice their functional applications in the Huichol rites. Lastly, she fails to understand and interpret the Native American concept of person and how it relates to the Huichol Deer Hunt.
In the first part of the book, Myerhoff illustrates the experience she gained from peyote and the understanding attained from Ramon. She describes her vision and Ramon’s refusal to expose the meaning but instead to make clear to her to the vision’s beauty. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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