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Comparitive Paper on Ways of Knowing and The Serpent and the Rainbow - Essay Example

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Three separate communities of aboriginal tribes called the Dene Tha’ are located in the North-West province of Canada, Bushe river, Meander river and Chateh. These reserves are inhabited by about 1800 Dene Tha’s and there are an estimated 600 living off the reserves.
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Download file to see previous pages Even though outwardly appearing to follow the Christian identity accorded to them by the Euro-Canadian people, they have kept their traditions alive. Jean-Guy Goulet in her book presents her understanding of the social life in the form of a certain practices that are still alive and relevant today to the identity of the Dene Tha’ of Chateh.
The concept of unseen reality holds a significant place in the way the Dene Tha view their knowledge. They interact with the dead through ‘dreams’ or ‘visions’. The soul is believed to travel outside the body of the dreamer to visit ‘the other land’. This journey is treated the same way as when a Dene Tha’ travels and meets what would be ‘a real person’ to us and ‘a person living in this land’ to them.
“The Dene Tha differentiate between ndahdigeh, "our land," and echuhdigeh, "the other land," and their respective inhabitants, but they do not do so in the way Euro-North Americans may oppose the natural and the supernatural, the field of science on the one hand and the field of mysticism, magic, and religion on the other. The other land, also referred to as yake, "heaven," is experienced firsthand in dreams or in visions when the soul journeys away from the body. It is in the other land that one meets relatives who have passed away as well as Christian figures such as Mary and Jesus. Dene Tha Elders easily follow an account of a trip to a nearby town with a story of a journey to the other land. To the nearby town in our land they traveled by car. To the other land they traveled with their souls. In both cases they visit actual places and meet real, living people.” (Goulet, 1998)
They treat the knowledge gained through these experiences the same way they would treat knowledge gained through encounters with living people. It is treated as experiential learning, a primary source, a direct evidence of truth. This is evident ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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