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Native American Religious Studies - Essay Example

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The main theme of Professor Keith Basso’s non-fiction book “Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache” is a superb exploration of the language of the Western Apache. It is a wonderful read of his ethno- linguistic study of the interwoven…
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Native American Religious Studies
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Download file to see previous pages His studies on this group of people covered the language of Western Apaches, patterns of silence in social interaction, witchcraft beliefs, and ceremonial symbolism, and others. The idea for Wisdom Sits in Places originated from a conducted study of Apache places; how the Apache refer to their land, the place-names; the stories behind the names of each place, and how these place-names are being used in everyday conversations by Apache men and women. The publication is a stunning informative study of the use of landscape and language in the social life of the Western Apaches. And one would find it wonderful how language influence and shape the way a person thinks, and how wisdom can sit in places, and that a race’s language is intimately linked to the land where they sprang.
The book is divided into four sections: Quoting the Ancestors, Stalking with Stories, Speaking with Names, and Wisdom Sits in Places. Each chapter revolves around the design that landscape and language serve distinct purpose in the life of Western Apaches.
Chapter 4 is a look on the path of wisdom in the Western Apache society. In this, Basso, with the guidance of an Apache friend named Dudley Patterson, explained that there are two conditions of the mind: "steadiness of mind" (bIni gonldzil), and "resilience of mind" (bIni gontliz). These two conditions will in turn lead the person to another mental condition: which he called “smoothness of mind” (bIni godilkooh), considered being a more desirable mental condition.
These three conditions, according to his study, are not inborn; therefore, an individual needs to work on his mind in order to gain wisdom. Working on one’s mind could be through being observant on different places, learn their place-names, and then reflect on traditional narratives that give emphasis on the importance and intrinsic worth of wisdom. The idea of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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