Chants of a lifetime: explorations in native philosophy

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This study deals with the problems of presenting a somewhat 'literary' sketch of a Carrier community, including the core values of that community, its overall Weltanschauung, and the overall spiritual context which forms the very basis of the Weltanschauung. The study also addresses the larger question of 'How do the specific core values which permeate Native education and Native lifestyle appear to differ from those which constitute the general lifestyle of the dominant culture which currently surrounds Native communities?' The study itself is qualitative in nature, ethnographically oriented and autobiographical in tone. The material upon which the study is based is derived from a three-year period the author spent living and teaching on the Kluskus Reserve, a Carrier community on the Fraser Plateau located in the central British Columbia 'bush' country, as well as an ongoing seven-year association with that same community. The study makes use of what might be best described as a 'medicine wheel' methodology, that is, it attempts to be more spherical than linear in approach and presentation. As a consequence, a number of 'meditations' are provided throughout the text by way of providing the reader with analogous counterpoints to specific chapters. More specifically, the first objective of this study is to present the reader with a sense of context by providing a brief description of what constitutes theology, philosophy, and ideology, indicating how these terms and the processes they are designed to describe relate to one another by tracing the etymology of the English words themselves. The second objective is to present the reader with a brief history of the Carrier people in the Kluskus area, including in that description an ethnographic outline of Carrier culture and customs which provides the reader with a background for the rest of the text, that is, a sense of Carrier lifestyle and spirituality. The third objective is to provide the reader with a relevant description of Carrier culture from the point of view of certain areas of endeavour such as the Carrier social, political, economic, judicial, educational, and religious systems. The fourth objective is to extract the specific core values of the Kluskus people themselves, indicating how these values work together to provide the individual members of the Band with the spiritual base that comprises their Weltanschauung and overall lifestyle, thereby setting the stage for an examination of how these core values appear to differ from those of the dominant culture. This study examines the question of 'schooling' in the dominant culture, indicating the direction that schooling might take in order to be considered truly 'educative' as opposed to merely instructive. This study focuses on the question of 'spirit' and how 'spirit' provides a genuine and palpable context for not only Kluskus, Carrier, or Native lifestyle, but all human endeavour.
Bibliography: p. 209-226.
Sikora, M. S. (1994). Chants of a lifetime: explorations in native philosophy (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/19901