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Indigenous People Essay

1316 words - 5 pages

For the first two weeks of my class, I had no idea where I was headed in terms of my learning experience but I soon found out. During the first week we had to define “indigenous identity” which by the way was a foreign language to me. After I determined the meaning of it (because there were so many choices) I settled on the meaning “that what connects a person or people by their culture, race, beliefs and way of life”. I never considered or included myself a part of that definition because I thought it only pertained to people of other nations or countries. Eventually my thoughts and understanding changed. As I stated before my reading “Thinking Like an Anthropologist” Chapter Five, “What was This Practice or Idea Like in the past - The Temporal Question (2008, Omohundro, J.T. ), will be an excellent and informative guide for my research (in which it was). Also having to use Syncretism as a tool allowed me the opportunity to not only research the past but present rituals, beliefs, etc. of African Americans and how much they have changed over the years. Looking through this research as a critic allowed me to broaden my horizons not only about my culture but other cultures that are included in this identity. We were first introduced to two articles: The “Gebusi” and “Body Ritual of the Nacerima”. And I thought their rituals and beliefs were somewhat extreme, but then I realized if they looked at our society and our practices, they could consider the same thing about us. Having said that I decided that as an African-American woman, I was prepared to take that journey into the unknown, to investigate my culture, our accomplishments, and therefore have the ability to share my findings and observations with others. Week after week we were given the opportunity to research other peoples and realize how much we were alike (or perhaps different) in many ways when compared to our own culture.

Growing up as a child, progressing into my teen and finally adult years, I constantly learned new and informative information about my culture. But, this is the first time (and I proudly admit) that I have acquired a magnitude of information about my culture in such a short period. I had to step outside of “the box” and look at things from a different perspective. We were also given the opportunity to focus on two elements of culture evident in my “indigenous identity”.
At the beginning of my study I decided on had these two elements: religion and holidays. But during my research I also had the pleasure of speaking with one of my grade school teachers (Mrs. Jackie Perkins) who was very knowledgeable regarding African American history. After interviewing Mrs. Perkins, I decided it would be important to add folk tales as another important element to our culture. My reasoning for these choices were: Religion-because as spiritual people that has always been an important part of African Americans lives, Holidays-we as African Americans have finally received our...

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