Ritual and Myth Odawa Revitalization
Reclaiming a Sovereign Place
This interdisciplinary account of a contemporary Great Lakes Algonkian community explores how the ethical system underlying Odawa (Ottawa) myth and ritual sustains traditionalists' efforts to confront the legal and social issues threatening tribal identity. Because many Odawa are not members of federally recognized communities, anthropologist Melissa A. Pflug focuses on their struggle to overcome long-term social marginalization and achieve collective sovereignty.
In profound ways, contemporary Odawa people are "walking the paths" of their ancestors Neolin, Pontiac, The Trout, and Tenskwatawa. Those prophetic leaders, together with mythic Great Persons, established a legacy tied to land, language, and tradition -- a sovereign identity that defines Odawa life in terms of pimadaziwin: life-sustaining, moral, and healthy interrelationships. Employing the Odawas' concepts of "personing", "gifting", and "empowering", Pflug analyzes their collective rite of passage in terms of the moral foundation it provides for tribal revitalization efforts.
Drawing a clear connection between religious practice and political action, Pflug reframes legal issues common to many American Indian peoples. Her narrative, rich in ethnographic detail and theoretical perspectives, will interest anthropologists, religious scholars, ethnohistorians, and general readers in this era of global ethnic resurgence.
304 pp ~ illustrated — ©1998