Resource – “Notions and Strategic Uses of Personhood and Souls-Like Essences among Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, and Postcontact Indians of the Eastern Woodlands”
Twelve YouTube symposium videos on pre- and post-contact Woodland Indians’ ideas about personhood and soul-like essences, and their central place in mortuary rituals, intercommunity alliance building, place making, and “territoriality”.
The 2020 SAA symposium, “Notions and Strategic Uses of Personhood and Souls-Like Essences among Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, and Postcontact Indians of the Eastern Woodlands”, can be accessed at:
Abstract: Inspired by the work of ethnologist A. Irving Hallowell and more recent developments in the study of non-Western peoples’ ontologies, 11 researchers present archaeological, bioarchaeological, ethnographic, and folklore documentation of Ohio Hopewell, Kentucky Adena, and postcontact Woodland Indians’ notions of personhood, including soul-like essences. We explore (1) the key place of ideas about soul-like essences in Woodland Indian concepts of the person; (2) the inclusion of other-than-human beings in the Woodland Indian cultural category of the person; and (3) the native logics, material expressions, and strategic uses of these two facets of personhood in death and healing rites, in founding and maintaining intercommunity alliances, and in place-making and apparent “territoriality”. Comparisons are made to the Native American Southwestern U.S.
Presenters: Christopher Carr (Organizer), W. Rex Weeks, Anna C. Novotny, Mark McConaughy, Kelley Hays-Gilpin, Christine VanPool, Andrew Seidel, Christopher Caseldine, Brianna Rafidi, Heather Smyth, Mary Kupsch.