Contributions to Ojibwe Studies: Essays, 1934-1972

Contributions to Ojibwe Studies: Essays, 1934-1972

Contributions to Ojibwe Studies: Essays, 1934-1972

Contributions to Ojibwe Studies: Essays, 1934-1972

Synopsis

From 1930 to 1940, A. Irving Hallowell, a professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, made repeated summer fieldwork visits to Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, and to the Ojibwe community at Berens River on the lake's east side. He traveled up the Berens River several times to other Ojibwe communities as well, under the guidance of William Berens, the treaty chief at Berens River from 1917 to 1947 and Hallowell's closest collaborator. Contributions to Ojibwe Studies presents twenty-eight of Hallowell's writings focusing on the Ojibwe people at Berens River.
This collection is the first time that the majority of Hallowell's otherwise widely dispersed essays about the Ojibwe have been gathered into a single volume, thus providing a focused, in-depth view of his contributions to our knowledge and understanding of a vital North American aboriginal people. This volume also contributes to the history of North American anthropology, since Hallowell's approaches to and analyses of his findings shed light on his role in the shifting intellectual currents in anthropology over four decades.

Excerpt

Regna Darnell and Stephen O. Murray

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology was established with the intention to consolidate an emerging audience of practicing anthropologists and historians committed to tracing the effects of the past upon contemporary practice. the anthropologists among series readers are perhaps more interested in ethnographic verisimilitude than their historical colleagues, but both are committed to the enterprise of historicism in its broadest sense—that is, the framing of past persons and events in the context of their own times prior to judgment. This position is the characteristic anthropological one of cultural relativism, transposed from synchronic space to diachronic history.

Jennifer S. H. Brown has been the key figure in drawing A. Irving “Pete” Hallowell into the mainstream of history of anthropology in recent years. With Maureen Matthews she followed Hallowell’s footsteps through Berens River Ojibwe country and spoke with the people who remember “their” anthropologist and continue to draw upon his work. She and Susan Elaine Gray have continued to explore the continuity from past to present and its critical importance for the Ojibwe future in the region between Hudson Bay and Lake Winnipeg. Their attention has turned from Hallowell, the ethnographer, to Chief William Berens, the consultant and confidant of a younger ethnographer who knew how much he had yet to learn. “Willie” Berens was an articulate contemporary leader of his time, a Christian with a family and cultural heritage that remained deeply enmeshed in Anishinaabeg traditional spirituality. He chose not to use his dream gifts fully, but continued to value them as belonging to his people and undergirding their identity in a rapidly changing world.

The papers themselves span almost four decades during which Hallowell pursued his increasing understanding of the Ojibwe and used that understanding to test the theory and practice of his own anthropological discipline. More than most, he was able to move with changes in disciplinary culture over the course of his career. When Regna Darnell was his student during . . .

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