Ways of Knowing: Experience, Knowledge, and Power among the Dene Tha

By Jean-Guy A. Goulet | Go to book overview

Notes

PREFACE
1.
I initiated my fieldwork with a week-long visit to Chateh in July 1979, and I pursued my research intensively for six months each year (January through June), from 1980 to 1984 inclusively. Since then I made regular shorter visits up to the summer of 1992.

INTRODUCTION
1.
All statements from Dene Tha speakers in this book are verbatim, from my fieldnotes. Although I quote extensively from this verbatim record of our conversations, I have given fictive names to speakers and other individuals to protect their anonymity. Actual names of Dene Tha individuals are used where they appear as such in material borrowed from other sources: Moore n.d.a and b, Moore and Wheelock 1990, Meili 1991, and Robertson 1970. When I quote in Dene Dháh, I follow the orthography proposed by Moore and Wheelock ( 1990). See Moore and Wheelock 1990, 89-101, for a detailed presentation of vowels and consonants in Dene Dháh. See The Dene Tha' Nation ( 1997) for numerous photographs of the Dene Tha homeland and of Dene Tha band members who describe in vivid details their living relationship to the land.
2.
Asch ( 1989) and Mills ( 1994d) discuss the relevance of Dene views in Canadian courts. Asch argues that the Dene ought to base their claim to the aboriginal right to hunt on their own conception of what an animal is, rather than on the Euro-Canadian notion of "wildlife." Mills discusses how Gitksan and Wet′suwet′en chiefs attempted to introduce their evidence before the court of British Columbia. The chiefs were seeking recognition of their aboriginal rights over 55,000 square kilometers (22,000 square miles) of the land considered "Crown Land," that is, property of the province, in north-central British Columbia. The chiefs hoped "that in taking the time to explain themselves and their culture to a judge he would be educable" ( Mills 1994d, 150), and that he would recognize their aboriginal rights if he could only grasp "their belief in reincarnation because their sense of self-worth, identity and identification with the land is intimately connected to their perception of themselves as the ancestors . . . who are reborn" ( Mills 1994d, 151). Judge McEachern discounted their evidence when he declared that their aboriginal title did not exist. That decision was appealed by the Gitksan and Wet′suwet′en before the Supreme Court of Canada in a case referred to as Delgammukuu v. British Columbia. On 11 December 1997 the Supreme

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Ways of Knowing: Experience, Knowledge, and Power among the Dene Tha
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1. Stories from the Field 1
  • 2. True Knowledge and True Responsibility 27
  • 3. Powerful Beings and Being Powerful 60
  • 4. Powers to Heal, Powers to Respect 88
  • 5. Visions of Conflict, Conflicts of Vision 109
  • 6. Journeys of the Soul 142
  • 7. Searching for a Womb 167
  • 8. When the Drum and the Rosary Meet 193
  • 9. Dancing Your Way to Heaven 223
  • 10. An Experiential Approach to Knowledge 246
  • Notes 261
  • References 287
  • Index 329
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