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ERIC Number: EJ832232
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Cultures in Collision: Cosmology, Jurisprudence, and Religion in Tlingit Territory
Russell, Caskey
American Indian Quarterly, v33 n2 p230-252 Spr 2009
The term "first contact" usually conjures up an image of a group of European soldiers landing on a beach in the New World, their ship anchored just offshore, while a large group of Natives approaches the soldiers. On both sides there is caution but also curiosity. Beyond the physical collision of two different peoples there is also a metaphysical collision between differing cultural modes for apprehending reality, for determining truth, and for understanding one's relationship within physical and spiritual environments. In short, different and potentially conflicting understandings of cosmology, jurisprudence, and religion come into contact. This article examines the cultural conflicts between Southeast Alaska's Tlingit Indians and Europeans. Though these three cultural systems (cosmology, jurisprudence, religion) are not mutually exclusive, this article examines each of them in turn and contextualizes them by using three interrelated historical events: first contact, the 1867 purchase of Alaska and its aftermath, and the 1912 burning of totems in the Tlingit village of Kake. The analysis of these historical events helps illuminate current debates about contemporary Tlingit culture and tradition. (Contains 49 notes.)
University of Nebraska Press. 1111 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0630. Tel: 800-755-1105; Fax: 800-526-2617; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; Russia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 1972