Beneath and above the worlds of the spirit are alive : religion, place, and Ohlone cultural revival
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This thesis explores the meaning of landscapes in the revival of traditional religious traditions by the Indigenous peoples of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area, the Ohlone peoples. Employing interview and reflexive ethnography, this study argues that religious praxis, especially ritual or ceremony, has an important function in mediating relationships to aboriginal lands in the (post)colonial setting through the continuities established in and through place. Changes in the landscape and historical shifts within the community catalyze a creative negotiation and incorporation of older traditions and the creation of new religious forms. This study focuses especially religious praxis in relation to village sites and burial grounds. Because these lands are also transformed through on-going development and gentrification, this study argues that these sites of religious and cultural meaning are also sites where Indigenous identity must be continually negotiated in the modern world. Additionally, this study argues that religious praxis is important way to maintaining ties to place because the Ohlone peoples are not federally recognized Native American tribes and do not have unmediated access to their sacred places. The study concludes by asserting that these relationships to landscapes speak to existential meaning, core relationships, and fundamental ways Ohlone people orient themselves in the world. Such theoretical perspective also suggests possible ways of making sense of the religious importance of other contested Indigenous lands.
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