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Indigenous VisionsRediscovering the World of Franz Boas$
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Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Lorado Wilner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196511

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196511.001.0001

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Transformation Masks: Recollecting the Indigenous Origins of Global Consciousness

Transformation Masks: Recollecting the Indigenous Origins of Global Consciousness

(p.3) Chapter 1 Transformation Masks: Recollecting the Indigenous Origins of Global Consciousness
Indigenous Visions

Isaiah Lorado Wilner

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that indigenous people were not merely recipients of history, playing bit roles to accommodate others' inventions or stage a forlorn act of resistance. They were inventors of modernity, innovators on a global stage who transformed the lives of people beyond their communities. The chapter draws on two areas of study that are usually treated separately: material culture and mythology. On the Northwest Coast, masks and “myths” are parts of a whole. Masks and stories unite to create a narrative, a packet of messages embedded in expression that convey a worldview, which individuals transmit to the world. Through an effort to recover the narratives embodied in masks yet masked by the Western archive, scholars may draw upon this stream of agency, reuniting objects and stories to read the messages indigenous performers and intellectuals have communicated.

Keywords:   indigenous people, modernity, material culture, mythology, masks, myths

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