Native Americans as a source of wisdom. History and analysis of a contemporary mythology
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The article investigates the important element of alternative spiritual beliefs, often designated as New Age, connected with cultural appropriation of spirituality of the “imagined community” of idealized Native Americans. First, origins and historical background of this social imaginary is being provided, rooted in popular literature, impact of influential Buffallo Bill’s Wild West shows of the 1800s, and youth movements, Indian hobbyist and (Euro)indianist movement of the 1900s. Second, important cultural texts such as Chief Seattle (alleged) Speech, Rainbow Family legends (and its connection to Greenpeace) and Black Elk message are thoroughly investigated. Third, the current “source of wisdom” with renewed social dynamics is being analysed, along with search for a new paradigm for studies of this syncretic phenomenon.
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