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Antonia Mills

>    Cultural Contrast: The British Columbia Court's Evaluation of the Gitksan-Wefsuwefen and Their Own Sense of Self-Worth as Revealed in Cases of Reported Reincarnation

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Antonia Mills
>    Cultural Contrast: The British Columbia Court's Evaluation of the Gitksan-Wefsuwefen and Their Own Sense of Self-Worth as Revealed in Cases of Reported Reincarnation

 

ANTHROPOLOGISTS OVER THE PAST two hundred years have come to appreciate that culture plays an important part in determining how its members define their sense of identity and self-worth (Carrithers, Collins 8c Lukes 1985; de Laguna 1954; Druke 1980; Hallowell 1955; Mauss 1938/1985; Rosaldo 1984; Shweder & Bourne 1984).

Over the same period of time, the natives of the Northwest Coast of North America have come to appreciate that their own sense of self-worth (which Ruth Benedict [1934] has portrayed as full of self-importance to the point of megalomania) is not validated by the evaluation of the European immigrants.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia regarding the GitksanWet'suwet'en land claims court case once again draws attention to the stark contrast between the evaluation of these native cultures by the colonial-now-judicial powers and the natives' own sense of self-worth. In this paper I would like to portray the role that belief in reincarnation plays in the Gitksan sense of identity and self-worth and contrast that with Judge McEachern's evaluation.

 

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