Pragmatism

Pragmatism – Indigenous shamanisms tend to disrupt the binary sacred–profane boundary imposed by Western observers, avoid transcendentalism, and embed practice in pragmatic day-to-day community (human and other-than-human) relations. The relationship between shamans and clientele among the Native American Gitxsan community of the Pacific Northwest offers a salient example: “The fees for doctoring might be ten blankets, prepaid, for each patient, or it might be as little as one blanket. But if the doctored person died afterwards, the blankets were returned” (“Listening to Our Ancestors: Native Art on the North Pacific Coast,” National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.).

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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