By Suzanne Crawford O'Brien
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Additional resources for Coming Full Circle: Spirituality and Wellness among Native Communities in the Pacific Northwest
Foucault, Riley, and Butler have worked toward a deconstruction of the body and the self so as to uncover hidden power relations, the hierarchies and the inequalities that perceptions of the body quietly reinforce. ²² While Butler’s notion of the body might be said to appear passively constrained by the power inherent in culture and society, she does disrupt assumptions about the nature of the embodied subject in a useful way. ”²³ In opening up such categories, one might argue, possibilities for change and resistance become available.
6³ 20 Part One Merleau-Ponty has argued that at a perceptual level, our bodies are not objects to us but an integral part of ourselves as perceiving subjects. 65 For Merleau-Ponty some experience is indeed more real than other experience, being less obscured by culture or language (though never completely without them). The origins of perception and knowledge of this real lie in embodied experience. 67 Perception thus becomes a conversation, a relational exchange, between observer and observed.
If terms such as “Native” or “Indigenous” are made meaningless, then on what basis can American Indian peoples stake a claim for identity, for community, for rightful ownership of their land? How can individuals craft a meaningful identity when the identiﬁers they rely on have become unstable? These questions are vital to the discussion at hand. I would argue that deconstructing Euroamerican inscriptions of the Native body can help make clear the hidden power relations and modes of domination within colonial history.
Coming Full Circle: Spirituality and Wellness among Native Communities in the Pacific Northwest by Suzanne Crawford O'Brien