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Assignment for Indigenous Traditions

Using the text book, class notes and video presentation, respond – using your own wording – to two (2) of the following in paragraph form. Each is worth 5 marks.
1. Why is the term/idea of Indigenous peoples as “primitive” problematic? Give some examples that support this claim.

2. According to Wade David – in The Sacred Balance – human beings are connected to the land (in this case lands near Cuzco, Peru), in a very special way. Explain what he means by this.

3. Discuss the major aspects of colonialism and their effects on Indigenous peoples and cultures.
Marks will be based on:
1. Precision and accuracy: Precision means saying exactly and specifically what you mean, avoiding ambiguity and vague generalities. Accuracy refers to absence of major factual errors.
2. Writing style: Your work should be written in a clear and unambiguous style which assists, rather than impedes, communication with the reader.
3. Mechanics: Your work must be completely free of grammatical errors, spelling errors or major factual errors.
NOTE 1: you do not need to reference writing
NOTE 2: length, just like a test, is your call: gauge that each mark is worth 5% of your final mark
NOTE 3: Apart from responding correctly to the questions, as discussed above, this assignment is an exercise on how well you can avoid plagiarizing (in practice for the paper, for which no mercy will be shown). To this end, without getting marked for it, part of this assignment – in order for you even to receive your marks above – requires that you also hand in a well-written paraphrase of the paragraph below (taken from textbook, p. 38); for help on how to paraphrase, see http://www.humber.ca/liberalarts/sites/default/files/PARAPHRASING.pdf:

Another important problem with academic work about Indigenous people is that it tends to reinforce the idea that “they” are different from “us.” Thus the study of Indigenous religions has produced many terms and concepts that typically are applied only to those traditions, and not to “world” religions more broadly—terms such as “animism, “fetish,” “mana,” “myth,” “shaman,” “taboo,” and “totem.” This chapter will rarely use any of those terms, in part because they are not necessary for an introductory understanding of Indigenous religions, but also because they are not used in reference to the other religions discussed in this book, even when they might be relevant. For example, Indigenous origin stories are usually labelled “myth,” while similar stories in the Hebrew Bible or the Mahabharata are considered “sacred literature.” Similarly, the rule that prohibits an African mask carver from having contact with a woman during his work would normally be called a “taboo”; yet that term is not applied to the rule that forbids a Christian priest from pouring unused communion wine down the drain. In short, it’s important not to perpetuate the notion that Indigenous religions are of a different order from non-Indigenous religions.

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