Reply To: Mon 14 Apr: The Perception of the Environment

Author Replies
Markus # Posted on December 22, 2014 at 13:06

Reply to Anna Shoemaker

I wrote my reflection before reading yours, but it seems that we found similar points of criticism against Ingold. I agree with you fully when it comes to the risks involved with deconstruction the genealogical model and too fear that it may, eventually and against Ingold’s best intentions, lead to a loss of influence for the ingigenous peoples.

At the end of your reflection you touch, like Michael Deflorian also do, on the idea that the genealogical and relational models could work together. I believe so to and, furthermore, I belive they are already working together in practice. In many ways, I think the genealogical model is a form of legal shorthand, it is a way out of the tricky issues of law. At the same time, I belive – and it is my experience – that there is a lot of other things “going on” within indigenous peoples’ identity formation than dry genealogy. Relationship to land, other “narratives” than the dominant culture’s, etcetera – things that fit better with the relational model. Furthermore, indigenous identities develop and change over time, they are not rigid and locked. They are many times “hybrid” (which in this case is a fancy way of saying that they are developed and changed and not static). This fact, I belive, would be a counter argument to Ingold, as it is obvious that indigenous identities do change in their “life lines” and are not locked and static by genealogy.

What the issue boils down to, I believe, is not how indigenous people identify themselves but how we construct the legal framework so that these cultures and languages are not destroyed. That is the most pressing issue. And in this regard, the shorthand of genealogy just might be better to keep in place.