Birds through indigenous eyes : Native perspectives on birds of the eastern woodlands / Dennis Gaffin ; with the collaboration of Michael Bastine & John Volpe.

Gaffin, Dennis [Browse]
Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2024]
163 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


Library of Congress genre(s)
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Summary note
  • "Drawing on verbatim interviews with an Algonquin and an Ojibwe elder, this book details the meaning and use of birds in North American Indigenous communities as helpers and teachers in spiritual, psychological, and social life"-- Provided by publisher.
  • "An intimate and personal account of the profound role birds play in Native American life and spirituality. For many hours over a period of years, anthropologist Dennis Gaffin recorded his conversations with two Native American friends, Michael Bastine and John Volpe, about a shared passion: the birds of upstate New York and southern Ontario. In these lively, informal talks, Bastine, an Algonquin and Ojibwe healer and naturalist, and Volpe, an Ojibwe naturalist and animal rehabilitator, shared their experiences of, and beliefs about, birds, describing the profound spiritual, psychological, and social roles and meanings of birds in the lives of some Native Americans. Birds through Indigenous Eyes presents highlights of these conversations, placing them in context and showing how Native understandings of birds contrast with conventional Western views. Bastine and Volpe bring to life Algonquin, Ojibwe, and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) beliefs about birds. They reveal how specific birds and bird species are seamlessly integrated into spirituality and everyday thought and action, how birds bring important messages to individual people, how a bird species can become associated with a person, and how birds provide warnings about our endangered environment. In these conversations, birds-including the house sparrow, Eastern phoebe, Northern flicker, belted kingfisher, gray catbird, cedar waxwing, and black-capped chickadee-emerge as spiritual and practical helpers that can teach humans how to live well. An original work of ethno-ornithology that offers a rare close-up look at Native American views on birds, Birds through Indigenous Eyes opens rich new perspectives on the deep connections between birds and humans"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references.
  • 9780691250847 (hardcover)
  • 0691250847 (hardcover)
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