Beginning in the 1880s, the Northern Arapaho appropriated Christianity while maintaining core religious forms and tribal solidarity. Through retranslation of the Arapaho Our Father, it is possible to understand how Arapaho Catholics “converted” this text and other forms to their own theory of ritual practice. Rather than converting to doctrine or the Word,missions were subsumed within a larger strategy of compartmentalizing new religious forms within distinct boundaries and activating them within a hidden subtext of Arapaho ritual movement. Through a unique religious pluralism,which maintained both difference and congruity among traditions, Arapaho Catholics were empowered to control the boundaries between cultures and the flow of knowledge across them. Retranslation of the Our Father, or Lord's Prayer, through attention to multiple functions, meanings, and uses, offers paths for understanding indigenized texts in their local and specific cultural and historical contexts. This article thus follows an ever-developing effort in ethnohistory to understand the ways that indigenous peoples actively translated Euro-American texts and interpreted Euro-American culture. Through this pursuit, ethnohistory can move toward greater balance and symmetry as text translation is opened to multiple and continually evolving levels,perspectives, and meanings.
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Research Article| October 01 2001
Northern Arapaho Conversion of a Christian Text
Ethnohistory (2001) 48 (4): 689–712.
Jeffrey D. Anderson; Northern Arapaho Conversion of a Christian Text. Ethnohistory 1 October 2001; 48 (4): 689–712. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-48-4-689
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