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North American Indian Soulology

Of all our blog-segments for this series the present one is perhaps the most intriguing. For such a primitive culture the North American Indians notion of soul is far from simplicity—indeed, it is rooted in various soul-extensions or soul-pluralisms. Essentially, each tribe has its own soul-system. Different tribes have different notions of soul–hence, no uniformity amidst the tribes. Yet, one renowned scholar in the field, E.B. Tylor, developed and vividly pointed to the understanding of the general perception of this phenomenon by American Indians: “soul is a fine, immaterial human image, something like steam, air or shadow by its nature. It is the cause of life and thought in the creature it animates”. While multilayered, there are two dominant strains in this analysis: soul is formed from a root-verb, sken. read more

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