An evaluation of "Micmac Customs and Traditions"

Essay by taramankyUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.6

In his article " Micmac Customs and Traditions", Stansbury Hager ethnographically records some of the traditions and customs of the Micmac people. After a short introduction including the methods of collecting the data, as well as information about its source, Hager jumps right into a description of some Micmac traditions and customs. He begins with a description of "a system of communication [for use] while in the woods" (Hager 1895:31) followed by an extensive description of a complex board game, named "wŏltĕstômkwŏn", played by the Micmac (Hager 1895:31-35). Following this is a description of the Micmac's version of football named "tooâdijik" (what we now refer to as soccer)(Hager 1895:35-36). Hager then goes on to describe the serpent dance, named "choogichoo yajik", which is then related to similar practices and beliefs held by other native groups of North America. He points out that the similarities are likely indicative of a somewhat shared heritage among the native groups.

Hager exemplifies this point with folk-tales, one of which closely resembles another told by the Chippewa natives (Hager 1895:40). A small conclusion is included at the end of this article containing a short commentary on how, "in spite of the years of research [...,] the knowledge of these myths is rapidly disappearing" (42). In whole, this article is reminiscence of the historical particularism viewpoint.

Although it is difficult to place this article into a specific school or tradition, I believe it comes from historical particularism (typical to the school of American anthropology) because, other than the fact the article is published in "The American Anthropologist" (a possible, yet unreliable, indicator), it deems a focus on the traditions and customs of a group of people as a valid study. Another indicator that further indicates a categorization of historical particularism is the author's use of...