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Revitalization Movements

the act of Indigenous people's defiance and resilience

By ChantelPublished 4 years ago 4 min read
Revitalization Movements
Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Indigenous people always seem to continuously defy odds, refuse to assimilate, and be forced into the hegemonic powers. This is amazing considering how often than not colonization has made conscious efforts of ethnocide and genocide. The act of this defiance and resilience is known as the structure of Revitalization Movements.

By Studio Ócular on Unsplash

Each Indigenous culture created a new revitalization movement to challenge Western norms of Individualism, capitalism, and non-indigenous practices. The Revitalization movement is “A deliberate, organized concerted effort by members of a society to construct a more satisfying culture.” The art behind this is adaptation. The structure of this was shown with steps.

By Max Sulik on Unsplash

The first is a period of individual stress where foreign ideas, things, and people can force a change in the culture. The second is a period of cultural distortion which could involve a number of ways that act as moral violations and can cause stress and anxiety. The third is a period of revitalization where the culture has the option to die off or survive this threat.

The Indigenous people had to reform and begin to create new forms of religion based on their ancient spirituality. We learned that an example of this can be seen with “the Handsome Lake religion among the Seneca, the Delaware prophet Pontiac, the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, and the mass movements of the Ghost Dance, the Peyote Church, the Pacific Northwest Shakers, the Alaska Native Brotherhood, among many others.”(Revitalization Movements.doc)

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An example of this is peyotism. It was seen as a gift from god to help them navigate this world. Although many years have passed, many Indigenous cultures still keep this tradition and ritual alive. This is how the Indigenous people have continuously managed to keep their cultures alive within their community after so many years of persecution from various countries like Spain and the USA.

They are remembering their ancestors' sufferings and understand that it was not committed in vain. The USA always protects their own. They do not care about what happened to the people they exploit. This does not only apply to the Indigenous people, but the black people as well. The Indigenous people were landless and sick because the USA did not care for them at all.

I understand that the Indigenous felt like they had to try to make agreements with the white men, but it devastates me to know it was because they simply did not have the numbers, immune system, and advanced technology to beat them.

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They just wanted to live peacefully within their communities and to be able to practice their rituals in peace. But the white men had other plans, where they would take away their rights. They did not have any interpreter and they had no idea what was taking place. The army had shot the unarmed ancestors! How can they do this?

They treated them as pests to society when in reality it was the white men who were disturbing the Indigenous people in the first place. America will never be truly satisfied. They will never have everything that they need to stay happy and will continue taking from others for as long as they can because they have no heart for the poor and always seem to accommodate the wealthy.

The Lakota Generation only want to bring back the traditions for the young people to learn. Which life brings happiness- a life of wealth but without community? Or a life in a community filled with love and support like the Indigenous people but not filled with money?

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The Indigenous people have a more fulfilling life in the long run because at the end of the day they seem to really appreciate life in all of its natural forms. A rich person in America often can no longer appreciate the small things like time with family. America needs more communities like how the Lakota people care for each other. It is traditions like the Lakota Sundance, that continues the passion and life within the community for generations. It connects generations together despite not having lived in the same lifetime and that is the most beautiful part.

The Lakota tribe believes that a man making a decision by himself is not good. They used an example of how a man and a horse must be in sync together. The thoughts of the man and the thoughts of the horse must join to fulfill good thoughts of people. It is only when that happens that the man is respectful and can treat his people with respect and clearly think for them. This goes to emphasize that being selfish and only thinking for yourself and your immediate family can hurt us long term and forget the respect of humanity.

By Kenny Webster on Unsplash

We learn to adapt and take parts of the original culture and change it up a bit to fit the new modern version of us and this is okay because culture is ever changing along with the identification of religion.

Ultimately it is the community that forms the religion and culture and it will be the community that has the power to change it how they feel fitted.

By Perry Grone on Unsplash


About the Creator


I range from social justice issues to sexuality articles, all depends on my mood.

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