Penobscot Dance of Resistance
Tradition in the History of a People. By Pauleena MacDougall. 264 pgs. Softcover.
Historians predicted the demise of the Penobscot Indians early in the nineteenth century, but the tribe is thriving at the opening of the twenty-first century. Although by the early 1800s the Penobscots had been rendered all but invisible to the dominant culture, by selectively adapting to changing circumstances, they have won back land and visibility.
The vital importance of employing elements of cultural resistance as a survival mechanism has, until now, been underestimated. A decade of political activism culminated in the precedent-setting 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims settlement. Today the Penobscots run small industries, manage their natural resources, and provide health services, K-through-8 education, and social services to the poor and elderly of their community.
MacDougall demonstrates that Penobscot legend, linguistics, dance, and oral tradition became -foundations of resistance- against assimilation into the dominant culture. She thoughtfully and accessibly reconstructs from published, archival, and oral sources the tribes metaphorical and triumphant Dance of Resistance — founded on spiritual power, reverence for homeland, and commitment to self-determination — from colonial times to the present. In a larger context, Dance of Resistances examination of the history of one Indian nation illustrates the complex interaction of cultural systems in America.
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