A bundle and its medicines resembles a smartphone and its collection of apps.
The comparison points to revitalization of Indigenous cultures.
The bundle’s homecoming and first ceremonial opening since 1942 is being witnessed by 200 people, Blackfoot from Alberta and Montana (who call themselves Blackfeet) and a significant minority of non-natives like myself.
Some have come for physical healing. Others have come for the healing of the soul.
“These are holy bundles given to us by the Creator to hold our people together,” explains tribe member Patricia Deveraux, as she waits outside the teepee, craning her neck to see what is going on inside.
“They’re the same as the relics from the Catholic Church,” continues the pleasant, round-faced woman of 36, whose faith straddles Catholicism and Blackfoot spirituality with equal vigour. “They are a demonstration of the holy spirit. They can heal people.”
Reprinted from the Edmonton Journal 2002 by Larry Johnsrude (https://www.aaanativearts.com/2002-native-american-news/natives-celebrate-return-of-sacred-bundle-spirits-back-home.html)
The comparison also points to the indigenization of the culture-at-large.
That smartphone connects people through a sort of spirit world. Remember William Gibson’s Count Zero? The loa in cyberspace? Creolization is the old indigenization.
But they are not quite the same in a linguistic context:
The contact between languages in multilingual contexts can lead to language change and the formation of new varieties of language. The term indigenization is used to refer to the contact-induced linguistic changes that result in a new dialect, while creolization refers to the emergence of a new language. […] According to Mesthrie and Bhatt (2008 : 11), indigenization ‘refers to the acculturation of the [transplanted language] to localized phenomena, be they cultural, topographic or even linguistic (in terms of local grammatical, lexical and discourse norms).’ In other words, its use in a new environment brings about changes in the transplanted language. Unlike other kinds of linguistic change, however, these changes reflect the influence of the local languages and culture. They also reflect widespread second-language learning of the transplanted language by the local population.
Jeff Siegel. “Multilingualism, Indigenization, and Creolization” in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism: Second Edition edited by Tej K. Bhatia and William C. Ritchie.
“Linguistic indigenization occurs when a language is transplanted in a new location and learned and used by the local population.” By analogy thinking of spiritual items such as medicine bundles in terms of digital technologies such as smartphones would be a form of acculturation covered by the notion of indigenization. Both have an element of ritual and appropriate use attached to them. Spirituality meets materiality. Holding people together.
And so for day 2042