Ojibwe Singers: Hymns, Grief, and a Native American Culture in Motion

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In the early nineteenth century, Protestant missionaries promoted the translation of evangelical hymns into the Ojibwe language, regarding this music not only as a shared form of worship but also as a tool for rooting out native cultural identity. But for many Minnesota Ojibwe today, the hymns emerged from this history of material and cultural dispossession to become emblematic of their identity as a distinct native people.

Author Michael McNally uses hymn singing as a lens to view culture in motion--to consider the broader cultural processes through which Native American peoples have creatively drawn on the resources of ritual to make room for survival, integrity, and a cultural identity within the confines of colonialism.

Publication Date: 
February 1, 2009