Investigation of Cases of Reincarnation among the Beaver and Gitksan

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A Preliminary Investigation of Cases of Reincarnation among the Beaver and Gitksan Indians

Antonia Mills

Quote:The author describes belief in and cases of reincarnation among two different groups of Indians in northern British Columbia, Canada, the Beaver and the Gitksan, and gives illustrative examples in which a child is identified as a particular person returned. The differences in belief e.g. belief in cross-sex reincarnation among the Beaver, and multiple reincarnation of one person among the Gitksan, are examples of cultural conditioning, although the author posits that belief in reincarnation is endemic in shamanic societies and concludes that while the cases do not demonstrate that reincarnation actually takes place, case oriented studies gather valuable data which needs to be assessed.

Quote:This paper summarizes the special characteristics of the twenty-three Beaver Indian cases and the thirty-five Gitksan cases in which a living individual is reputed to have been a particular person in his or her past life. Examples are given of some of the most noteworthy cases. The variation between the Beaver Indian belief in cross-sex reincarnation and the Gitksan belief in multiple simultaneous reincarnation of the same person is briefly discussed and compared to the range of related belief among the Australian aborigines. I posit that belief in reincarnation characterizes or characterized shamanic cultures in general and was maintained in many agricultural societies. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the role of such case-oriented research within the discipline of anthropology
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-08-02, 12:57 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 2 times in total.)
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That's interesting, but the link is missing.
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(2022-08-01, 07:55 PM)Ninshub Wrote: That's interesting, but the link is missing.

Ah sorry about that - ideally should be fixed now!

Curious as to your thoughts on the paper, I am less convinced that there are multiple incarnations of one individual in the Susan Albert case, though I do think one of the girls was her.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Seems the link is not working properly.
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(2022-08-02, 12:30 AM)Ninshub Wrote: Seems the link is not working properly.

Ah yeah the PDF is downloaded to my temp folder, I changed it once more - this time to go to the page before the PDF click.

Apologies!
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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I intend to give you my thoughts - as soon as I have proper time to read the paper and put them together. Definitely next weekend if not this work week! Hopefully others feel like giving theirs.
(This post was last modified: 2022-08-02, 01:31 AM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
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One thing I'll say just reading the first pages. I find it interesting that the Beaver Indians have/had beliefs about what it meant that some children remember their past lives and others (the majority) not, as a function of whether those souls attained "heaven" or were quickly dispatched to another life before that entering that "space"/dimension. I wonder if they were on to something there.
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(2022-08-01, 08:13 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Curious as to your thoughts on the paper, I am less convinced that there are multiple incarnations of one individual in the Susan Albert case, though I do think one of the girls was her.
Finally read through it.

Here are my four thoughts:

1. I'm not 100% convinced about any of the cases in this paper, in the sense that the accumulation of veridical detail is nothing like the best of the Ian Stevenson-researched cases. For some of them, reincarnation sounds possible, but not necessarily conclusive.

2. In the Susan Albert case, there's more evidence for the first girl, Rhonda, being a reincarnation of Susan. The other two go on very little evidence, so it seems even less conclusive. The second girl, Sheila, has as strongest evidence the fact again that a member of the family "dreamed" that Susan Albert was coming back as the child. That's not much in my view. Even more so in a culture (that of the Gitksan indians) where the expectations are so strong that reincarnation happens as much as it does, and in parallel persons.

3. On the other hand, I don't object in principle to the idea that souls might incarnate (or send part of their "selves") to parallel physical persons. If time is something we construct but isn't part of the fabric of ultimate reality, then that's not a problem. We also often hear about the notion (I forget where, channels, NDEs, but I've heard the notion expressed) that what incarnates is not the full Self but just a part of it, like it sends part of itself into various beings, possibly across different dimensions.

4. I forget now if the author was saying this about the Beaver or the Gitksan Indians, but one thing that struck me was how that culture saw reincarnation as a happy thing, quite the opposite of what founds most of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions! Maybe that says something about how earthly life for this culture was on the whole much more enjoyable. Smile
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