The subjects of belief. Cultural dialog between Menominees and missionaries, 1830-1880
Material objects do not satisfy human needs only but also represent culturally esablished norms and values, and thus become signs of personal and collective identity. In this way they always play a decisive role in intercultural encounters also. Using this perspective the book analyzes the confrontation of Catholic missionaries and the Algonquin-speaking Menominees in the western Lake District of North America. The analysis of mutual interpretation, re-interpretation and manipulation of material symbols in this cultural dialog produces insights into the dynamics of religious and cultural change and shows the close interrelation of things and ideas in the indigenous adoption of Christianity. Kasprycki comments on the history of Catholic mission in Wisconsin (first French Jesuits, then others, like S. Mazzuchelli, Redemptorists, T.J. van den Brock, F.J. Bonduel, O. Skolla, A.-M. Gachet etc.), the "evolutionist" Christian attitude of continuous "development" towards "civilization", then questions of demography, language and communication, illness and healing, cultural aspects of alcohol use (addiction, teetotalism, smoking...), economy, material culture (garments, ornaments, bodily modification), and building and living.