I've read that in the sun-dance, a religious ceremony carried by the Lakotan Indians, the hands and feet are painted red; and the shoulders are painted blue. The latter is to signify the spirit of the sky.

Q. What does the symbolism of red signify here?

One such ceremony was carried out by Chief Sitting Bull before the Battle of Little Big-Horn where afterwards he was given a famous vision.

The author also noted that this particular sun-dance was performed in order for Sitting Bull to take on the troubles of his tribe on to himself. This has interesting parallels to Catholic theology where Christ is said to have taken on the sins of the world on himself.

Q. Has there been any serious work investigating this parallel in Lakotan philosophy/theology?.

Notably, there was a series of Vatican edicts arising from the modern European discovery of the Americas on judging the humanity of the Native Americans.

Q. Has there been a serious work that looks at the Vatican edicts in the light of the above parallel?

I think the latter question is important in light of the recent opening of the Vatican archives on Pope Pius (who was pope during the second world war) to historians...

  • @joseph weissman: It's only cultural anthropology when it doesn't intersect with philosophical concerns; anthropology is known to have an ontological turn; wakan tanka is an ontological term in Lakotan philosophy; besides, anthropology, in its widest and deepest sense is socratic philosophy writ large - instead of 'a man knowing himself*, it is Man knowing himself...from person-thinking to species-thinking (or here, tribal!). Dec 9 '19 at 13:50
  • @joseph weissmann: The above of course is one reason why Deleuze was interested in anthropological studies; which is why I find it surprising that you, as a self-confessed Deleuzian, narrowly define anthropology, missing out what is most philosophically interesting in it; but perhaps its not so strange given the accusation that Gayatri levelled at Deleuze; given that, perhaps we can see Deleuze's ventriqulisation of anthropology as a kind of philosophical black-face... Dec 9 '19 at 16:48
  • Here is a recent December 5 Harper’s article for your research stack. harpers.org/blog/2019/12/… I don’t have an answer to your questions but they are interesting.
    – Gordon
    Dec 10 '19 at 5:36
  • Apparently some Indians got the idea put in their heads to write to a Pope: One of the most unusual documents is a letter written on birch bark in 1887 by the Ojibwe Indians of Ontario, Canada, to Pope Leo XIII. The letter, written in May but datelined where there is much grass, in the month of the flowers, addresses the pontiff as the Great Master of Prayer and offers thanks to the Vatican for having sent a custodian of prayer (a bishop) to preach to them. theunexplainedmysteries.com/2017/07/24/vatican-secrets
    – Gordon
    Dec 10 '19 at 8:01
  • If memory serves Voltaire had some fun with the Catholics (Jesuits) and Indians in South America in “Candide”. I will be on the lookout for other Vatican stuff, edicts..,
    – Gordon
    Dec 10 '19 at 8:04

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