"Considerations for Missions in the Non-Western World, in honor of St Innokentii (Veniaminov) at the Bicentennial of his Birth."

Considerations for Missions in the Non-Western World,

in honor of St Innokentii (Veniaminov)

at the Bicentennial of his Birth.


by S.A. Mousalimas


            Who was Innokentii Veniaminov, and why is his birth being commemorated? Born in the Irkutsk gubernia in 1797, he completed the theological school in the city of Irkutsk, and became the first parish priest on the eastern Aleutian Islands (1824-1834). He served also in the Novo Arkhangel'sk parish (Sitka, 1834-1838), during which time he visited the San Francisco Bay Area (September 1836). Ordained to the episcopacy in St Petersburg (1840) to serve the newly created diocese of Kamchatka, the Kurile Islands and the Aleutian Islands; he served in these locations (1841-1850), ministering especially in Kamchatka during this period. He also opened missions on the Alaska mainland during this period. Elevated to archbishop (1840), now with his see located at Aian, in northeast Asia, he travelled from the Amur region to the south into the Chukchi Peninsula to the north, as well as through the Yakutian regions of his immense archdiocese to the west. In 1858, the archdiocese was divided into two vicarates: one of Yakutsk, the other of Novo Arkhangel'sk; with the archbishop's see now at Blagoveshchensk on the Amur. He continued his indefatigable pastoral journeys. He was elevated to the Metropolitan of Moscow (1867), in his old age; and remained in this status until his repose (+1879). He was canonized a saint in the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1979.

            A man of extraordinary abilities, and a child of these regions himself, he influenced the many peoples here, and their histories: in Yakutia, the Sakha (Yakuts), the Evenks, the Evens, Yukaghirs, Russian old-settlers, and others; in Alaska, the Aleuts and the Tlingits directly, as well as the Yupiit, the Athapascans and the Alutiiqs indirectly; in Kamchatka, the Itel'mens especially and also the Koriaks; in the Amur region and the Okhotsk seaboard, the various Tungus groups especially; in the northeast Asian extremity, the Chukchi. With an affirmative vision about the peoples and cultures in these regions, and with cooperative interactions with many individuals and groups, he assisted, indeed he provided leadership, for a constructive transition during times of international contact and social change. He is still remembered in many of these locations, in civic and folk memories. Indeed, the very initiative for the Bicentennial, as well as an outpouring of support, have originated from among these people themselves in these locations.

            The proposal to commemorate the bicentennial of this birth derived from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), specifically from Docent Egor Spiridonovich Shishigin. Events began in 1996, and will continue throughout 1997, involving institutions such as the following, for example: (a) in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), the republic's governmental offices and officials by governmental decree, the state university, all relevant civic institutions, and the bishop of Yakutsk; (b) throughout Russia, UNESCO; (c) in the Russian Far East and in Moscow, the Russian Academy of Sciences; (d) in Alaska, the state museums, the state university at Fairbanks, the Aleut Foundation, and the state's executive office, the latter by executive proclamation designating 1997 as "the Veniaminov Bicentennial Year" in Alaska; (e) in California, the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute of the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, convened in the University of California at Berkeley; (f) in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress; and (g) here in Great Britain, Oxford University and Edinburgh University.

            This series of lectures, while delivered in honor of the bicentennial of his birth, will not be about Veniaminov himself, however. Other symposia will concentrate on this aspect.[1] These lectures will present some considerations for missions in the non-Western world today, as I shall attempt to describe an approach to two concepts which are current in missiological theory within parts of Europe and the European cultural satellites.


Time & Place:

Historical Contexts of Christianity for "Contextualization" Today.


"Contextualization" is a contemporary concern in some areas of Christian missions as indigenous non-Western converts are intent to maintain much of what they perceive as good and valuable in their ancestral traditions -- or rather, sometimes the inverse, as Western missionaries, now, are allowing and even encouraging non-Western converts along such lines.

            The meaning of the term "contextualization" is implicit in its etymology. The verb "to contextualize" implies the bringing of parts together into a unity; and the verb signifies an overall design which derives when the parts are viewed as a whole, as for example when threads are woven together to create a pattern. Indeed, the related word "contexture" signifies "the act of weaving together". It also means "structure"; and it furthermore means a "mode of literary composition" (see: The Concise Oxford Dictionary). The latter link, or thread if I may be allowed the allusion, may serve to convey us further into the complexity of the specialized term which is of concern to us here. A "context" in literary theory is comprised of the parts which precede and follow a passage in prose or poetry, and which fix the meaning of this passage. Hence by analogy in modern mission theory, the context may be understood as the parts which precede and follow the passage of Christianity into a society, and which thus fix its meaning. "Contextualization" is, then, a process by which Christianity comes to be "fixed", understood and manifested, by a people in time and place.

            Among the traditions which comprise a context for Christianity in much of the non-Western world are traditions such as, for example: the veneration of ancestors; the apprehension of the sacred through culturally-conservative forms of art; and, ultimately, some perceptions about the environment. A tolerance of, or the encouragement for, the preservation of such traditions is the basis for the processes of "contextualization" in mission theory with regard to Asia and Africa, etc., today.

            While the term "contextualization" is new, its implicit dynamics are not so new. What is iconography, for example, if not part of a "contextualization" of Christianity which took place in the biblical regions during the first centuries A.D.? Iconography indeed served to convey Orthodox theology to such an extent that the icons were defended vigorously in the seventh and eighth centuries as a vital and necessary expression of this theology. The icons provide us with just one example. We should find more examples with regard to other sacred arts (e.g., music), also with regard to ancestor memorials (mnemosyna), and furthermore with regard to some vital perceptions of the environment.

            During discussions about mission theory today however, one may hear the presupposition that the earlier "contextualization" of the Christian faith and its practices was superseded as Christianity was displaced from its original centers. In other words, the presupposition, which can often be heard, is that Christianity moved away, in time and place, from its original centers. It may often appear, therefore in parts of Europe and in the European cultural satellites, that the historical context of Christianity has no relevance now except as a curious anachronism -- not even for the "contextualization" of this religion in Asia and Africa today.

            Let us question the presupposition. Let us ask: Has Christianity been so displaced from its original centers? Are they so irrelevant for "contextualization" today?


"Social Space", Inside / Outside Europe[2]

            Approaching the question, we should consider the presupposition itself: that Christianity moved away, in time and place, from its original centers. The presupposition is, in other words, that the Christian religion is "exo-centric". Significantly, we shall find this term "exo-centric" used to describe Christianity in the preliminary announcement for a section titled "Christianities Outside Europe", convened within the last (the 4th) Decennial Conference of the Association of Anthropologists of the Commonwealth, as follows:

The changing world-situation of Christianity is crucial in another way. Todorov (in La Decouverte de l'Amerique) has remarked of Christianity that, unlike Islam (but like Buddhism), it is an exocentric religion: it has been historically displaced from its centers and its sacred places. The long-time virtual identification of Western Europe with "Christendom" had major cultural consequences. A further displacement may be in the offing. The 19th century missionary outreach of European Christianity was the concomitant of a process of secularization at home. It is reckoned that whereas in 1900 some 75% of Catholics lived in Europe or North America, in 2000 75% will be found in South America, Africa or Asia.


Thus, the newer centers of the Christian faith are described as having surpassed the original centers, in time and place; as Christianity is believed to have moved early away from its original centers to become centered in "Europe" instead. Europe (it is said) then became identified as "Christendom" through the greatest breadth of history A.D. We should say, more specifically, that western Europe became identified as such. This "exo-centric" movement is then projected from (western) Europe into the Western satellites.

            There is something to commend in this quotation, for a number of reasons. An emphasis is placed on the probable reality that the majority of people who identify themselves as Christians today are found outside western Europe: Asians, Africans, Latin Americans, etc.; while significant portions of the populations of western Europe, and (we may add) of Euro-America, are increasingly identifying themselves as no longer Christian. "Post-Christian" is often the operative term. The view of Christianity as "exo-centric" can itself be commendable to a point, as its better proponents emphasize the possibility for Christianity to be assumed into Asian, African and other cultural contexts outside the European.

            Having indicated that the view is not without some merit, I should suggest that it is not without an identifiable deficiency either. I should like to indicate how the deficiency may be analyzed -- while I retain my aim in this lecture: which is to ask whether the historical contexts of Christianity have relevance for Christian mission today. I shall suggest that the presupposition about Christianity as "exo-centric" functions as a conceptual parameter which would bound this religion mainly inside Europe in time and place. It bounds, and defines, a social space known as "Christian Europe" or "Christendom"; and hence contributes to bound, and to define, a world order.

            Permit me to explain this vocabulary.[3] Conceptual parameters encompass and define a social space, which is a mental construct shared in common by the members of a society, associating a bounded location with a specific group. Social spaces and their parameters are conveyed within a society through auto-suggestion. This is auto-suggested because it occurs independently from any deliberation by most of the members of the society, as received knowledge is conveyed from member to member, and from generation to generation, through (for instance) formal teachings, informal sayings, even sometimes through the very structure of the spoken language.

            A social space, its conceptual parameters and their auto-suggestion do not necessarily correspond with the actual demography and geography. They can be superimposed from a society's common presuppositions over the actual landscape and over the actual populations, as we may see in the following example. We are commonly taught that "Europe" is demarcated from "Asia", by the Ural Mountains; and this mountain range may assume such importance conceptually that these mountains can loom in the common imagination to reach a disproportionate height. I say that the imagined height is disproportionate, because the Urals at their highest peaks are actually no more than about the size of the Appalachian Mountains. From this modest height, the Urals descend southward to become rolling hills which eventually disappear into the flat expanse of the vast steppes. The Urals barely rise high enough to separate the people living on either side. On the contrary, the groups of people living on both sides of this low range are interactive historically and even pre-historically, and some are inter-related culturally. Therefore, we should be able readily to recognize the Urals as a conceptual parameter, which bounds and defines "Europe" as social space in distinction from a counter-concept known as "Asia". If people who live nearer to the Urals on the western side of this conceptual divide, ever come to appear too different, too other, too "Asian"; then this type of parameter may shift to become, for instance, a rift which is sometimes imputed deeply, by simile, into the very soil of the Balkans, when the rift is likened to a fault-line separating a "European West" from a "Byzantine East" -- the latter now cast to the far side.

            Conceptual parameters which bound and define a social space can be moral as well physical and historical. When a society commonly conceive of themselves as frank and enlightened, these moral qualities become further parameters in the common imagination in contradistinction against the others on the far side who are categorically assigned the inverse characteristics, as duplicitous and superstitious.

            I should emphasize that a social space, its parameters, and the modes of their auto-suggestion, all combine to constitute a world order. A world order is a manner in which the world is seen by a society, and a manner by which that society is motivated to act in the world.[4]

            Having finished these definitions, I ought to reiterate my opening statement so that it may be read anew in light of the clarified vocabulary: The presupposition about Christianity as "exo-centric" functions as a conceptual parameter which would bound this religion mainly inside Europe in time and place ... and hence contributes to bound, and to define, a world order.[5]


An "Exo-centric" Religion?

            Still proceeding towards our goal -- which is to ask whether the historical contexts of Christianity have relevance for Christian mission today -- let us consider next whether the parameter in question is valid. Has Christianity been "displaced from its earlier centers and sacred places"? If so, then where and when?

            Rising above the bounds of the conceptual parameter which has been identified, we shall see that, wherever a wholesale displacement has taken place from the earliest centers of Christianity, this has occurred almost entirely during this century, our own twentieth century -- not before. We are the witnesses to the occurrence, an occurrence which would, however, in the common imagination, be cast into obscure history as if this had happened a long time ago, in time.

            An example which is probably allowed more so than any into the western European social space is the Palestinian; but even this example is obscured, as the Palestinians have too often been categorized by politicians and political analysts, as well as news reporters, as Moslem categorically. I recall a story which recapitulates the problem. On an occasion when a group of indigenous Orthodox Christians of the Holy Lands brought their on-going plight to the attention of a visiting US diplomat, they were told that if they were Christians, then they should not be there. Regardless of the demographic and historical reality, the social space had been defined within a world order in the mind of the US diplomat. Many Palestinian Christians, thus ignored, and caught betwixt, have taken an expedient solution by emigrating away from their homelands. This is occurring now -- not at some time in the past.

            Another example is that of northern Cyprus where even the physical evidence of indigenous Greek Orthodox Christianity is being obliterated now, due to the invasion and occupation of the last twenty-two years by Turkey. Here is a more thorough example: Another one of the eldest Christian Churches, the Armenian, disappeared from her homelands in Anatolia at the outset of the First World War, due to the genocide which is not allowed to be fully acknowledged inside the Western social space; hence, Armenian Christianity is obliterated, not only entirely from Anatolia ,but also largely from Western common thought. The Aramaic Syrians have been meeting their final demise, somewhat less abruptly, through the span of this century also, so that they are nearly entirely displaced from southeast Anatolia now, except primarily for their main monastery at Mardin.

            Concurrently, Greek Orthodox Christianity has been diminishing from Constantinople, particularly since the anti-Christian riots in Istanbul in the 1950s. Institutions (such as the "patriarchal orphanage" and the patriarchal theological school) have been closed by state pressure. Earlier this same century, Greek Christianity disappeared from throughout Asia Minor. The seven churches of the Apocalypse  -- Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyateira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Revelations 1-2) -- ceased to exist abruptly, not long ago in history, but in the 1920s -- never before.

            Today, tourists from western Europe visit these ancient  sites where not a Christian inhabitant is to be seen, and such tourists thus "see" what they would have learned through auto-suggestion: that Christianity had long ago been displaced from its ancient centers. These displacements, be they thorough or partial, have occurred during this twentieth century, or are occurring now, however -- not before; and we should recognize that a particular world order is itself causing those displacements which are presupposed to have occurred long ago, in time and place. In other words, a world order is causing a reality that corresponds to the imagined social space.

            I should ultimately ask about the tacit complicity by Western Christian intellectuals who are providing yet a further conceptual parameter for this social space, and thus for this world order, by suggesting that Christianity is an "exo-centric" religion. If it appears that I am being harsh in the question (because, as someone might say, these intellectuals do live within this social space, are themselves subject to its auto-suggestion, and therefore are not sufficiently aware of the reality), then I should refer to an example of another ancient church. The Ethiopian Christian civilization is much older than most of European Christianity. It developed in continuity from the earliest centuries A.D., without Western involvement until the Italian occupation around World War Two. Could there be a more vivid example of the continued existence of non-Western Christianity in ancient centers? Acknowledgments may sometimes be voiced about its existence;[6] but how often is Ethiopia ever brought into discourse about Christianity, let alone into the missiological discourse as viable prototype for "contextualization"? On the contrary, it is referred to, if at all, as a curiosity and an anachronism, cast also to the far side of the Western consciousness, outside "Christendom".[7]

            Christianity is not "exo-centric". Although displaced from a few of its ancient centers recently -- during the course of this, our own, twentieth century, and never before -- Orthodox Christianity still exists with vitality in many of its ancient centers and sacred places. The conceptual parameter defining Christianity as "exo-centric", is inaccurate. The social space which this parameter bounds, does not correspond with the historical and demographic reality.


Application to Newer Regions

            Permit me, now, to indicate how this social space is applied conceptually to distort interpretations of religion in a comparatively newer region of the Christian faith. From the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, peoples were baptized into Orthodox Christianity as virtual nations throughout the Arctic, and in some cases, such as the Karelian, even earlier. Yet, a number of anthropologists have been designating the religion proper to native peoples of northern Russia and Alaska to be "shamanism". A significant published instance can be found in the Smithsonian Institution's Handbook of North American Indians.[8] It describes "shamanism" as the religion of the Aleuts. The description is based primarily on an ethnography which referred, retrospectively, to proto-historical phenomena from the late eighteenth century and the first years of the nineteenth century. This ethnography had been published in Russian (1840).[9] The author was Fr. Ioann Veniaminov, who later became Bishop Innokentii. In this very same work, he described the contemporary Aleuts of the 1820s and 1830s as "exemplary Christians";[10] and from his time onward into the 1970s, evidence for their Christianity is copious and consistent, decade after decade.[11] Today, the Aleuts identify themselves as Orthodox.[12] Why should the Smithsonian Institute Handbook have presented them as anything other than Christian? The motive, ostensibly, as I understand it in general, is to peal away the extraneous layer of "the European religion", to reveal an indigenous religious configuration which is more proper to "the natives". If Christianity is presumed categorically to be bounded within the European social space, thus as "the European religion" historically, or through most of history A.D., then a religion proper to an indigenous non-Western people, such as those in the Arctic, must be assumed to be something other. The presumption is operative. The conceptual parameter is in place.

            A different approach should allow one to come to a view of Christianity as a native, non-Western institution, already long "contextualized" outside Europe. This approach may become available once one is freed from such limiting parameters as that identified above; and recognizes that mainstream Christianity has been "contextualized" in Asia and Africa throughout the full duration of history A.D.: never displaced from its "original centers and sacred places" (except in a few locations, and there only recently); lived within these contexts with vitality yet today; developing northwards, eastwards and southwards historically from these centers, without essential reference to concurrent developments in western Europe.

            This is the key point: Mainstream Christianity has continued to be "contextualized" in Asia, and also in Africa, and even in America, with reference to its "original centers and sacred places" -- centers and places where folk dance, folk healing, folk lore, food, often even dress, and other traditional arts, as well as phenomena such as the veneration of ancestors and some vital perceptions of the environment, have long been imbued with Christian meanings and transformed. Would this approach not (I ask) allow a more proper way, and a more accurate way, forward towards the further "contextualization" of Christianity in Asia and Africa, etc., today?

            In the next lecture, we shall see how patristic theology from these ancient centers can be applied with regard to some indigenous perceptions about nature and space.



Nature & Space:

Patristic Theology vis-a-vis Native Cosmologies towards "Indigenization" Today.[13]


Some dynamics which have, we may say, universal significance are encapsulated and magnified at the cap of the world, as the peoples of the Arctic have been propelled abruptly from their pre-modern societies into types of modern societies during the course of this twentieth century, suffering a radical severance from their ancestral basis mostly since the Second World War. They have experienced this social change not in third world, or two-thirds world, post-colonial states (except perhaps Greenland), but in nations at the very forefront of economic and/or political development today: Russia, USA, Canada and Scandinavia. As these people are increasingly adjusting their own economies, politics and community-structures within these forefront contexts, memories of traditional ways of life are still often vividly conveyed nonetheless. Inherited identities still serve to a considerable extent as prototypes as people grapple with contemporary challenges towards contemporary solutions.


The Traditional and the Contemporary

            A synthesis of the traditional with the contemporary is (in my experience) often indicated as the way forward in the Arctic. Comparable ideals could be found more universally today, of course; and not least of all in the  European Union where nations are concerned with maintaining their own inherited identities and worldviews while availing themselves of the benefits which they may perceive as possible through degrees of integration and homogenization. Comparisons are possible. Yet in the Arctic, dynamics such as these are encapsulated and magnified, as the gap to be bridged is far wider,  the sets of elements to be synthesized are more disparate.  Here is the conclusion reached for "the Northern Peoples of Russia" by Semeon Nikolaevich Gorokhov of the Sakha State University, Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), in the Russian Federation:[14]

A consolidation of the ancestral with the modern along all these lines -- the educational, spiritual, economic, political -- can be the key to human creativity and ecological productivity in our northern lands. ... Wholesome identities, personal and corporate, depend upon self-actualization of this sort, and equally upon ancestral continuity. Regarding the latter, we are not promoting a rote imitation of the past, filled as it was with the endless deprivations and hourly torments that our ancestors suffered in this climate from time immemorial. Modernity is to be integrated, and this is precisely the challenge: to integrate economic and technological developments into the ancestral traditions and values of the ancient peoples of the north. This consolidation is the key, to be found on the solid basis of the very deep layers of our ancestral existence in these northern lands.


Similar conclusions can be found throughout the Arctic. Here is a further example, now regarding the Saami of Finnish Lapland by Tim Ingold of Manchester University, England:[15]

For a people whose history is so palpably present to them, there can be no sense of longing for a lost past, no such feeling as nostalgia. It would be wrong, therefore, to characterise the yearning that the elder generation of Skolt Saami frequently express for their pre-war homeland in these terms. It is not a nostalgic dream of a return to the past, but rather a desire to return to an environment that would give shape and meaning to present lives.


The last sentence in this quotation merits special attention. A viable synthesis of the traditional with the contemporary is generally the ideal in the Arctic.

            A question follows. It is a question about religion in the Arctic past and present, and more specifically about the affects of religious change on Arctic identities. What is the religious change? Throughout the Arctic, the indigenous peoples have converted to Christianity. A statement about Alaska provided by Lydia T. Black of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, can be read as generally representative outside Russia: "Today they are all professed Christians (a small number of agnostics, largely among the younger, upwardly mobile, college-educated segment excepted)."[16] Inside Russia, Christian identities are being revitalized currently. Whether agreeing or disagreeing with the value of the conversions to Christianity, one must admit that they did in fact occur.

            What is the affect of this religious change on the traditional indigenous identities of the Arctic? Christianity is often described in categorical contradistinction to it. I shall introduce the problem with reference to a controversy about indigenous hunting activities in the Arctic today, because the controversy can serve as a device: a springboard with particular tension that may take us quickly into the theme. Indigenous non-Western peoples of the Arctic are arguing to international commissions for privileges that will allow them to continue to hunt sea mammals. The argument is based on an appeal to their ancestral traditions. The opposition, however, attempts to discredit this appeal by claiming that the social changes which these people have assimilated have severed them from the ancestral ways, and therefore the ancestral traditions cannot serve as a basis for any such privileges today. The opposition's stance is well summarized by George Wenzel, a Canadian anthropologist, in the following quotation from his book which describes the debate:[17]

No aspect of the northern seal debate provokes as much controversy as the ideological aspect of Inuit harvesting. Of particularly lively interest is whether any spiritual connection remains between Inuit and the seals they harvest. This question has been elevated recently to a level of special importance by environmental and animal rights advocates ... Opponents of an Inuit seal hunting system that includes the sale of seal skins have argued that southern economic demands have dissolved all vestiges of the "traditional" spiritual bond between hunter and animal. To [such] critics ..., the use of modern equipment to hunt seals and the selling of their skins for any reason are incompatible with presumed tenets of Inuit spirituality. To assert any deeper meaning to present-day seal hunting is to invoke what [one critic] describes as "neo-traditional" mysticism.


We should be able readily to predict from this quotation that, inasmuch as Christianity is also considered to be a "southern" attribute, adopted along with the equipment and commercial enterprise, the conversions would similarly be described as having dissolved "the traditional spiritual bond" of  humans with animals. In fact, conversion to Christianity is included explicitly and categorically along this line in some of the literature which Wenzel accurately cites. But ought it to be, so categorically?

            Let us approach this question, firstly, by attempting to understand some of the dynamics within this "traditional spiritual bond" of humans with animals in the Arctic; and then by considering a patristic theological view vis-a-via this cosmology.

            Before commencing, I should state that I shall proceed with reference to literature about Arctic cosmologies. I do not presume to have fathomed the depths of these dynamics otherwise myself. The contribution which I hope may be found herein, will be this reflection on the content of the literature.


Eco-centric Indentity in the Indigenous Arctic

            A "fundamental trait" has been observed credibly among the Inuit by Wenzel, citing field-research from across the North American high Arctic and from Greenland to support this observation. The "trait" centers on a belief about "a reciprocity" existing between "the human community and the natural community".[18] For an analysis of it, he refers to work by Ann Fienup-Riordan,[19] an Alaskan anthropologist, who writes primarily from experience among the Yup'ik Eskimos of southwestern Alaska. In a further work, she has described this "reciprocity" as "the treatment of animals as non-human persons meriting respect and acting intentionally towards their human hosts".[20] In a yet more recent work, she has reaffirmed the description, identifying it as "the essential relationship", and suggesting that it may provide a "master code" in the Arctic.[21] I shall repeat for emphasis and clarity: This "treatment of animals as non-human persons meriting respect and acting intentionally towards their human hosts" comprises the"essential relationship" in the Arctic and is the "traditional spiritual bond".

            Insights into these dynamics have been gained primarily from the indigenous hunters and fishermen of the Arctic. Insights are not as available for the indigenous herders, although they are located across northern Eurasia (but not in North America and Greenland). Yet the herders are also dependent themselves on hunting for subsistence. Herders must hunt to gather materials and to complement their diets in the Arctic. In regions of the Russian Arctic moreover, some societies of indigenous herders are interspersed among societies of indigenous hunters with whom they are interactive; for instance, the Sakha (Yakut) people. Therefore, we may anticipate that a fundamental characteristic typifying the identities of indigenous hunters -- this "treatment of animals as non-human persons meriting respect and acting intentionally towards their human hosts", in the words of Fienup-Riordan (as cited)-- would typify the identities of indigenous herders in the Arctic more or less as well.

            While the descriptions of these dynamics, gained from in-depth field research, are recent, the "relationship" itself has long been recognized as widely distributed in the lands around the North Pole as we may see in Sir James Frazer's work The Golden Bough. Written at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth centuries (first published in 1922), from material previous to and contemporary with himself, Frazer's descriptions correspond to the material in these anthropological studies today, and should well indicate that these dynamics are neither the product of imagination by these anthropologists today, nor the result of a "neo-traditional mysticism"[22] among the indigenous peoples of these regions. Frazer describes the following peoples of the Arctic (the nomenclature is his own): Lapps, Ostiaks, Gilyaks, Kamtchatkans, Koryak, Esquimaux, Tlingit and other Indians of the Pacific Coast of North America. He describes the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians as fishermen in relation to the fish.[23] He even emphasizes this dynamic for the commercial sable hunters of Siberia.[24] The chapter of The Golden Bough in which these descriptions are found is titled "Propitiation of Wild Animals by Hunters". This chapter is dedicated to this theme, but it is not devoted to the Arctic -- yet his descriptions derive mainly from across the Arctic, with a few instances interspersed from elsewhere in the Americas, and almost none from other parts of the world.

             Dynamics existing very far from the Arctic might appear to be quite similar. Social identity among the Nuer people in relation to their cattle provides an example from east African herders. The Nuer "cattle and men," as described by E.E. Evans-Pritchard, "sustain life by their reciprocal services to one another. In this intimate symbiotic relationship men and beasts form a single community of the closest kind."[25] Nuer identity in east Africa, thus also, involves a type of reciprocity with animals. Even in western Europe, attitudes towards animals as having attributes of personhood, acting intentionally towards their hosts, and involved in a reciprocity with them, are not so very unusual, are they? -- particularly with regard to herds and flocks in traditional rural environments, and moreover with regard to pets in modern households. Herds, flocks and household pets are tamed animals however; they live more-or-less within human society. Would the attributes of personhood, intentionality and reciprocity be extended normally to wild animals in these worldviews? They probably would not. In contrast, the animals with which this relationship occurs traditionally in the indigenous Arctic are wild. Therefore, this relationship reflects a cosmic categorization, and hence, perhaps, the "master code" for the Arctic.

            We may further distinguish this "fundamental trait", and "essential relationship", in the indigenous Arctic by contrasts drawn from a polarity between two extremes in the West today: a type of "anthropocentricism", on the one hand; and a type of "anthropomorphism", on the other hand. Tim Ingold, a British anthropologist, describes a "Cartesian anthropocentricism" in the West, which reserves any type of personhood for humans alone and renders animals as automata.[26] While this cosmology extends more widely than Descartes and the subsequent Cartesian systems, the succinct reference to this philosopher does serve expediently for a summary reference. As the Catesian-like "anthropocentricism'" collapses in some segments of Western societies, this is resulting in "an equally objectionable anthropomorphism" (furthermore according to Ingold) which "simply transplants into animal minds the thoughts and feelings we recognize in ourselves".[27] Animals are sometimes being imbued with a personhood now that is considered to be equivalent to humanity, and at times even superior to humanity.

            I suggest that this extreme could be referred to as neo-Western; and I shall introduce it briefly because it may yield a stark contrast against which the distinctiveness of the indigenous Arctic dynamics may become clearer. Instead of a continuum or equivalence which the neo-Western anthropomorphism is imputing between animals and humans, something different occurs in general within the indigenous Arctic where the species of animals are evidently seen as if they comprised communities reflecting an inversion of the communities of the human persons.[28] Thus as an inversion, the non-human "personhood" of animals would remain distinct from human personhood. Ontological boundaries would, more or less, remain clear.

            The ontological boundaries are implied in the vocabulary which has been provided from the analysis from the Arctic by Fienup-Riordan, so that we hear of human persons/personhood and non-human "persons"/"personhood". Interestingly, the analytical vocabulary represents parallel terms in the three major Eskimoan languages. The words Inuit/I¤upiat, Yupiit and Sugpiat indicate the human persons, and moreover imply genuine humanity, the real human-beings. The related words inua, yua and sua reflect the non-human "person" of animals and other phenomena. Thus, boundaries exist between human persons on the one hand, and the non-human "persons" on the other hand. Each is bounded. Indeed, much of Yup'ik Eskimo social life, for instance, has been analyzed as involving complex prescriptions and prohibitions to maintain these boundaries.[29]

            Without crossing ontological boundaries, the non-human "persons" of the wild animals are assigned the qualities of intentionality and reciprocation in the indigenous Arctic, according to the credible literature which has been cited. They are perceived as entering into human societies, particularly through the catch at hunting or fishing. Seen as allowing themselves to be taken by the hunters, thus understood as assuming a willful, intentional part in the interaction, the caught animals are received into households, according to various customs throughout the Arctic even today, with respect and with request that they may come again to sustain the human group. This request, or supplication, is directed not necessarily to the individual animals themselves but to the power, be it intrinsic or extrinsic, that prompted them to come.

            Both possibilities of the power -- whether intrinsic or extrinsic -- which prompts the animals' self-giving are reflected in the following definitions of the term inua from among the Inuit. These definitions could probably be extended to the term's cognates in the other Eskimo languages and also to equivalents in some other Arctic languages, for instance  the possessive-noun kwaani in the Tlingit language of southeastern Alaskan. The first definition is from Jarich Oosten, a Dutch anthropologist at Leiden University:[30]

In Inuit culture, all beings are thought to be endowed with a spiritual nature. A clear distinction between spirits as autonomous beings, and souls as aspects of persons and objects, does not apply to Inuit religion. Thus the concept inua (or yua), "its person", refers to independent spirits as well as to a particular type of soul. ... It often has the connotations of "its owner".


The next definition is from Mark Nuttall, a British anthropologist, currently at St Andrews University in Scotland: "animals and some inanimate objects are said to be imbued with potent spiritual power manifest in a spirit owner or guardian known as inua (`its owner')."[31] While these authors have likened the inua to "owners"; another may prefer to identity the inua more closely with the animal's own self. An American anthropologist at Cambridge University, Barbara Bodenhorn, has described the inua as the animal's "soul";[32] and a Russian-American anthropologist at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has described it as the animal's "life force".[33] Through any of these perspectives, the vital relationship remains much the same. The inua allows the prey to be taken in "a dialogue and moral interplay" with the hunter.[34] The moral dimension, reflected in the last quotation, involves the beliefs that the animals will come into a hunter's hands, and through the catch, enter into the hunter's household, only if the hunter's family is worthy.

            This relationship might not correlate readily with Western or generally industrialized experience, because the dynamic is not normally essential in these other contexts, not in terms of conceptual expression or in terms of practical ecological interactions. Therefore, I shall attempt to provide a series of images to convey the immediacy of this perception .

            The quintessential image of the Eskimo which has so excited imaginations worldwide, derives from the long winter season of darkness and dearth. Clad against the deadly cold, the Eskimo stands alert on a seemingly limitless, frozen expanse of ice. A lance is poised in his hand. His eyes are intent on a small opening in the ice at his feet. The appearance of a seal, coming to him from under the ice to emerge just there and then, at this opening where he is standing, will determine whether he will take a catch home with him. Even the weather is decisive. Only the stillness has allowed him this vigilance. Other times are stormy, and storms can last for several days. Let him have a modern implement in his hand today, his success will yet depend on the stillness of the weather and the appearance of the animal. Vividly, the hunter's success ultimately depends on a power beyond his own.

            The following spring, when the weather again begins to warm, and the sea-ice again begins to thaw, select Inuit men will proceed with some ceremony from their homes to travel a distance over snow, then over ice, to a lead of open sea water. The lead is a ribbon of liquid in the thawing sea, onto which they embark with hope to take a whale. Whales migrate through leads during this season. A whale can overturn a modern fishing vessel. These men have embarked in a skin boat, the traditional sea craft until the mid-twentieth century, and sometimes still today. Their very safety alongside such a large animal in such a deadly icy element, as well as their success in the catch, is perceived as depending on a power other than their own technical abilities alone.

            In late spring and into summer, as the sunlight returns to the Arctic, the animals (mammals, fish, birds) return and multiply in often astounding numbers. These are times of natural plenty, which may continue into early autumn. From the perspective taught in modern schools, these animals are described as automata obedient to instinctive migratory patterns. From local, traditional perspectives however, their presence becomes far more immediate and may convey a personal meaning, as they reappear thus with the sunlight, to make themselves available for the taking in such abundance. Whether in summer during a time of plenty, or in spring in the lead, or winter on the ice, the animals are seen as coming to allow themselves to be taken by the hunters, and thus understood as assuming a willful part in the interaction.

            Today, people may provision themselves, occasionally or mainly, from markets. For instance, there is a well stocked supermarket in the town of Barrow, the regional capital on the Alaskan North Slope, situated on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. No roads go to Barrow, although it is the largest settlement in Alaska north of Fairbanks. These sorts of foods must be brought ultimately to Barrow by air-freight from Fairbanks or Anchorage, and initially to these cities from outside Alaska. Fairbanks is approximately five hundred air miles south; Anchorage is approximately another three hundred air miles farther south. During the brief mid-summer, a supply ship might be able to reach the town of Barrow if the thaw along the Arctic coast is sufficient for the passage. These supply routes are few and tenuous. They could become impermanent: a possibility which was consistently communicated to me while I lived in the town. Established in the high Arctic recently, they could collapse. What would the people do then? The Inuit would return to the subsistence activities, from which they have only recently been severed and from which they never entirely departed -- the subsistence activities which are predicated on the "essential relationship" in the Arctic as described, and involving "the traditional spiritual bond between" the human persons and the animals' inua.

            This relationship is predicated on practical participation through the traditional subsistence activities in the harsh climate of the Arctic. Yet it is also predicated on conceptual participation. While the practical might cease more-or-less, the conceptual may continue vividly. An example can be drawn from the Tlingit people of southeastern Alaska, even in urban settings such as Juneau (the capital city of Alaska, located in their ancestral territory).[35] They maintain active daily roles in modern economic and civic life. At the same time, the modern Tlingit people continue to organize themselves socially into exogamous matrilineal moieties, either Eagle or Raven, according to ancestral traditions, and will identify themselves accordingly: "I am Eagle" or "I am Raven". Each moiety is sub-divided into clans. For instance, Thunderbird, Brown Bear and Orca (clans) will be found among the Eagle (moiety). Frog, Coho and Beaver (clans) will be found among the Raven (moiety). Each clan has its at.oow consisting of clan symbols, material as well as verbal, predicated on the clan's totemic animal. The verbal include songs and personal names. Members of a clan will bring forth their clan at.oow, during important Tlingit social events, as each moiety has prescribed duties or privileges at these times. This occurs especially during memorials for the deceased, and then particularly to console the bereaved and to honor the deceased. Among the Tlingits, such memorials for deceased kinfolk are the most elaborate events through which traditional relationships are expressed, and contemporary identities are inherited or reinforced.[36]

            As the at.oow  are brought forth, the participants who convey these symbols become identified with them through metaphor and simile -- through the movements in dances; through the emblems or emblematic patterns in clothes; through the poetic images in speeches and songs. Thus (although the practical participation with animals through subsistence hunting has diminished due to modernization in the urban environment), both moieties, each clan, and ultimately every human person, continue to realize these ancestral relationships, and to derive identity, vividly nevertheless through this conceptual participation .

             In summary we can state that the "essential relationship" (as it has been described in the credible literature cited in this section of the lecture) most probably is widespread among the indigenous peoples of the Arctic historically, and remains vital for indigenous identities there today. This relationship occurs through the practical participation with the animals during hunting or fishing, and/or through the conceptual participation with archetypes during ceremonials. It occurs as human persons and their generations gain identity, as well as sustenance, from the non-human "persons" and their own, particularly the non-human "persons" of animals, with whom the environment is co-inhabited. The indigenous identities, which thus derive, may well be described as eco-centric identities.[37] They would typify the indigenous Arctic societies essentially.


Christian Conversions: Disjunctive or Continuous?

            From the quotations in the introduction to this lecture, we have already anticipated that the conversions to Christianity would be described categorically as having dissolved "the traditional spiritual bond" between humans and animals in the Arctic. For example, Wenzel describes Christianity (without distinction) in a line of thought extending from Aristotle through Aquinas and "the Church'" to Descartes.[38] This line of thought renders animals as automata, hence precluding the relationship which is so essential traditionally in the Arctic. It is difficult to discern whether Wenzel espouses the categorical dichotomy himself. Another writer, who is included in a publication by the Association of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth, bases the viewpoint on a succinct reference to Schopenhauer, who blamed Christianity for a "failure to appreciate these continuities in consciousness between humans and animals".[39] Yet another, R.L. Tapper, has written:[40]

Medieval and Renaissance theology and philosophy ÊÄ- rooted in the Bible and Aristotle, and confirmed by Descartes, Spinoza and Kant -Ä were wholly anthropocentric: nature was created for the interests of humanity, "every animal was intended to serve some human purpose, if not practical, then moral or aesthetic" ... Man, made in the image of God and endowed with reason, was fundamentally different in kind from other forms of life, which he was entitled to treat as he chose. 

In statements such as these, Christianity is not sufficiently differentiated from the views of observers such as Schopenhauer; or from philosophical systems such the Aristotelian and Cartesian; or from doctrinal systems such as the Western medieval which is not itself representative of mainstream Christianity as a whole. In other words, medieval Western doctrinal constructs and their own philosophical antecedents and successors are confused with Orthodox Christianity.

            Let us be more attentive to the antecedents, which may further indicate the problem, and may also yield another mode of approach. We should have noticed that Aristotelian philosophy has been projected in this line through the medieval scholars and "the Church". Segments of Aristotle's own work were indeed selected in medieval western Europe to establish a system of exclusive categorizations and attributions. Segments of Porphyry's philosophy were also selected to the same end, particular the binary construct that came to be known as Porphyry's Tree. Quite apart from the medieval Western systems into which such segments of these philosophies were assimilated, one ought to demonstrate whether the Platonic cosmology, from which both Aristotle and Porphyry derived, does actually deny categorically a "continuity in consciousness between humans and animals". Porphyry never departed from Platonic cosmology, and Aristotle's Protreptikon may not have departed either (fragments of the latter are existent). Platonic cosmology would itself tend to allow degrees of affinity, through emanations, rather like a continuum, would it not?

            When we consider other philosophical antecedents of Christianity, we may see more clearly that the exclusive dichotomy is not necessarily indicated. Pre-Socratic as well as Stoic concepts would tend to affirm the permeation of all reality by an active spiritual, rational principle: the logos, that was variously described as providence, nature, and the soul of the universe. Stoics and other ancients furthermore spoke of logoi,  participatory shares in the logos contained within cosmic phenomena. The concept might have been articulated more narrowly by Philo in the first century AD, as if logos were "reason" alone, and as if it were a mediating principle between the transcendent and the cosmic. However, even this narrower interpretation would not necessarily exclude conscious phenomena other than man from participation within this principle, albeit in descending and diminishing degrees. In any case, the older concept(s) about logos, themselves the more encompassing concept(s), would have been the main antecedents to Christianity. It was this type of concept which was embraced and transformed into Christianity vividly from the start, in the opening lines of the Gospel according to John.

            Patristic Theology Applied

Let us proceed further into these antecedents, namely the pre-Socratic concept(s) about logos, so that we may begin to recognize a correspondence with the indigenous Arctic worldviews. This correspondence has already been suggested seminally by Bernard Saladin d'Anglure, a Canadian anthropologist in Quebec, with regard to the Inuit concept(s) about sila.[41] A description of sila is provided by Nuttall, currently of St Andrews University (cited also above):[42]

sila is more fully described by Inuit as the fundamental principle that pervades the natural world, something that is also manifest in each and every individual. ... sila is to connect persons with their immediate surroundings, enlarging, and integrating the self with the natural world. But, as sila links the individual self with the environment, a person who lacks sila is said to be separated from an essential relationship with the environment that is necessary for social and psychological well-being. 

If we read into this quotation the term logos instead of sila, and read the words ancient Greeks instead of Inuit, then the correspondence between these concepts should become evident. For expedience and emphasis, I shall make the substitutions here, as follows:

[logos] is more fully described by [the ancient Greeks] as the fundamental principle that pervades the natural world, something that is also manifest in each and every individual. ... [logos] is to connect persons with their immediate surroundings, enlarging, and integrating the self with the natural world. But, as [logos]  links the individual self with the environment, a person who lacks [logos]  is said to be separated from an essential relationship with the environment that is necessary for social and psychological well-being.

Thus the description of sila becomes an acceptable one also for ancient concept(s) about logos. They correspond.

            The Inuit sila is evidently very similar to the Yup'ik ella (the two words are probably cognates). Inasmuch as they are similar, the same correspondence may be extended from sila to ella. Ella is "a key concept in Yup'ik cosmology", according to Fienup-Riordan.[43] As she explains it, it is a concept which "epitomizes" the Yup'ik Eskimo "transformational and interconnected view of the world"; "According to the context, ella can mean `outside, `weather', `sky', `universe', or `awareness'."

            When the possessive form of ella is combined with the word yua -- ellam yua -- the composite in the Yup'ik language may signify the (non-human) "person" of the universe. The composite in the Inuit language may signify the same. Describing ellam yua, Fienup-Riordan states the following with regard to its relationship with Christianity:[44]

Recent descriptions of ellam yua have a Christian ring, reminiscent of a heavenly father and almighty, all-seeing creator. Although ella is probably an ancient Yup'ik concept, the idea of a "person of the universe" may be more recent. Still, ellam yua differs in significant respects from its Christian counterpart. Rather than a deity in human form, ellam yua was a genderless, sentient force.

We should recall, however, that the logos was also "a genderless, sentient force" as an ancient Greek concept, was it not? The ancient Greek concept about logos was embraced and transformed, so that it became the Christian concept about the Logos: the "almighty, all-seeing creator" --  indeed, the one who became the paradigmatic human person through the Incarnation.

             Areas of correspondence with, and engagement by, Christianity in the Arctic have elsewhere been recognized by Fienup-Riodan.[45] Yet even she might have been a bit hasty in positing an opposition with regard to the "key concept" about ellam yua; and if even she might have been, then the need for attention to such points is signified all the more.

            Focusing now from ella to yua itself, or from sila to inua, we may well anticipate a correspondence of this Arctic concept (yua, inua) with patristic views also. Descriptions of yua and inua have been provided in quotations above. Anticipation of a correspondence arises from the patristic description of the Logos -- the Logos as the vivifying principle that imbues and animates the cosmos. Inasmuch as all cosmic phenomena draw their existence from this principle-become-Person (the Logos), and participate in its existence, we may anticipate that the animals would be connected to it, especially as they do manifest attributes of personality, such as intentionality, to varying degrees and in various ways themselves. Once we should anticipate that the animals on which human subsistence depends are imbued each with a participatory share in the vivifying Logos, then we ought to recognize that Arctic traditions which prescribe certain attitudes towards the yua, or inua, may not be so far from patristic Christianity as some might imagine them to be.

            The perception regarding the logoi in all cosmic phenomena (phenomena in and of the cosmos) was developed by St Maximus the Confessor. This line of theology articulated by him, from his own antecedents to his successors, may convey us towards a different conclusion than that other line which has been drawn to and through medieval western Europe. Aquinas may serve as a point of contrast. We have read of him cast into the other line in the quotation which was provided above. Aquinas died in the year 1274. Twenty years later, St Gregory Palamas was born elsewhere in the Christian world, and his writings represent a theology that is considered to be different. Palamas, in continuity from St Maximus the Confessor and earlier patristic predecessors, emphasized the divine energies that imbue and vivify all; and reciprocally, a direct participation by all within the divine energies. He was careful, at the same time, to maintain ontological categories distinct, thus to avoid any confusion, even by emanation, between created cosmic phenomena and the uncreated divine essence.

            We may therefore see that contrasting lines can be drawn. The one line, drawn through patristic theology, may well correspond with, and could well merge with and transform, the native Arctic cosmologies, and hence the indigenous Arctic eco-centric identities. The other line probably would diverge into a nearly irreconcilable dichotomy, however. We should anticipate a correspondence, continuity and transformation, on the one hand; while an opposition and disjunction on the other.


Summary conclusion

            A way forward may commence with a recognition that patristic theology can espouse (for example) the ancient Arctic metaphors and relationships, such as those implied in the "key concept" about ella (sila), and "essential relationships" involving yua (inua) -- and that the result would remain Orthodox Christian. I am referring to the metaphors and relationships, which can continue to exist quite apart from the terms. It should be sufficient to see preliminarily that ancient concepts have been espoused elsewhere with this result (consider the Greek example). This way forward would require some vigorous leaps. The first, of course, is the cognitive leap into the indigenous traditions and native cosmologies. The next would be a leap into deeper levels of theology, particularly patristic theology.

            There is yet another -- a leap into the dynamics of Orthodox Christian cultures that have never been diminished by (so-called) modernization or industrialization, or never until recently. These dynamics include customs and attitudes regarding the divine in nature, as well as modes of folk-healing, folk-lore, and folk-dance, etc. As they do not correlate with some academics' expectations about Christianity, these dynamics are being classed hastily apart as "shamanistic" (itself an academically constructed term) when they are observed in the Arctic, for instance. This problem was included into the theme of my first lecture in this series, a theme to which I shall return now in conclusion.

            If Christian views are identified primarily with western European views -- in other words, if Christianity, through most of history A.D., is confined conceptually within the western European social space -- then Christian attitudes and Western attitudes may appear to be closely inter-related, and sometimes identical (an instance of this confusion has been indicated in final section of this second lecture, above). Problems then accrue. Because native cosmologies and identities are often predicated on attitudes about nature and space which differ manifestly from mainstream Western attitudes, they will be presumed to be fundamentally contrary to Orthodox Christian beliefs also.

            It may therefore be useful to ask: To what extent can Christianity be equated with the West? And it may be worthwhile to ponder: What might occur when patristic perceptions are recognized as something other than mainstream Western themselves? When we compare aspects of native cosmologies with patristic theology (still lived with vitality in the ancient centers and sacred places of the Christian faith, and communicated from here northwards, eastwards and southwards), then new vistas for discovery should well unfold.

            This theme may be discussed within the forthcoming symposia during the international bicentennial commemorating the birth of Innokentii Veniaminov. Hopefully, the discussions and discoveries might be carried further, towards the next millennium. Could there be a better commemoration than this to convey us beyond some limiting parameters? -- as he was a child of these regions himself, having been born, schooled and active through the greater duration of his lifetime in northeast Asia and the Arctic. From these regions, he assumed one of the highest ecclesiastical statuses, only then going to live in Europe for the first time, in his advanced old age.

[1] Considerations about the historical missions in Alaska, including Veniaminov's role in them, were presented in the Distinguished Lecture Series delivered by Dr Lydia T. Black, as organized and sponsored by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (PAOI) of the Graduate Theological Institute, Berkeley, 8, 10 & 14 October 1996, on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley -- ,just previous to these current lectures. Veniaminov's life and activities will become the focus of reports to be presented in the Oxford symposium, 14-15 April 1997, and then during the bicentennial main events in Yakutsk, 6-8 September 1997. Christian identities in the Arctic will be explored thematically in the Edinburgh symposium, 17-19 April 1997, and then further in the Fairbanks conference during December 1997.


[2] The material from this point onwards, here revised, was initially presented by the author in a paper titled "`Social Space', Inside / Outside Europe: Conceptual Locations of Christianity", delivered in the section of the 4th Decennial Conference of the Association of Anthropologists of the Commonwealth (Oxford, 26-30 July 1993), cited in my text (below).


[3] While the vocabulary which I shall use derives primarily from Edwin Ardener of the Social Anthropological Institute, Oxford University, as published posthumously (Malcolm Chapman, ed., Edwin Ardener: The Voice of Prophesy and other essays (Oxford, 1989), esp. pp.146-154), the application of this vocabulary to the view of Christianity as an "exo-centric" religion is entirely my own, as are the examples.


[4] "World structure" is the term one will find more frequently in Ardener (as cited). Such "structures" comprise much of the subject matter in the academic discipline of social and cultural anthropology. A reader familiar with that discipline may substitute the term "dynamics" for "structures"; as I do not intend to imply anything static, nor do I intend to promote any theory of structuralism. The alternative phrase world order may serve, I believe, to avoid those entanglements while indicating the global ramifications which I shall be indicating.


[5] It should be noted that a similar (not identical) concept exists among extreme nationalist Slavs who propagate their exclusive notions of Moscow as the Third Rome, presuming that Christianity was displaced theologically from its earlier centers. The similarity aside, it is the Western social space and world order which are of concern here, as this underpins the notion of Christianity as fundamentally "the European religion"; this has influenced the mentalities in the Western European satellites, and this motivates much of modern missiological theory.


[6] E.g., the preliminary announcement for the section within the last ASA Decennial (cited above) recognized that "the ancient Eastern Christianities" of Ethiopia, the Caucasus, south India and the Arab world (the latter specified as the "Copts, Maronites, Melkites, Chaldeans, Assyrians"), were "all established independently of Western Christianity". This is valuable as far as it goes.


[7] Will a recent international gathering in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda around the theme "Gospel and Culture", during January 1996, serve as advance in this direction? For a synopsis of this gathering, see Orthodox Christian Mission Center, vol.12, no.1 (1996), pp.1-2, 24-26.


[8] Margaret Landis, "Aleut", in Handbook of North American Indians, general ed. W.C. Sturtevant, vol. 5: Arctic, ed. D. Damas (Washington, D.C., 1984), p. 177-179.


[9] I. Veniaminov, Zapiski ob ostrovakh Unalashkinsago otd'la, part 2 (St. Petersburg, 1840), part 2, sections 1-2; ibid., Notes on the Islands of the Unalashka District (Kingston, Ont. and Fairbanks, AK, 1980), pp.245-323.


[10] Ibid., Zapiski, p.144; Notes, p.229.


[11] For a list of these references, see S.A. Mousalimas, "The Transition from Shamanism to Russian Orthodox in Alaska", Oxford University (D.Phil., 1992), Intro., nt.11. For a complete exposition of an example in which Orthodoxy is recognized as the religion which the "natives" have espoused, yet accused of destroying all things native by its inception; see: id., " `... If Reports can be Believed, Russian Priests Destroyed All the Masks they could Find' ", Etudes/Inuit/Studies, vol.14, nos 1-2 (University of Laval, 1990), pp.191-208.


[12] See, e.g., Lydia T. Black, PAOI Distinguished Lecture Series, in print (cited, nt.2, above).


[13] Here adapted, this theme was originally written in the penultimate and final sections of the "Introduction", in Arctic: Ecology and Identity, ed. S.A. Mousalimas, ISTOR 8 (Budapest and Los Angeles, in print [1997]), pp.4-26.


[14] Semeon Nikolaevich Gorokhov, "Before Columbus: Into America from Northeast Asia", trans. C.I. Fedorova, temporary-exhibit, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University (Michaelmas Term 1992 through Hilary Term 1993), quoted in Mousalimas, "Introduction", pp.19-20.


[15] Tim Ingold, "Work, Identity and Environment: Finns and Saami in Lapland", in Arctic: Ecology and Identity, ed. Mousalimas, p.66.


[16] Lydia T. Black, "Russian Orthodoxy in Alaska", in Northern Religions and Shamanism , eds M. Hopp l and J. Pentikainen, Etnologica Uralica 3 (Budapest and Helsinki, 1992), p.100.


[17] George Wenzel, Animal Rights, Human Rights: Ecology, Economy and Ideology in the Canadian Arctic (London,1991), p.134. A very adequate summary of the arguments, then to date, and an accurate view of the themes in the controversy is provided by Wenzel in this book, including a corrective against the assertion that the adoption of some "southern" modes of hunting and commerce has disrupted the essential ecological relationship in the indigenous Arctic.


[18] Wenzel, p.141.


[19] Ann Fienup-Riordan, The Nelson Island Eskimo: Social Structure and Ritual Distribution (Anchorage, 1983).


[20] Id., "Eskimo Iconography and Symbolism: an Introduction", Etudes/Inuit/Studies, vol.14, nos 1-2 (University of Laval, 1990), p.9.


[21] Id., Boundaries and Passages: Rule and Ritual in Yup'ik Eskimo Oral Tradition (Norman, OK, and London,1994), p.49; quoted below.


[22] Cf., John Livingstone, "Roundtable Discussion on `Aboriginal Societies and the Animal Protection Movement: Rights, Issues and Implications' ", in A Question of Rights: Northern Wildlife Management and the Anti-Harvest Movement, eds R. Keith and A. Saunders (Ottawa: Canadian Arctic Resource Committee, 1989) p.119. See Wenzel, p.134.


[23] See, James Frazer, The Golden Bough, abridged ed. (Ware, Herts., 1993), p.528.


[24] Ibid., p.525.


[25] E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (Oxford, 1940), p.36. Also see, id., Nuer Religion (Oxford, 1956), pp.249-257.


[26] Tim Ingold, "The Animal in the Study of Humanity", in What is an Animal?, ed. T. Ingold (London, 1988), pp.84-99. This book derives from discussions in the 1986 World Archaeological Congress.


[27] Id., "Introduction", in ibid., p.8.


[28] See, e.g., "The Boy who Went to Live with the Seals", etc., in Fienup-Riordan, Boundaries and Passages, pp.3-45, and "The Relationship between Humans and Animals", in ibid., pp.46-87.


[29] Id., Boundaries and Passages.


[30] Jarich Oosten, "Cosmological Cycles and Constituent Elements of the Person", in Arctic: Ecology and Identity, ed. Mousalimas, p.88.


[31] Mark Nuttall, "Nation Building and Local Identity in Greenland: Resources and the Environment in a Changing North", in Arctic: Ecology and Identity, ed. Mousalimas, p.76.


[32] Barbara Bodenhorn, "`I'm Not the Great Hunter, My Wife Is': Inupiat and Anthropological Models of Gender", Etudes/Inuit/Studies, vol.14, nos 1-2 (University of Laval, 1990), p.62.


[33] Lydia T. Black, personal communication.


[34] The quotation is from Nuttall, p.76.


[35] For an analysis, see Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer, "Introduction", in Haa Tuwun agu Yis, for Healing Our Spirit: Tlingit Oratory, eds N.M. Dauenhauer and R. Dauenhauer (Seattle and London, 1990), pp.1-153.


[36] See: Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer,1990; Sergei Kan, Symbolic Immortality: Tlingit Potlatch of the Nineteenth Century (Washington, DC, 1989); Frederica de Laguna, "Potlatch Ceremonialism on the Northwest Coast", in  Crossroads of Continents: Cultures of Siberia and Alaska, eds W.W. Fitzhugh and A. Crowell (Washington, DC, 1988), pp.271-280.


[37] The term "eco-centric" has already been applied by Wenzel, p.141.


[38] Wenzel, pp.38-39.


[39] P. Richards, "Natural Symbols and Natural History: Chimpanzees, Elephants and Experiments in Mende Thought", in Environmentalism: the View from Anthropology, ed. K. Milton, ASA Monograph 32 (London and New York, 1993), p.145.


[40] R.L.Tapper, "Animality, Humanity, Morality, Society", in What is an Animal?, ed. Ingold, p.47.


[41] Bernard Saladin d'Anglure, "Frere-lune (Taqqiq), soeur-soleil (Siqiniq) et l'intelligence du Monde (Sila)", Etudes/Inuit/Studies, vol.14, nos 1-2, (University of Laval, 1990), pp.75-139.


[42] Nuttall, p.75.


[43] Fienup-Riordan, Boundaries and Passages, p.263. Also see, Steven A. Jacobson, comp., Yup'ik Eskimo Dictionary, Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska (Fairbanks, 1984), p.140.


[44] Fienup-Riordan, Boundaries and Passages, p.263.

[45] See esp., id., Eskimo Lives and How We See Them (New Brunswick,1990), chaps 5-6.