Yakama Rising by Michelle Jacob





Yakama Rising by Michelle Jacob

The book, Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism and Healing, is an accessibly documented ethnography that situates native persons as the professionals within the wider community. It demonstrates that indigenous individuals possess a certain inbuilt capability that is imperative in resolving issues within the society. The writer, Michelle M. Jacob, utilizes an integration of several techniques, such as interviews, auto-ethnographic contemplations and observations, in order to expose the different ways of response exhibited by the Yakama people due to the impact of social change. In evaluating a triad of cultural revitalization movements that comprise dance, food and lingo, the book depicts the individuals as well as the procedures inherent in developing and applying a Yakama-based decolonizing practice. Focusing particularly on American Indian women, Jacob’s book illustrates the purpose that the native women and activism assume an important role in ensuring cultural survival for the indigenous people.

The focus of Yakama Rising is not necessarily the three aspects involved in guaranteeing the longevity of the indigenous culture, rather, the book delves into the practices of activism carried out by various native peoples, in particular, American Indian women. Their attempts at decolonization have generated a considerable interest based on whether this process is more of a practice than a theory (Jacob 105). Accordingly, the women try to fight against the colonial predisposition that the Indigenous culture is static. Because of this, there is a certain inclination to view the native peoples as a dying community. This explains the limited amount of resources apportioned to them, which further aid in destabilizing their culture. Nonetheless, women-based activism has assumed a significant role in negating the colonial notions imposed upon the Indigenous communities.

Indeed, the involvement of American Indian women poses a positive impact especially on healing social change within the native communities. Due to the resilience exuded by these people, it is possible to assert that the native tribes possess several strengths that are potentially applicable in boosting the social, health and educational programs designated for Indigenous individuals. Furthermore, based on Jacob’s discussion, it is evident that the respective problems experienced within native communities correlates considerably to the heritage of colonialism. Because of the imposition of colonialist thoughts, Indigenous communities are rapidly experiencing a physical and social demise. The modifications imposed on important native cultural aspects such as language, food and dance have only succeeded in prohibiting the furtherance of the aboriginal culture. Alternately, changes in these facets have rapidly transitioned to the loss of heritage among the Indigenous people.

Nonetheless, the involvement of native elder women has resorted into the revival of the native communities. This is due to the realization that the death of indigenous people will only result in the demise of the native language (Jacob 75). Based on this, women activists have exerted efforts in sustaining their culture through decolonization processes. By establishing support mechanisms for important cultural determinants such as language, dance and food, American Indian women have enabled cultural revitalization. For instance, facilitating community members and elders, as they attempt to establish alternatives for native language revitalization has succeeded in involving both native and non-natives in the culture-building process.

In conclusion, it is evident that American Indian women pose a great importance in guaranteeing the longevity of the Indigenous culture. Irrespective of the global changes affecting the society, these activists have established a stance against such impacts by enabling the process of decolonization. In their efforts, the women have developed programs aimed at native cultural revitalization. Such schemes focus on rekindling Indigenous languages via education and the involvement of community members in revitalizing other aspects such as food and dance. With respect to this, it is clear that the American Indian women, through their activist roles and practices, are responsible for mending social change within the native communities.














Work Cited:

Jacob, Michelle M. Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism and Healing. Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 2013. Print.

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