Academic Journals Database
Disseminating quality controlled scientific knowledge

‘Quaker Sweat’ as Intangible Heritage

Author(s): Benjamin Gratham Aldred

Journal: International Journal of Intangible Heritage
ISSN 1975-3586

Volume: 6;
Start page: 71;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: religion | syncretism | education | ritual | sweat lodge | Lakota | Religious Society of Friends(Quakers) | Wampanoag | Native American | James Arthur Ray

In 2004, a small ritual to be held at a Quaker conference in Massachusetts stirred up a big controversy. The ‘Quaker Sweat’, a syncretic ritual drawing on Lakota, Cherokee and Religious Society of Friends sources, drew protests from a local Native American group. The controversy that emerged within the Friends General Conference, a national Quaker group, highlights the complex dynamics of the cultural property debate. Does the ritual belong to George Price, who developed it? Does the ritual belong to the Lakota, who taught him and gave him permission? Does the ritual belong to the Wampanoag on whose land it was to take place? In the ensuing debate, questions of syncretism and property are examined, taking into account the complex issues of personal versus cultural value, the role of history and experience in cultural property and the complexities of different cultural models of agency related to shared cultural forms. How does a cultural property debate develop between interested actors without the intervention of governments or inter-governmental bodies?

Tango Rapperswil
Tango Rapperswil

RPA Switzerland

RPA Switzerland

Robotic process automation