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Even in the midst of its resurgence as a vital tradition, [#permalink]
04 Apr 2009, 18:34
Even in the midst of its resurgence as a vital tradition, many sociologists have viewed the current form of the powwow, a ceremonial gathering of native Americans, as a sign that tribal culture is in decline. Focusing on the dances and rituals that have recently come to be shared by most tribes, they suggest that an intertribal movement is now in ascension and claim the inevitable outcome of this tendency is the eventual dissolution of tribes and the complete assimilation of native Americans into Euroamerican society. Proponents of this “Pan-Indian” theory point to the greater frequency of travel and communication between reservations, the greater urbanization of native Americans, and, most recently, their increasing politicization in response to common grievances as the chief causes of the shift toward intertribalism.
Indeed, the rapid diffusion of dance styles, outfits, and songs from one reservation to another offers compelling evidence that intertribalism has been increasing. However, these sociologists have failed to note the concurrent revitalization of many traditions unique to individual tribes. Among the Lakota, for instance, the Sun Dance was revived, after a forty-year hiatus, during the 1950s. Similarly, the Black Legging Society of the Kiowa and the Hethuska Society of the Ponca—both traditional groups within their respective tribes—have gained new popularity. Obviously, a more complex societal shift is taking place than the theory of Pan-Indianism can account for.
An examination of the theory’s underpinnings may be critical at this point, especially given that native Americans themselves chafe most against the Pan-Indian classification. Like other assimilationist theories with which it is associated, the Pan-Indian view is predicted upon an a priori assumption about the nature of cultural contact: that upon contact minority societies immediately begin to succumb in every respect—biologically, linguistically, and culturally—to the majority society. However, there is no evidence that this is happening to native American groups.
Yet the fact remains that intertribal activities are a major facet of native American cultural today. Certain dances at powwows, for instance, are announced as intertribal, others as traditional. Likewise, speeches given at the beginnings of powwows are often delivered in English, while the prayer that follows is usually spoken in a native language. Cultural borrowing is, of course, old news. What is important to note is the conscious distinction native Americans make between tribal and intertribal tendencies.
Tribalism, although greatly altered by modern history, remains a potent force among native Americans. It forms a basis for tribal identity, and aligns music and dance with other social and cultural activities important to individual tribes. Intertribal activities, on the other hand, reinforce native American identity along a broader front, where this identity is directly threatened by outside influences.
14. Which one of the following best summarizes the main idea of the passage?
(A) Despite the fact that sociologists have only recently begun to understand its importance, intertribalism has always been an influential factor in native American culture.
(B) Native Americans are currently struggling with an identity crisis caused primarily by the two competing forces of tribalism and intertribalism.
(C) The recent growth of intertribalism is unlikely to eliminate tribalism because the two forces do not oppose one another but instead reinforce distinct elements of native American interact with the broader community around them.
(D) The tendency toward intertribalism, although prevalent within native American culture, has had a minimal effect on the way native Americans interact with the broader community around them.
(E) Despite the recent revival of many native American tribal traditions, the recent trend toward intertribalism is likely to erode cultural differences among the various native American tribes.
15. The author most likely states that “cultural borrowing is of course, old news” (line 47-48) primarily to
(A) acknowledge that in itself the existence of intertribal tendencies at powwows is unsurprising
(B) suggest that native Americans’ use of English in powwows should be accepted as unavoidable
(C) argue that the deliberate distinction of intertribal and traditional dances is not a recent development
(D) suggest that the recent increase in intertribal activity is the result of native Americans borrowing from non-native Americans
(E) indicate that the powwow itself could have originated by combining practices drawn from both native and non-native American cultures
16. The author of the passage would most likely agree with which one of the following assertions?
(A) Though some believe the current form of the powwow signals the decline of tribal culture, the powwow contains elements that indicate the continuing strength of tribalism.
(B) The logical outcome of the recent increase in intertribal activity is the eventual disappearance of tribal culture.
(C) Native Americans who participate in both tribal and intertribal activities usually base their identities on intertribal rather than tribal affiliations.
(D) The conclusions of some sociologists about the health of native American cultures show that these sociologists are in fact biased against such cultures.
(E) Until it is balanced by revitalization of tribal customs, intertribalism will continue to weaken the native American sense of identity.
17. The primary function of the third paragraph is to
(A) search for evidence to corroborate the basic assumption of he theory of Pan-Indianism
(B) demonstrate the incorrectness of the theory of Pan-Indianism by pointing out that native American groups themselves disagree with the theory
(C) explain the origin of the theory of Pan-Indianism by showing how it evolved from other assimilationist theories
(D) examine several assimilationist theories in order to demonstrate that they rest on a common assumption
(E) criticize the theory of Pan-Indianism by pointing out that it rests upon an assumption for which there is no supporting evidence
18. Which one of the following most accurately describes the author’s attitude towards the theory of Pan-Indianism?
(A) critical of its tendency to attribute political motives to cultural practices
(B) discomfort at its negative characterization of cultural borrowing by native Americans
(C) hopeful about its chance for preserving tribal culture
(D) offended by its claim that assimilation is a desirable consequence of cultural contact
(E) skeptical that it is a complete explanation of recent changes in native American society
19. With which one of the following statements would the author of the passage be most likely to agree?(Intertribal activities, on the other hand, reinforce native American identity along a broader front, where this identity is directly threatened by outside influences.)
(A) The resurgence of the powwow is a sign that native American customs are beginning to have an important influence on Euroamerican society.
(B) Although native Americans draw conscious distinctions between tribal and intertribal activities, there is no difference in how the two types of activity actually function within the context of native American society.
(C) Without intertribal activities, it would be more difficult for native Americans to maintain the cultural differences between native American and Euroamerican society.
(D) The powwow was recently revived, after an extended hiatus, in order to strengthen native Americans’ sense of ethnic identity.
(E) The degree of urbanization, intertribal communication, and politicization among native Americans has been exaggerated by proponents of the theory of Pan-Indianism.
20. Which one of the following situations most clearly illustrates the phenomenon of intertribalism, as that phenomenon is described in the passage?
(A) a native American tribe in which a number of powerful societies attempt to prevent the revival of a traditional dance
(B) a native American tribe whose members attempt to learn the native languages of several other tribes
(C) a native American tribe whose members attempt to form a political organization in order to redress several grievances important to that tribe
(D) a native American tribe in which a significant percentage of the members have forsake their tribal identity and become assimilated into Euroamerican society
(E) a native American tribe whose members often travel to other parts of the reservation in order to visit friends and relatives
21. In the passage, the author is primarily concerned with doing which one of the following?
(A) identifying an assumption common to various assimilationist theories and then criticizing these theories by showing this assumption to be false
(B) arguing that the recent revival of a number of tribal practices shows sociologists are mistaken in believing intertribilism to be a potent force among native American societies
(C) questioning the belief that native American societies will eventually be assimilated into Euroamerican society by arguing that intertribalism helps strengthen native American identity
(D) showing how the recent resurgence of tribal activities is a deliberate attempt to counteract the growing influence of intertribalism
(E) proposing an explanation of why the ascension of intertribalism could result in the eventual dissolution of tribes and complete assimilation of native American into Euroamerican society