Saturday, April 8, 2017

What is TON Culture? Does It Matter?

Kristin's presentation on the cultural identity of the Tohono O'odham Nation provided an interesting take on how not all members will answer the question "What makes you Tohono O'odham?" the same way. Answers varied as members described the importance of land, language, stories, etc., but there was rarely a direct and congruent answer among different members. However, I highly doubt that the variability in responses is any cause for concern regarding the loss of identity.

What makes you American? What is the American culture? What differentiates us, as a people, from other nations? Is your inability to answer these questions in one concise sentence evidence of the demise of American culture? I think the analysis of culture based on a homogenous definition is an absurd metric for cultural identity. The Tohono O'odham are proud of their identity regardless of whether or not they've memorized every word of every story. I think our readings about the cultural background of the tribe may have categorized and molded our interpretation of what their culture should be. Realistically, how could we ever expect each individual member to fit this mold? Do the Bill of Rights and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly define your American identity?

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