Ancestral Lines Chapter Summary

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In chapter 4 of Ancestral Lines by John Barker, Barker discusses the two main guides of reasoning used by the Maisin of Papua New Guinea; Christianity and older traditional views. He describes how although both are different methods of thinking, both are used in harmony to describe the everyday occurrences encountered by the Maisin people (Barker 2008:134). Christianity, as described in the ethnography, is used wholly to motivate the Maisin intrinsically through the abolishment of fear, and to instill morals and values (Barker 2008:133-134). In times of need, Christianity was often relied on to seek solace and comfort (Barker 2008:124). For instance, the Maisin often used sacred objects (charms) that were said to protect them from sorcery;…show more content…
They offer an explanation when presented with the death of a young adult, or when someone who seems to be of relatively good health becomes ill (Barker 2008:129). For example, the death of a young woman named Mona was blamed on sorcery in order to provide an explanation to the villagers since there were given no medical reason (Barker 2008:125). Barker concluded that although Christianity does not believe in sorcery, and both methods of understanding have different views, they can and do coexist in harmony within the Maisin people (Barker 2008:134). Hedican’s textbook “Social Anthropology” discusses the coexistence of Christianity and traditional beliefs among the Mi’Kmaq. Hedican discusses the initial arrival of the British along with missionaries who successfully converted the Mi’Kmaq; which incidentally also happened to the Maisin (Barker 2008:117, Hedican 2012:225). But upon conversion, like the Maisin, the Mi’Kmaq did not give up their traditional values (Hedican 2012:225). Rather such, they adopted Christianity in such a manner that it conjoined with their traditional views in order to answer a broader array of questions (Hedican
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