Forte Maximilian C.
From Smoke Cerimonies To Cyberspace: Globalized Indigenety, MultiI-Sited Research, and Internet.
It is arguable that the "gloom and doom"
phase, particularly in North American Anthropology, could not have come
at a more inopportune time. The motivation in making this observation
stems from the transformation of the realities that ethnographers research
into more complex subjects, requiring new methods, broadened analytical
frames, and taking us into new fora of communication and cultural and interpersonal
interaction. Ethnography has become more challenging and promises
richer insights than ever before as a result of phenomena such as community
building in cyberspace and the transnationalization of putatively local,
Indigenous communities and issues. In this paper I examine these
subjects through reflections on my twenty-one months of field research
among the Caribs of Trinidad (still underway), by moving back and forth
between the description of a reconstructed indigenous ritual, and the field
methods that are used in gathering the data necessary for the description.
In this ritual I see a renegotiation of symbolic capital that spans local,
national, regional and global levels.
The field experience in itself,
and the data that is uncovered by multi-sited means, stimulates questions
that have some impact on anthropological theory. In particular, I
will discuss the Smoke Ceremony, as practiced in this newly "reborn" community
of people who are emerging from a creole and capitalist society and claiming
an indigenous identification. This identification is developed and
defined in and through a local-global network of resurgent indigeneity.
I thus highlight the extensive web of local, national and transnational
cultural brokers linking this small Carib community to the Trinidadian
diaspora, internationalized Indigenous symbols and resources, and American
Indian movements, with the revelation of the multiple interests being vested
in the reconstruction of local indigeneity. In the process I hope
to provide a further assessment and elaboration of the value of multi-sited
research in stemming perceptions of the demise of the discipline.
Department of Anthropology
The University of Adelaide