The unlikely associates

Joseph Epes Brown
1970 Ethnos  
Although Clark Wissler, the eminent American anthropologist, called the trait "...vague and naïve like most primitive ideas", we are nevertheless grateful to him for initially calling attention to the Oglala Sioux's 1 mysterious concern with the Whirlwind and the Elk. 2 As Wissler has skillfully pointed out, the concept in fact is not restricted to the elk and the wind in the Oglala mind, but embraces a whole series of unlikely associates, among whom are the bison and bear, the dragonfly, the
more » ... he dragonfly, the moth, the cocoon and the spider, and possibly more. That a people's cognitive orientation allows them to conceive of a perfectly "logical" interconnection between such seemingly disparate phenomena, understandably lends credence in the minds of many to the "pre-logical mentality" theories of former times. It is proposed, however, to reexamine this problem initially exposed by Wissler, and to do this, so far as it is possible, through the conceptual categories of the Oglala himself, and thus attempt to see his world as he conceives it. 3 In this process it is hoped to be able to clarify the special nature of Oglala magic, and its underlying metaphysical basis.
doi:10.1080/00141844.1970.9981021 fatcat:6d6q5poh3rh7rhfdak7gjsuz6y