Standing in Two Worlds: Social Ceremonialism and Cultural Expression of the Osage Nation
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This thesis addresses two social ceremonies currently practiced by the Osage Native American tribe, the Naming Ceremony and E-Lon-Schka summer dances. My central argument is that the Osage have reproduced and maintained a strong cultural heritage partly due to the continuation of these social ceremonies. Through current ceremonial expression, the Osage have remanufactured and replicated ideological elements of their social ceremonial life since the earliest ethnographic reports in the 1800s. These social ceremonies provide cultural reference points for individuals to acquire social and cultural capital, are fundamental in the formation of cultural identities, and have served as ideological touchstones for the Osage to connect to their cultural heritage. The Osage’s continued reproduction of these social ceremonies has culminated in a cultural entity that expresses a vibrant identity in modern times.