The Way of the Pipe

SKU: 1551111594

James B. Waldram
Grade Levels:
College, University
Multiple Nations
Book Type:
Broadview Press

Sale price$40.95


The Way of the Pipe: Aboriginal Spirituality and Symbolic Healing in Canadian Prisons explores how Aboriginal spirituality is finding its way into prisons and the role it is playing with Aboriginal inmates seeking to regain and to promote their heritages and identities.The book starts from the premise that this spirituality is not simply "religion" but is a form of therapy, know to medical anthropologists as "symbolic healing." Working from the results of hundreds of interviews with inmates in a number of prisons, Waldram traces the history of Aboriginal spirituality in and out of prison populations. Ironically, it is in prison that many come face to face with spiritual traditions such as the sweat lodge for the first time. The book looks critically at incarceration practices which have not always made it easy for inmates to explore their spiritual heritage. At the same time, it asks tough questions about whether this spiritual "therapy" actually makes a difference. Written in a highly accessible style, The Way of the Pipe combines scholarly perspectives with extensive narratives from the Elders and inmates to provide a unique understanding of the issues of symbolic healing and prison rehabilitation. It forces us to reconsider the goals and methods of prison treatment, especially for Aboriginal inmates. And on a broader level, it offers insight into the cultural divide between communities both behind the walls and beyond.

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