Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Native American Ceremonialism as "Kinaesthetic Imagining":: A Study in Movement and Meaning

Dr. Jana Norton.

Specifically, the paper describes ancient forms of native northwestern California myth, song, prayer and dance as ritualized gestures that awaken sacred realms of knowing through ceremonial movement in conjunction with the essences of the physical landscape to elicit various levels of cultural meaning and continuance.
First, the paper provides a brief overview of the literature pertaining to "kinaesthetic imagining" as well as a summary of Merlou Ponty's notion of the primacy of perception and Sartre's concept of creating structures of imaginative consciousness as they relate to Ricouer's (1976) theory of action language. Next, the paper discusses native northwestern California cosmology and escoteric practices as traditional modes of inquiry and healing, as well as communal constructs of natural sanctuaries of purity and protection as vital aspects of indigenous identity and knowledge. The paper concludes with a semi-structured interview with a native northwestern California elder to integrate an authentic indigenous perspective with various aesthetic and epistemological implications.


Dr. Jana Norton  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Writing and Communication
National University

Dr. Jana Rivers Norton is the Lead Faculty for the Department of Writing and Communication at National University's Sacramento Campus. She is the co-author of several cross-cultural language arts readers including A Teacher's Sourcebook on Genocide, Natasha Goes to the Brushdance: A Teacher's Guide and Brave From Thunders. She recently presented a workshop at the International Federation of Teacher's of English in Melbourne Australia on an developing an "Empathic Response to Cross-Cultural Literary Texts."

  • Native American Ceremonialism
  • Kinaesthetic Imagining
  • Sacred Space
  • Indigenous Epistemologies

(Virtual Presentation, English)