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Humanity is studied through the discipline of anthropology. The field of anthropology adopts a holistic approach to understanding human experience, which is called holism. The study of archaeology provides insight into how humans lived hundreds or thousands of years ago and what was important to them. It considers our bones, diet, and health, as well as our biological bodies and genetics. For instance, I have interesting cultural lunacy in my life that I can not reject no matter how hard I try.
Sometimes, when I step outside the house and suddenly remember that I forget something which makes me go back in, I can not pass through the mirror without smiling at it. It is a Russian superstition that says if you go back home forgetting something without smiling in the mirror you will have a really bad day. There are many more interesting superstitions that are dealing with the mirror, for example, if you break a mirror, it’s bad luck. Do not look into a broken mirror, if you don’t want to have a broken life (Just Russian, 2018).
I believe all these superstitions have a legitimate explanation because some think that it is possible that our universe is reflected across time in a counterpart universe that stretches beyond the Big Bang. According to the paper, if that were true, and a series of other extremely unlikely and outlandish hypotheses also proved true, it would explain a mysterious signal suggesting a new particle is being expelled from Antarctica’s ice. And others believe that mirrors provide access to the world behind them. Upon entering this world, a person cannot use magic but can touch mirrors to see what is happening in the world in which mirrors exist on the other side. An escape from this world is possible, a shattered mirror. Also, there is a hypothesis that mirrors do not reflect reality and they should not be used in behavior studies (Eldwood, 2014). I think to research this matter, the anthropologists will have to approach immersion in a culture, and analysis of how people interact with their environment. There is a lot of mystery behind a mirror… Will anthropologists help discover the true meaning of it or where its superstitions came from? I am sure they will.
Eldwood, R. (November 2014) Do mirrors reflect reality in agonistic encounters? A test of mutual cooperation in displays. Animal Behavior. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0003347214003091
Just Russian. (October 27, 2018) Russian superstitions. https://www.justrussian.com/russian-superstitions/
For the past four years, I have worked as a group facilitator at an outpatient sex offender treatment clinic, and 90% of our population is Alaska Native. The seventy men in our services are diagnosed with a mental illness and/or have intellectual disabilities. From reading court convictions, neurological assessments, and hearing their experiences of what occurs in isolated villages, it is gut-wrenching to discover what the Alaska Native culture can often be like.
More specifically, the Center for Disease Control partnered with National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence to collect data through a self-reporting survey and the results were well over 2% of the national average for sexual assault on Alaska Native women (2020). Additionally, the belief is Alaska Natives’ results may have been unreported for incidents of domestic violence, rape, and other forms of sexual assault. In most cases, substance use plays a significant role in sexual assault and domestic violence cases. In an article published by Futures Without Violence titled, The facts of violence against American Indian/ Alaska Native women (n.d.), 86% of sexual assaults were committed by someone under the influence of alcohol.
With survey data not securing funding to address the abuse cycle in Alaska, would sending anthropology to study the culture by observing the culture firsthand make a difference? According to this week’s reading by Nina Brown and colleagues, titled Perspectives: an open invitation to cultural anthropology, an anthropologist can conduct research by directly observing cultures. Moreover, value can be found in identifying what is culturally acceptable in the Alaska Native communities and medical illnesses (like alcoholism) that contribute to such heinous crimes. Thus, with more empirical data funding can be secured to provide mental health treatment in Native villages.
Futures Without Violence. (n.d.). The Facts on Violence Against American Indian/Alaskan Native Women. https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Violence%20Against%20AI%20AN%20Women%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
Jerue, T. (n.d.). Alaska update: Sexual assault in Alaska requires immediate attention. Welcome | NIWRC. https://www.niwrc.org/restoration-magazine/february-2021/alaska-update-sexual-assault-alaska-requires-immediate-attention