Questions for 4/6

I’m interested in the similarities and differences between stories about non-human animals (or other than human people, as Harde puts it) and those that appear as both animal and human. Harde discusses in the section on bears “That the bear elder appears to him as both bear and human makes clear the personhood of the bear.” Some of the stories, like Van Camp’s A Man Called Raven or Edmond’s Coyote and the Pebbles, have main characters that shift between human and non-human forms, in a way that seems to match what Harde argues supports their personhood. But others (many in the Trickster collection including The Wolf and the Mink or Raven the Trickster) the animals don’t shift but still have a fully fleshed out character in a way that I think equally gives them ‘personhood’. I wonder how Harde would differentiate or if she would say they do the same thing through different avenues.

Harde also talks about how “The family’s ongoing relationship with the bear people demonstrates the ways in which kinship and accountability are conjoined.” I would love to have seen more her discuss the connection between the two in more depth, outside of just the realm of killing animals for food. I was struck by the comment because although Harde is discussing the ceremony of how gratitude is expressed for the killing of animals for food, including by the sacrifice of a family member, it seems like it holds potential for a much richer discussion. Thinking from a climate perspective, how can we be in kinship with anyone (human or non-human animal) while we remain fully unaccountable for the climate disaster we have brought on. Or even what does it say about our kinship relationships between humans when so many disparities exist, does the lack of accountability to human suffering break down our kinship relations?

One thought on “Questions for 4/6

  1. Carrie Hintz

    Hi Rose,
    The question of climate change and other macro ecological disasters is fascinating to contemplate in reference to Harde’s kinship models; surely you are right to suggest that our capacity to be genuinely kin to animals is limited by our own deeds, actions, and commitments. Very much appreciate your remarks about human/ animal transformation and “pure animal” personhood as well….CH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *