Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 21 (2006). Copyright © Benjamin Grant Purzycki; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


The Lakota (Sioux) sacred clowns (heyoka) of traditional religious practice offer a glimpse of the clown phenomenon found in many of the world's indigenous traditions. By illustrating the unified Lakota and Western conceptions of humor, the logic of how particular entities of the natural environment are understood as relatives according to Lakota thought is brought to light in hopes of introducing the idea that such insights were not only statements or observations about the external, physical world, but also about the internal or mental world.

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