(Re)Discovering Our Indigenous Selves: The Nostalgic Appeal of Native Americans and Other Generic Indigenes
Indigenous spiritual traditions, especially those of North America, are a popular source of inspiration for people involved in the Australian alternative health and spirituality movement. Some of these individuals explain their interest in Indigenous spirituality by invoking past life experiences or recurrent dreams of being Indigenous; by referring to the influence of Indigenous spirit guides; or by claiming inexplicable feelings of connectedness and familiarity with the cultures to which they are 'drawn'. Such accounts contribute to 'New Age' discourses which support the notion of a deep spiritual kinship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. These esoteric connections are often associated with individual settler desires to rediscover the eco-spiritual wisdom of their own indigenous, pre-Christian ancestors. This paper considers some of the ways in which idealised representations of Native American cultures become points of reference for non-Indigenous people attempting to 'remember' or 'rediscover' what they believe to be indigenous qualities within themselves.