1 results for Alexander, Jordan Marijana

  • Exploring spiritual landscape in Sitka Alaska to enhance cross-cultural understanding

    Alexander, Jordan Marijana (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This thesis examines spiritual landscapes, illustrating their richness in understanding cross-cultural relations and revealing deeper cultural attitudes toward the environment. It also shows that spiritual landscapes hold visible and invisible remnants of the past, providing insights for intercultural relations today. The research is timely, building on the momentum of international and national efforts to better understand and preserve indigenous cultures and settler heritages. The collisions of diverse cultures during first contact (1400s to 1700s) left society with enduring intercultural challenges. Perspectives on colonial impacts range from culture annihilation and land dispossession to legitimate expressions of imperial power and politics. Regarding land issues, conflicts persist in ownership and management (e.g., legislation and treaties), preservation and designation (e.g., how and whose values apply), and use and access (e.g., equitable provision and regulation of rival commercial, community and conservancy interests). This thesis elevates earlier judgements to reveal insights into land issues focusing on multicultural contributions. The comprehensive approach used to study Sitka Alaska⁰́₈s spiritual landscape considers spiritual indicators including burial grounds, worship buildings, homelands, and place names, alongside lasting cultural attitudes toward such places (geomentalities). Indigenous Tlingit, Russian and American contributions to patterns of settlement and development of sacred places are revealed in the cultural layering (palimpsest) evident in the contemporary landscape. Using an inclusive comparable platform broadens Western discourses of spirituality, planning and land management. It recognises multicultural aspects evident in contemporary settings, including power relations and settler practices of appropriation and conquest that continue in planning instruments and perpetuated spatial preferences. Such observations, together with spiritual indicators and attitudes provide a comprehensive exploration of Sitka⁰́₈s spiritual landscape to celebrate several cultural heritages on equal terms. With globalisation and ongoing land conflicts this work urges planners, policy makers and educators to consider the value of adding geographic and spiritual dimensions to enhance cross-cultural understanding. Practical applications for a range of local and international settings and individual decision-making are presented for consideration.

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