• The category of “religion” in public classification: Charity registration of the Druid Network in England and Wales

      Owen, Suzanne; Taira, Teemu; University of Chester & Leeds Trinity University ; University of Turku (Brill, 2015-05-27)
      On 21 September 2010 the Druid Network was registered by the Charity Commission for England and Wales as a charity for the advancement of religion for public benefit. The decision document explores in detail whether it is possible to consider the Druid Network as ‘religious’ according to the charity law definition of religion. This chapter examines the decision itself as an example of how the category of ‘religion’ functions in public classification and extends it to the analysis of its significance for the field of Druidry in Britain. By extending the analysis to Druids themselves and to the media response, we investigate how the category of ‘religion’ functions in regulating, controlling and enabling different agencies.
    • The demise of the Beothuk as a past still present

      Owen, Suzanne; University of Chester/Leeds Trinity University (Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 2015-04-29)
      This article aims to investigate contemporary cultural representations of the Beothuk Indians in art, literature and museum displays in Newfoundland, Canada, focussing on ways these reimagine the past for the present, offering perspectives on contested histories, such as the circumstances leading to the demise of the Beothuk. Wiped out through the impact of colonialism, the Beothuk are the ‘absent other’ who continue to be remembered and made present through the creative arts, largely at the expense of other indigenous groups on the island. Rather than focussing on the ‘non-absent past’, according to Polish scholar Ewa Domańska, ‘instead we turn to a past that is somehow still present, that will not go away or, rather, that of which we cannot rid ourselves’ (2006, 346). Depictions of the last Beothuk are part of a cultural remembering where guilt and reconciliation are played out through media of the imagination.
    • Prayer with pain: Ceremonial suffering among the Mi'kmaq

      Owen, Suzanne; University of Chester/Leeds Trinity University (State University of New York Press, 2013-10-01)
      There are many ways to pray amongst Native American and First Nations, but considered the most ‘powerful’ are those that involve an element of physical suffering that can be regarded as gifts to ‘spirit’ and understood in the context that when something is asked for – visions, healing, etc. – then something must be given in exchange in order to restore the balance and promote respectful relationships. Prayer with pain in a ceremonial context, linking the individual to community, transforms personal suffering into empowerment gained through a shared healing experience.
    • The Sacred Alternative

      Owen, Suzanne; University of Chester/Leeds Trinity University (Routledge, 2016-02-29)
      The term ‘sacred’ broadens research to include groups and activities that cut across boundaries maintained by the WRP. Also, while some reject the term ‘religion’ to describe what they do, they still regard certain things and places as ‘sacred’. The limitations of Durkheim’s and Eliade’s ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ binary as an analytical framework become apparent when applied to cases where ‘religion’ is ambiguous, as an example from a Pagan festival shows. Despite this, a focus on ‘making sacred’ as a human activity that highlights a group’s interests is a useful alternative to the World Religions approach in Religious Studies.
    • Unsettled Natives in the Newfoundland Imaginary

      Owen, Suzanne; University of Chester; Leeds Trinity University (Brill, 2017-06-06)
      In Newfoundland, the last Beothuk died nearly two hundred years ago and both European settlers and Mi'kmaq have been blamed for their demise. This history is contentious, as is the way the demise of the Beothuk is represented in museums, literature and the arts, which may be regarded as public acts of remembering. Indigeneity debates here relate to other identity issues linked to resisting the subsumation of Newfoundland into Canada since confederation in 1949. Drawing on postcolonial literature studies, this chapter investigates how the theme of ‘unsettled natives’ – referring to both the subject (contemporary Newfoundlanders) and the object (Beothuk) – is portrayed in literature and art where the presence of the extinct Beothuk haunts the Newfoundland imaginary.
    • Walking in balance: Native American recovery programmes

      Owen, Suzanne; University of Chester / Leeds Trinity University (MDPI, 2014-10-20)
      This article reviews Native American ritual practices, frameworks and key concepts employed by several substance abuse treatments centres in the U.S. and Canada. It also examines the way Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Step programme has been modified to attract and serve the needs of Native Americans and First Nations and its potential impact on the ritual practices. Native concepts of wellbeing are highlighted and linked to the idea of living in “balance”.