The big question – Western scholars have almost certainly always approached Native political organization from a purely Occidental mindset ( read Said’s Orientalism). Greece, Rome, and Camelot all weigh heavily in the mythological landscape of American adolescence. Here power is wielded by the sword and armies of gilded knights patrol the empires of patriarchal kings. In an evocative new article, Julie Holt revisits Geertzs notion of the Theater State (those interested in the performative aspects of space should look to Lars Fogelin) and the means by which power is manifest in ritual behavior. Rather than unification through power and domination, she suggests Cahokia coalesced under unifying themes of ritual and myth. In this formulation, people wanted to participate in the centralizing group dynamics making Cahokia. She proposes a willing populace embodying a shared worldview helped to construct the monuments making the site, much as in the same way Gibson proposes Poverty Point was built. This perspective is incredibly useful for thinking about group labor in the past, and more comments will follow on this concept, but one point of contention is in the dichotomous thinking that characterizes the chiefdom/state dialectic. This kind of thinking is essentialist, forming breaks and categories where none such natural divisions exist. But nevertheless, a great, inspiring article. More comments on the Geertz to follow.