Mills

The Principal Reincarnation Researchers

Antonia Mills, Ph.D.

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Antonia Mills was born on April 14, 1942, in Iowa City, Iowa. She received her undergraduate degree from Radcliffe/Harvard in 1964 and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard in 1982. She currently teaches at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Prince George.

Mills wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the Beaver Indian Prophet Dance and Related Movements among North American Indians. She had been working with the Beaver, a British Columbian first nations people, since finishing college in 1964. It was from the Beaver that she first learned about indigenous American reincarnation beliefs and cases, but she took little interest in them until 1984, when she met Ian Stevenson. Stevenson had been researching reincarnation cases in Alaska and was looking for someone to carry on his work in British Columbia. That summer Mills began an intensive study of beliefs and cases among the Beaver and the Gitxsan and in 1985 received a two-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her work among the Gitxsan and Witsuwit’en (Mills 1988a, 1988b). Between September, 1987, and January, 1989, she made three trips to India to investigate cases there as part of an effort to “replicate” Stevenson’s findings through the study of cases similar to those he had reported (Mills, 1989; Mills, Haraldsson & Keil, 1994).

In 1988 Mills relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she held a dual appointment as Research Assistant Professor in Stevenson’s Division of Personality Studies (now Division of Perceptual Studies, DOPS) of the University of Virginia Medical Center and as Lecturer in the UVA Department of Anthropology. She remained with Stevenson until accepting the post at UNBC in 1994. During this period she returned to India to study cases of Hindu children who recalled lives as Moslems and Moslem children who recalled lives as Hindus (Mills, 1990). She did a comparative study of American children with imaginary playmates and Indian children who remembered previous lives (Mills, 2003) and began a longitudinal study of persons with past-life memories (Mills,  2006). She also studied American and Canadian children with nightmares apparently related to things that had happened in previous lives (Mills, 1994c).

Mills co-edited (with anthropologist Richard Slobodin) the book Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit. In 1985 she was asked by the Gitxsan and Witsuwit’en to support them as an expert witness in their land claims suit against the Canadian government. The report she submitted to the court was published as Eagle Down Is Our Law: Witsuwit'en Law, Feasts, and Land Claims. A third book, Hang on to These Words: Johnny David's Delgamuukw Testimony, also sprang from that trial. A series of papers detailing Gitxsan, Witsuwit’en and Beaver reincarnation beliefs and cases followed (Mills, 1994a, 1994d, 2001, 2005, 2010; Mills & Champion, 1996).

Mills collaborated with me on a trait index to North American Indian and Inuit reincarnation beliefs (Matlock & Mills, 1994) and with Indian philosopher Kuldip Dhiman on a follow-up investigation of an unusual reincarnation case originally reported by Stevenson (Mills & Dhiman, 2011). She co-authored with psychologist Stephen J. Lynn a review of the past-life memory phenomenon for the book Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence, published by the American Psychological Association in 2000, and with psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker, M.D. a similar chapter for a second edition under the title of Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence (Dissociation, Trauma, Memory, and Hypnosis) in 2013. She also contributed a Foreword and an article to Warren Jefferson's 2008 Reincarnation Beliefs of North American Indians: Soul Journeys, Metamorphoses, and Near-Death Experiences.

Mills has four children and five grandchildren. Her publications on reincarnation are listed below.

Sources

Personal communication from Antonia Mills

http://www.unbc.ca/first-nations-studies/faculty

Publications on Reincarnation

Matlock, J. G., & Mills, A. (1994). A trait index to North American Indian and Inuit reincarnation beliefs.  In A. Mills & R. Sobodin (Eds.), Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit (pp. 299-356). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Mills, A. (1988a). A preliminary investigation of reincarnation among the Beaver and Gitksan Indians. Anthropologica, 30, 23-59.

Mills, A. (1988b). A comparison of Wet’suwet’en cases of the reincarnation type with Gitksan and Beaver. Journal of Anthropological Research, 44, 385-415.

Mills, A. (1989). A replication study: Three cases of children in northern India who are said to remember a previous life. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3, 133-184.

Mills, A. (1990). Moslem cases of the reincarnation type in Northern India: A test of the hypothesis of imposed identification. Parts I and II. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 4, 171-202.

Mills, A. (1993). Cases of reported Moslem reincarnation in Hindu India: A study of the borderline between metaphor and reality. International Journal for the Study of Religions, 1(2), 41-57.

Mills, A. (1994a). Cultural contrast: The British Columbia Court's evaluation of the Gitksan-Wet’suwet’en and their own sense of self-worth as revealed in cases of reported reincarnation. BC Studies, No. 104, 149-172.

Mills, A. (1994b). Making a scientific investigation of ethnographic cases suggestive of reincarnation. In D. E Young & J.-G. [A.] Goulet (Eds.), Being Changed by Cross-Cultural Encounters: The Anthropology of Extraordinary Experience (pp. 237-269). Peterborough, ON.

Mills, A. (1994c). Nightmares in western children: An alternative interpretation suggested by data in three cases. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 88, 309-325.

Mills, A. (1994d). Rebirth and identity: Three Gitksan cases of pierced-ear birthmarks. In A. Mills & R. Sobodin (Eds.), Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit (pp.  211-241). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Mills, A. (1994e). Reincarnation belief among North Americans Indian and Inuit: Context, distribution and variation. In A. Mills & R. Sobodin (Eds.), Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit (pp.  15-37). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Mills, A. (2001). Sacred land and coming back: How Gitxsan and Witsuwit’en reincarnation stretches Western boundaries. Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 21, 309-331.

Mills, A. (2003). Are children with imaginary playmates and children said to remember previous lives cross-culturally comparable categories? Transcultural Psychiatry, 40, 63–91.

Mills, A. (2004). Inferences from the case of Ajendra Singh Chauhan: The effect of parental questioning, of meeting the ‘‘previous life’’ family, an aborted attempt to quantify probabilities, and the impact on his life as a young adult. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 18, 609–641.

Mills, A. (2005). Gitksan and Witsuwit’en experience of the boundaries of the self: Body-bounded or spirit bound? Journal of Religious Studies and Theology, 24(2), 81-116.

Mills, A. (2006). Back from death: Young adults in northern India who as children were said to remember a previous life, with or without a shift in religion (Hindu to Moslem or vice versa). Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly, 31, 141-156.

Mills, A. (2008). Foreword. In W. Jefferson, Reincarnation Beliefs of North American Indians: Soul Journeys, Metamorphoses, and Near-Death Experiences (pp. 1-3). Summertown, TN: Native Voices.

Mills, A. (2008). That's my chair: The Gitkxan reincarnation case of Rhonda Mead. In W. Jefferson, Reincarnation Beliefs of North American Indians: Soul Journeys, Metamorphoses, and Near-Death Experiences (pp. 20-27). Summertown, TN: Native Voices.

Mills, A. (2010). Understanding the conundrum of rebirth experience of the Beaver, Gitxsan, and Witsuwit’en. Anthropology and Humanism, 35, 172–191.

Mills, A., & Champion, L. (1996). Reincarnation as integration, adoption out as dissociation: Examples from First Nations northwest British Columbia. Anthropology of Consciousness, 7(3), 30-43.

Mills, A., & Dhiman, K. (2011). Sumitra returned in the body of Sumitra: A posthumous longitudinal study of the significance of the Shiva/Sumitra case of the possession type. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 59 (223), 145-193.

Mills, A., & Lynn, S. J. (2000). Past-life experiences. In E. Cardeña, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence (pp. 283–313). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Mills, A., Haraldsson, E., & Keil, H. H. J. (1994). Replication studies of cases suggestive of reincarnation by three independent investigators. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 88, 207-219.

Mills, A., Nyce, D., Nyce, E., Gosnell, J., Grandison, P., & Plante, L. (2011). The Nisga’a paradigm of rebirth. Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 31(2), 85-95.

Mills, A., & Sobodin, R. (Eds.) (1994). Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Mills, A., & Tucker, J. B. (2013). Past-life experiences. In E. Cardeña, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence (Dissociation, Trauma, Memory, and Hypnosis) (2nd ed.) (pp. 303-332). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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