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The Souls of Yoruba Folk

Indigeneity, Race, and Critical Spiritual Literacy in the African Diaspora


Temitope E. Adefarakan

The Souls of Yoruba Folk explores the spiritual lives and experiences of sixteen Africans of Yoruba descent in Canada, and investigates how they make meaning of their Indigenous heritage within the geopolitical space of Eurocentric Canadian culture. The book highlights how Yoruba peoples in the African diaspora strategically utilize their Indigenous spiritual knowledges as decolonizing tools of navigation, subversion, and resistance to colonial oppression in the purportedly ‘multicultural’ space of Canada. The author powerfully weaves together literature of Yoruba peoples from multiple contexts, spanning the African continent and its diaspora, including the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. With its strong emphasis on equity and the usefulness of spirituality in contexts of schooling, education, teaching, and learning, The Souls of Yoruba Folk is ideal for critical and multicultural education courses, and will be especially useful for educators and researchers in the areas of critical interdisciplinary studies, sociology, women’s studies/feminism, anti-racist scholarship and pedagogy, critical education, Canadian studies, equity and religious studies, and African/Black diasporic studies.
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Chapter 2. Theories of Diasporic Indigeneity and Black Feminisms: Living and Imagining Indigeneity Differently


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Living and Imagining Indigeneity Differently

The Souls of Yoruba Folk is anchored in three theoretical frameworks: Indigenous knowledges, anticolonial theory, and Black/African feminisms. I draw from and build on these theoretical models of analysis to critically contextualize the experiences of Yoruba peoples in diasporic and Euro-dominant contexts. Indigenous literatures and anticolonial and African/Black feminist frameworks allow for a more nuanced and critical reading of how issues of race, class, spirituality, gender, language, religion, and especially notions of Indigeneity interlock in the lives and experiences of Yoruba peoples in the diaspora.

Within the anticolonial discursive framework, there is a particular focus on the term “Indigenous” as a vitally significant concept in anticolonial thought. I argue that this term needs to be revisited, extended beyond existing ideas, and critically interrogated where diasporic Africans are concerned, so that critical spiritual literacy as a conceptual tool can be effectively understood and applied in this book. I maintain that Indigeneity (or Indigenous identities) need to be imagined differently so that the unique positionings of especially diasporic Africans can be accorded a space to theorize the particularities of their experiences. In other words, there is a need for a shift in how notions of Indigeneity are taken up so that they are not imagined as ← 17 | 18 → singular, in the way that those who often work from exclusively Eurocentric perspectives do. Hence, more flexible approaches with Indigeneity...

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