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Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education

A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw

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Edited By George J. Sefa Dei

An important academic goal is to understand ongoing contestations in knowledge in the search to engage everyday social practice and experiences, as well as the social barriers and approaches to peaceful human coexistence. This reader pulls together ideas concerning Indigenous epistemologies (e.g., worldviews, paradigms, standpoints, and philosophies) as they manifest themselves in the mental lives of persons both from and outside the orbit of the usual Euro-American culture. The book engages Indigenous knowledges as far more than a «contest of the marginals», thereby challenging the way oppositional knowledges are positioned, particularly in the Western academy. Subsequently, this book is a call to recognize and acknowledge Indigenous knowledges as legitimate knowings in their own right, and not necessarily in competition with other sources or forms of knowledge. The project offers an opportunity for the critical thinker to continue on a de-colonial/anti-colonial intellectual journey in ways informed by Indigenous theorizing.

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Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw xi

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This book is a bold attempt to challenge and make very uncomfortable the imperial proceduresof knowledge making. Though there is much work concerning the transformation of schooling and education, this book gives us a genuine sense of hope. Writing through a communal spirit and engendered by the will to liberate educational philosophies, Dei and the authors address the differ- ent forms of epistemological colonization, which reifies itself through the pedagogue and resides within conventional classroom spaces. Wherever we look, Indigenous communities are making valid and legitimate claims for the recognition, authentication, and preservation of their cultures, histo- ries, heritage, and languages. Local cultural knowledge systems are similarly being contested for val- idation and legitimation. All is part of the continuing struggle for identity , representation, and authentication in a search for human and collective dignity. Therefore, every knowledge system is worthy of examination in the provision of education to learners. My own foray in Indigenous knowledge goes back to my early training as a science educator when I examined the academic and practical fascination with Indigenous science and its contributions to science education in general. Our institutions of higher learning have placed tremendous responsibility on educators to con- textualize knowledge such that learners develop a deep and critical understanding of everyday social practice and the experiential reality as legitimate sources of knowledge. We work with knowl- edge from the known to the unknown. By working from the familiar and known, learners are able to develop a shared sense of identification and...

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