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Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education

A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw


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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Introduction George J. Sefa Dei 1


Istart the “Introduction” to this important collection of essays by acknowledging First Nations andAboriginal peoples of Canada for the space and location from which I am writing my thoughts and ideas into text. This is important especially since from time immemorial certain spaces and ter- ritories have come to be and are continually represented by colonizing practices. I will also do some- thing unconventional for an “Introduction” to an edited collection. In this piece, I will not undertake specific discussions on the individual pieces in the book. I leave that to the various sub-themes/sec- tion in which each chapter appears. My goal here is to simply reflect in a broad sense on some gen- eral ideas that guide the direction of this book. It has been such an honor and privilege to edit this reader on Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education. As an educator who has always striven to broach critical and oppositional knowledge, such moments allow for the sharing of ideas and for the opportunity to learn about multiple perspectives. Most of us are driven by an intellectual desire to diversify our academies in terms of actual physical bodies, knowledge representation, and the pol- itics of pursuing social and educational change. Our intellectual and political projects acknowledge, validate, and legitimate Indigenous knowledges and philosophies as ways of knowing in their own right. Unfortunately, there are times when one wonders whether the present academy may ever be able to shed the chains of its past. Hence, is the goal to...

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