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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 TO SECTIONS Chapters in this book are written by scholars working in the areas of Indigenous knowledges and anti-colonial studies. While our focus is on education (broadly defined), we have planned for the book to have an inter- and multi-disciplinary edge. The book is divided into five (5) sections, with con- tributions dealing with overarching themes. A good number of the contributors speak from a posi- tion of what elsewhere (Dei, 1996, 1999) I have termed “epistemic saliency ,” that is, speaking with/from the authenticity of their own experiences and voices, a space that allows local subjects and scholars to speak about their informed knowledge base as opposed to being spoken for . Politically, such epistemic saliency allows us to accord salience to the voice of the oppressed, mar- ginalized, and colonized bodies as they recount and reflect upon the experiences of colonization, oppression, marginalization, and resistance both at the local level but also in connection to lar ger social and theoretical frameworks. SECTION ONE: INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGES AS PHILOSOPHY AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF DECOLONIZATION Section One broaches the conceptual and practical questions of Indigenous knowledges as philoso- phies of knowing and the implications for decolonization. It is significant to have clarity when engag- ing “Indigenous knowledge” as a way of knowing, especially given the voraciousness of its critics. S E C T I O N I Indigenous Knowledges as Philosophy and the Implications of Decolonization Dei fm thru 2_7x10 1/10/2011 3:07 PM Page 15 Such issues as the history...

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