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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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3. We Are All One: Holistic Thought-Forms within Indigenous SocietiesIndigeneity and Holism Farah Shroff 53


Once one is one no more, no less: error begins with duality; unity knows no error —SANAI, 11TH CENTURY PERSIAN POET The holistic concept of social, psychological, and spiritual interconnectivity is a central aspect ofIndigeneity. In this chapter , we explore holistic thought-forms as one way of deepening our understanding of Indigenous societies. Various scholars who theorize Indigeneity mention the importance of valuing relationships between people (communal belonging) and the earth, holistic and circular understandings of the world, and ultimately , about spirituality (Agrawal, 2010; Ball, 2004; Cajete, 2005; Dei, 2008). This chapter concretizes some of these ideas. While this chapter does not focus on this, concepts of interconnectivity within Indigenous ways of knowing translate into various values: relationships with others and self and ultimately to helping others and being of service—kindness and compassion. The implications of teaching these ideas within educational settings are profound; if the intellect and the heart were engaged in educa- tional settings, the leaders of the world would come to their positions with values that would chal- lenge greed and the lust of power. Greetings within various languages of Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), the Americas and elsewhere, include such concepts as “ gorbanet” which in Arabic and Farsi means “I sacrifice myself for you.” Most contemporary Farsi speakers utter this word virtually every time they are say- ing goodbye so for most people the connotations of “gorbanet” are about the importance of their rela- tionship with that person. However, embedded within the language is the...

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