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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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6. Space, Time and Unified Knowledge : Following the Path of Vine Deloria, Jr. Jefferey D. Anderson 92

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Vine Deloria, Jr. was perhaps the foremost Native American thinker of the twentieth century. Inmany of his later writings, he looked back on a career in which he had gained some reaction after publication of Custer Died for Your Sins (1969), but soon after, as he reflected later in life, he “hit the glass ceiling that minority writers eventually hit when American white intellectuals no longer pay attention to them” (Bender et al., 1998, p. 24). At most, relevant academic disciplines respond- ed to his works on an ad hoc basis, usually only for nominal citation, in defense of their model or discipline, or to take one of his particular calls to action seriously. As Treat points out, Deloria’s works on religion drew little attention from theologians (Deloria & Treat, 1999, p. 3), despite his solid back- ground in comparative theology and his primary aim to engage dialogue about religion in God Is Red (1994) and The Metaphysics of Modern Existence (1979). Following an ancient academic tradition, his opponents labeled, caricatured, and discarded his work by exaggerating a partial reading and contrasting it to the current, if always transient, state of the art in their disciplines. The book Red Earth, White Lies (1995), for example, only attracted the defensive posturing of archeologists united to defend their science as a whole, while disregarding his ultimate concerns. It should be noted that some of the cherished theories about Native American prehistory at the time have since proved to be challengeable and falsifiable in...

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