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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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Section Two situates questions of identity and representation in Indigenous knowledge produc-tion. Indigenous knowledges are themselves also demarcated by questions and trajectories of social difference (race, gender, class, sexuality, [dis]ability, language, religion, and culture). Indigenous knowledge is about claims of local authenticities, power, and the construction of social meanings. Given the increasing importance and awareness of Indigenous knowledge among, par- ticularly, colonized peoples, we cannot downplay the relevance of putting such questions as the (mis)appropriation and ownership of local knowledges on the table for discussion. We must exam- ine the socially constructed ways of making meaning in today’s highly racialized, gendered, sexu- alized, classed, (re)-colonial, and imperial settings. All Indigenous knowledges speak about race, class, gender, sexual, (dis)ability, and sexuality questions (e.g., the social meanings conveyed in proverbs, songs, fables, tales, medicinal practices, and ethno-music). How the world is read is itself a political act, and it implicates us all (as readers and learners) in how we come to appreciate, inter- rogate, and challenge established hegemonic ways of knowing. The academic project of affirming difference and identity is primarily to examine how we can promote multi-centric knowings. As already noted, Indigenous knowledges are increasingly being claimed and resisted. But why? There is the idea of an Indigenous discursive framework as anoth- er way of knowing that challenges the historic dominance of particular ways of knowing. Indigenous knowledge is about representation—who, what, and how. All forms of representation are political and contested. The ideological colonization of...

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