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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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7. “I Live Somewhere Else but I’ve Never Left Here”: Indigenous Knowledge, History, and Place Michael Davis 113


Indigenous knowledge is represented and constructed in multiple ways in Western discourses.Anderson, for example, has examined the intersections between Indigenous knowledge and Western legal discourses on intellectual property (Anderson, 2009). The dominance of Western dis- courses of archaeology and cultural heritage management vis-a-vis Australian Aboriginal knowledge and narratives is a focus in work by Smith (2007), who writes about what she describes as an ‘autho- rized heritage discourse.’ This is characterised as emphasising “the material, or tangible, nature of heritage, along with monumentality, grand scale, time depth and aesthetics” (Smith, 2007, p. 163). This authorised heritage discourse is, says Smith (2007) “informed by archaeological concerns with materiality and assumptions about the representational relationships between material culture and identity, [and] obscures or marginalizes or misrecognizes those identities created using conceptual- izations of heritage that sit outside of the authorized heritage discourse” (p. 164). The unequal engage- ment between Indigenous knowledge and development discourses is a subject of inquiry by Sillitoe (1998, 2002, 2007) among many others. Indigenous people produce and articulate their knowledge in other ways, especially through expressions of difference, connections to, and being on (and in) country, identity, memory and his- tory. In this chapter I explore some of these dif ferent discourses, and consider the possibilities for finding some common ground between them. In discussing these competing narratives and discours- es, I turn to some of the literature on theories of place, as these can contribute to understandings of Indigenous knowledge and identity formation. In exploring these themes...

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