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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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13. Sacred Mountains and Ivory Towers: Indigenous Pedagogies of Place and Invasions from Modernity Michael Marker 197

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Indigenous scholars, having recently arrived to the academy , have brought their communitieswith them. That is, they have been trying to wedge a space for the voices of their ancestors and elders to be heard in the halls of universities. Indigenous academics have been trying to introduce conversations from their elders about the meanings of history , place, and spirit. The academy, an architect of the colonial erasure of Indigenous worldviews, has been a precarious place for Indigeneity. In their struggles to make space for silenced and marginalized histories, Indigenous intel- lectuals have presented distinct challenges to mainstream assumptions about knowledge and social progress. They have brought their memories of community realities with them to their positions at universities. Consciously and unconsciously, the Indigenous community lives within them. This distance between the Indigenous communities and the academy is one the deepest felt prob- lems for Native academics. My own experience as a high school teacher and faculty member at a tribal college has propelled much of my inquiry about what education can do to change things for Indigenous communities. I have heard people talk about what was wrong with schools, and I have listened to elders and parents discuss what education should provide for their youth and for the revival of the community. The Indigenous scholar not only brings the community with her/him, but the com- munity draws the scholar back from the ivory tower into the intellectually messy world of day-to- day, on-the-ground dilemmas. Said (1994), tells us that “no one...

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