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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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As already noted, until quite recently, the implications of Indigenous knowledges and philoso-phies for schooling and education in Euro-American contexts have lar gely been ignored or under-explored. Yet such knowledges have important educative value for learners. Therefore, how can we read such knowledges politically, practically and pedagogically to envision new and differ- ent forms of schooling and education for youth? What are the lessons Indigenous knowledges can offer for transforming our current school systems? Is there a link between Indigenous knowledge and science education? How can we conceptualize Indigenous Knowledge as Indigenous Science for teaching about science, health, culture, arts and technology? What contributions can local cul- tural resource knowledge bring to re-visioning genuine educational options for youth? And, what are the pedagogic, instructional and communicative relevance of Indigenous philosophies, includ- ing story forms, oral and communicative practices? These are some of the tough questions that this section addresses. We do not presume to have any easy answers to these questions. What we do know is that there is an urgency for an intellectual politics of disengaging from a colonial educational lega- cy. The colonial paradigm of the production, interrogation, validation and dissemination of knowl- edge needs to be replaced. The focus on Indigenous knowledge has a politics that envisions a system of education in Indigenous traditions and philosophies at par with mainstream education. Indigenous perspectives are founded upon and express thoughts about the ways of life, traditions and cultures of local peoples. All learners can, and do, benefit from...

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