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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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26. Indigenous Spirituality and Decolonization: Methodology for the Classroom Eric Ritskes 411

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Much of the writing on Indigenous knowledges operating within the Western academy empha-sizes the importance of engagement, embodied learning, and not “sitting in pristine fashion” outside of other knowledge, but choosing instead to actively engage with multiple ways of know- ing (Dei, 2000). Indigenous spirituality is seen as a vital aspect of Indigenous knowledges and yet, too often, it is left unpacked in terms of engagement with the Western academy. Both Indigenous knowledges and spirituality stem from lived experiences of the individual and the community and yet little time has been spent on how these oppositional ways of knowing can both resist and exist within the Western academy, a site of hegemonic power that seeks to posit itself as the sole provider and authenticator of knowledge. Indigenous spirituality weaves its way inextricably through all aspects of life so how can it be brought to a Western academy that seeks to fragment and compart- mentalize knowledge as a method of control and containment? How can a sense of community and connection be brought into a space that alienates and distances people from their connections and their whole selves? These are some of the questions that this chapter will seek to explore. In examining the links between Indigenous spirituality and the Western classroom, this chap- ter seeks to explore the connection between community and classroom and how both are vital sites of knowledge production which cannot work or exist apart from each other. This chapter recognizes that the term “community” has too...

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