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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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28. Indigenous Knowledge: Multiple Approaches Priscilla Settee 434


As a First Nations Swampy Cree woman,1 I am proud of my heritage. My ancestral lands werelocated in the boreal landscape of northern Saskatchewan. The region was once an intact for- est ecosystem that contained an undulating patchwork of slow-growing ever green forests. It still shares weathered outcrops of granite and innumerable lakes, marshes, bogs, and other wetlands that are typically found along the Canadian Shield. This magnificent shield sweeps in a broad arc through northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. I first became interested in Indigenous Knowledge Systems because of my roots in this resource-rich community. As a second-generation urban First Nations person, it was the self-sufficiency, beauty, and knowledge of northern and land-based com- munities that spoke to me. Teaching in the North in the mid-1970s, I witnessed a transformation. Communities, which were self-sufficient, were being negatively impacted by development in the form of clear-cuts, forestry, and mining. In 1967, the Squaw Rapids Dam, later named the E. B. Campbell Dam, was completed. The disruption of the natural water flow had a negative impact on the area’s natural resources. Economically, it was catastrophic for those who earned their livelihood as fish- ers and trappers. Over time, many people were forced to move to cities in search of work or languish with destroyed local economies and ways of life. I noticed the commonality of Western developmental impact on the majority of Indigenous communities in my province and throughout Canada. The human cost of development was immeasurable. During the early 1970s,...

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