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The Souls of Yoruba Folk

Indigeneity, Race, and Critical Spiritual Literacy in the African Diaspora


Temitope E. Adefarakan

The Souls of Yoruba Folk explores the spiritual lives and experiences of sixteen Africans of Yoruba descent in Canada, and investigates how they make meaning of their Indigenous heritage within the geopolitical space of Eurocentric Canadian culture. The book highlights how Yoruba peoples in the African diaspora strategically utilize their Indigenous spiritual knowledges as decolonizing tools of navigation, subversion, and resistance to colonial oppression in the purportedly ‘multicultural’ space of Canada. The author powerfully weaves together literature of Yoruba peoples from multiple contexts, spanning the African continent and its diaspora, including the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. With its strong emphasis on equity and the usefulness of spirituality in contexts of schooling, education, teaching, and learning, The Souls of Yoruba Folk is ideal for critical and multicultural education courses, and will be especially useful for educators and researchers in the areas of critical interdisciplinary studies, sociology, women’s studies/feminism, anti-racist scholarship and pedagogy, critical education, Canadian studies, equity and religious studies, and African/Black diasporic studies.
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Chapter 1. A Call … to the Souls of Yoruba Folk


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Many stories of the Yoruba have been told: stories by artists, often in the form of written literature, visual art, poetry, and theater; stories on film, namely from Nollywood; stories by academics, historically from an anthropological perspective that framed us Yoruba within the grand old metanarrative of Africans as primitive, subhuman, and uncivilized objects of study in need of Western (read: White) aid. More recently, academic stories of Yoruba peoples are being told by Africans (who are also often Yoruba) in an attempt to rescue ourselves from those Eurocentric narratives that have characterized us as bankrupt of our humanity. Many of these stories have been told with the intent to write back to empire, humanizing us while simultaneously telling of the atrocities of transatlantic slavery, colonialism, racism, and sexism. These stories proliferate and continue to grow, and rightly so. Woven in and out of these artistic and academic narratives have been those told by the griots, the Babalawos and Iyalawos, the storytellers sitting by the fireside telling Yoruba trickster tales and fables to the young ones as they listen intently. Some narratives have been captured, reimagined, and creatively re-spun by artists and academics alike, while others have likely been lost to us and died with our wisest sages. Inevitably, there are many stories of the Yoruba. And what I offer here in The Souls of Yoruba Folk: Indigeneity, Race, and Critical Spiritual Literacy in...

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