“So, Are You a Feminist Epistemologist?” Holistic Pedagogy for Conversations on Indigeneity, Love, and Crossing Borders

  • Kelsey Dayle John


This piece grapples with entanglements of education and identity. Colonial ideas about “full blood” Nativeness have haunted the author’s half-blood identity. In this chapter, she shares a moment that represents how wrestling with her embodied contradictory state leads her to understand holistic education that integrates body, soul, and spirit. This narrative snapshot captures the relationship between the author’s full-blood Navajo father and herself in a moment when we discuss issues of indigeneity, spirituality, and epistemology. In his one question, she experiences his fatherly love that breaks down boundaries made by colonialism, gender, race, and discipline.


  1. Palmer, P. J. (2010). Transformative conversations on campus. In P. J. Palmer, A. Zajonc, & M. Scribner (Eds.), The heart of higher education: A call to renewal, transforming the academy through collegial conversations (pp. 125–149). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar

Related Further Reading

  1. Anzaldúa, G. (2002). Foreword. In C. Moraga & G. Anzaldúa (Eds.), This bridge called my back: Writings by radical women of color (3rd ed., pp. xxxv–xxxix). Berkeley, CA: Third Woman Press.Google Scholar
  2. Deloria, P. J. (1998). Playing Indian. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Forte, M. C. (Ed.). (2013). Who is an Indian? Race, place, and the politics of indigeneity in the Americas. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  4. Hamill, J. F. (2003). Show me your CDIB: Blood quantum and Indian identity among Indian people of Oklahoma. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(3), 267–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kovach, M. E. (2010). Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  6. TallBear, K. (2013). Native American DNA: Tribal belonging and the false promise of genetic science. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London, UK: Zed Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelsey Dayle John
    • 1
  1. 1.Cultural Foundations of Education DepartmentSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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