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Land as Indigenous Epistemology

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Part of the Critical Studies of Education book series (CSOE,volume 16)

Abstract

In Western thought, Land is theorized almost exclusively through its physicality and its affordances without any epistemological or pedagogical significance for educational purposes. It is conceived of as a space that is empty and abstract, that is free, available, or un/occupied. However, in Indigenous philosophies and worldview, Land is a living entity and the source of Indigenous knowledges, pedagogies, cultures, languages and identities and includes the universe, all living and non-living entities and the spirit-world. Indigenous peoples see Land as a living entity, the source of life itself, such that there is no life without the Land. Land is seen as a manifestation of Spirit and as the source of all Indigenous knowledge, it is both teacher and pedagogy holding all Indigenous truths. Indigenous knowledge is generated from careful observation of the ecosystem and natural phenomena, observed by many people for millennia. For Indigenous people, Land, and spirit intertwine as sites of knowing to critically interrogate hegemonic knowledge systems and allow for knowledge pluralism and inclusion of new geographies of knowledge that center and reclaim Indigenous education and Elders’ cultural knowledges in schools.

Keywords

  • Land
  • Epistemology
  • Colonial difference
  • Spirit
  • Knowledge pluralism
  • Indigenization
  • Indigenism
  • Indigenous worldviews
  • Land and spirituality
  • Life-force
  • Healing

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Dei, G.J.S., Karanja, W., Erger, G. (2022). Land as Indigenous Epistemology. In: Elders’ Cultural Knowledges and the Question of Black/ African Indigeneity in Education. Critical Studies of Education, vol 16. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84201-7_5

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