Indigenonymous – silent voices in academia and other mute-ations

I was mulling over Indigenous research methodologies, cause that’s how I roll…how I get my crazy on šŸ™‚
Shawn Wilson has published a wonderful book on Indigenous research…(I love everything about this book by the way) one of the discussions is how there are experts on indigenous ways of being out there that have been informing many of the academics, policies and legislation out there…people who have studied our communities and know what the issues are…without an ounce of indigenous connectivity or perspective at all. YES really.
Only in the last twenty years or so have indigenous theorists, philosophers and like-academics broken through and broken down the many barriers in place within mainstream society.
It is interesting how our many indigenous nations could be scrutinized for so long as if we are nothing more than goo under a microscope, part of the scenery, an oddity to be dissected.
I thought about this amongst the many conversations I have had with my non-indigenous friends and colleagues, people who complain and comment about not having a culture…that they remember or can say they have inherited. It is like they are adrift at sea, without any ores or compass. They are directionless. Or so they say…so I have heard.
I wondered what would happen if people did adopt our teachings. What would happen if we shared our ways with anyone who wanted to learn…and the knowledge then became embodied within a non-indigenous being…who was then able to teach, and lead. Would we know the difference? Could we truly share our ways with others and trust that knowledge to be respected and shared as it is meant to be rather than exploited? Shared, lived and not cross examined, not analyzed. How can we condemn another group for appropriating our culture when most of us are unaware that appropriation is happening. And is it always to be an US-THEM conversation?
These are some of the questions that surface….the call to action is here. How many have found their indigenonymous voices heard? How many non-indigenous elders do we have out there carrying out the teachings? What would it look like if we got what we wanted? Self-determination, Nations.
Have we kept silent or been silenced so much that we are but copies of the collective reflection? Miniatures of the giant we so loathe. Or will we adapt? What would it be like to study the non-indigenous as they study us.
How interesting.
What might be some of the research questions be?
Why do they not have their languages? Where did their customs go? What is their spirituality? What would happen if? Do they have fetal alcohol syndrome in their communities? What do they talk about when they gather socially? What do they have to offer us?

They seem so preoccupied with figuring US out, they haven’t looked at themselves. Narcissism does that.
Deny that anything is wrong. Refuse to acknowledge or accept. All of those people…they’re so…ugh.

Are ya mad? See what I just did there? These and many of the comments like this are floating around out there like its OK. These sorts of discussions and discourse are free speech some argue. People have the right to voice opinions!!
It reminds me of a conversation I had with friends not long ago. We were talking about the new movement out there and the changes that we see today compared with two hundred years ago. My friend said…well at least people aren’t getting killed for being native anymore.
I thought about this statement…and while it does sound logical and compassionate. I realized I did not like the statement at all. These and statements like these are used to minimize the damage currently being done out there. It is a get out of jail free card.
It’s like someone I was talking with about donating money to Africa for the children and I said to the guy…I’d more likely support the third world conditions right here in our country that somewhere else…you know what he said? Well, the children here are not as bad off as they are in Africa.
Statements like these are rationale to turning a blind eye to that which one cannot acknowledge fully. If one acknowledges it, one must act. If there is acceptance that things are not quite right in this country…we MIGHT just have to fix it. Don’t MINIMIZE someone’s pain, just because you can’t deal with it. Minimizing it is just as bad, if not WORSE than ignoring it all together, because what you’ve done essentially is acknowledge it and then knowingly chosen NOT to do anything about it.
It’s NOT ok.
Things here are still bad, people are still dying.
Children are going without.
Don’t ignore it. Do something about it. What can you do? Educate yourself.
Ask the questions that you dare not ask. Ask the questions you are afraid to ask. We r not going to get out of this situation by ourselves. Everyone is being called to act.
But you know what? Luckily there are enough Indigenous researchers out there who are bicultural and can help translate their indigenous worldview. So that expanding the mind enough to fit another worldview another perspective becomes commonplace.
We have had to limit ourselves to an alien worldview…it does work both ways. Expansion, limitations, change and contract. Yup, I’m talking about western ideologies. Again purposefully using terminology and words that strike chords…why do these strike certain chords? What is it about the wording or phrases that cause reactions. It is these types of dialogue that hinder simply because there is a lack of something. Can you guess what that would be?
A genuine lack of respect for another causes a great deal of conflict and criticism. Can you openly criticize someone you identify with…can you condemn someone you understand fully? be judgemental when you don’t know and could never know what they experience? What is respect? It is earned.
Other perspectives are to be valued because it is another way to see the world around us. Someone to compare notes with.
I’ll stop the offending tone and strange homogenous lumping of non-indigenous people’s into one big category by using the word non-indigenous and non-native to describe the people NOT like me.

I like to say (and Im sure others have said it before me) we love you for the pain brought to us, since without this great pain, we would never know our greatest strength.


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