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Beyond epistemic provincialism: De-provincializing Indigenous resistance

Cash Ahenakew, Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, Garrick Cooper, Hemi Hireme


This article is part of a transnational collaboration between Indigenous scholars concerned about the provincialization of Indigenous struggles within modern metaphysics. This can be seen at work in notions of land as property, tribe as (modern) nation, and sovereignty as anthropocentric agency grounded on rational choice. Drawing on critiques of modernity articulated by Latin American scholars, as well as Indigenous scholars exploring the limits of current forms of political resistance, we argue that this modern metaphysics generates a form of politics that neglects an important existential dimension of Indigenous heritages. We use Indigenous education as an example to affirm that epistemic provincialization has been both necessary and problematic in the current context. We argue that the limitations of strategies for recognition, representation and redistribution need to be complemented by existential insights that can revitalize possibilities of existence based on ancestral wisdom and on the urgency of considering our shared fate in a finite planet facing unprecedented challenges.

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