Publication details

Anarcha-Indigenism : Indigenous Knowledge as the Key to Survival



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Melissa K. Nelson writes that the forcing of Eurocentric education upon Indigenous peoples “has harmed all peoples, regardless of ethnic background, as we all have other creative, imaginative, and emotional ways of knowing that have been disrupted, repressed, and atrophied” (Nelson 53). Eurocentric knowledge is insufficient to tackle ecocide, to use Ward Churchill’s term, and, as Nelson argues, humanity will not survive in dystopian future without Indigenous knowledge. While she affirms that we need to transform our society and embrace Indigeneity, she warns against White appropriation of Indigenous ways (Nelson 60). I suggest that an exploitation-free transformation is possible as long as humanity respects Indigenous leadership, and propose anarcha-Indigenism—an intersection between Indigenous political theory, anarchism, environmentalism and Indigenous feminism—as a viable solution. I argue that anarcha-Indigenism is powerful in opposing ecological destruction as it is rooted in the Indigenous concept of interconnectedness of all things in the world and respect for the natural environment. It addresses mutual dependencies that exist between the state, capitalism, colonialism, ecological destruction, white supremacy and patriarchy. The paper presents an example of a powerful Indigenous leader, the Inuk writer and environmentalist Sheila Watt-Cloutier who, like Nelson, sees preservation of Indigenous knowledge as crucial to saving the planet. In her recent testimonial work, Watt-Cloutier presents parallels between the destruction of the environment and of Inuit culture and connects historical traumas with climate change. She uses literature to speak to people about important issues and to project her revolutionary ideas, hence performing what Cherríe Moraga sees as a principal role of a writer (155). The paper elaborates on ideas introduced by Moraga, Nelson, and Watt-Cloutier, as well as principal anarcha-Indigenist scholars concerning the role of Indigenous knowledge and leadership in the preservation of the environment.
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