Indigenous Place-Thought & Agency amongst Humans and Non-Humans (First Woman and Sky Woman Go on a European World Tour!)

Author(s)Vanessa Watts
JournalDecolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society
Thematic Cluster/Special Issue
AbstractThis paper will examine how agency is circulated through human and non-human worlds in the creation and maintenance of society from an Indigenous point of view. Through processes of colonization, the corruption of essential categories of Indigenous conceptions of the world (the feminine and land) has led to a disconnect between how this agency is manifested in society. Through a comparison between the epistemological-ontological divide and an Indigenous conception of Place-Thought, this paper will argue that agency becomes exclusive to humans, thereby removing non-human agency out of what constitutes a society. It is in this limited space of human-only thought and agency that colonial tactics of violence against Indigenous territory and Indigenous women are most ripe. This is accomplished in part through mythologizing Indigenous origin stories and separating out communication, treaty-making, historical agreements that human beings held with the animal world, the sky world, the spirit world, etc. Thus, in order for colonialism to operationalize itself, it must attempt to make Indigenous peoples stand in disbelief of themselves and their histories. This paper will reaffirm this sacred connection between place, non-human and human in an effort to access the “pre-colonial mind”.
Keywordsagency, epistemology, ontology, land, Indigenous women
Date Published May 5, 2013
Google Scholar Link,5
Open Access?Yes

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