A Mestizaje of Epistemologies in American Indian Stories and Ceremony

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-04-08 18:32Z by Steven

A Mestizaje of Epistemologies in American Indian Stories and Ceremony

Volume 2.1 (2011)
49 paragraphs

Margaret Cantú-Sánchez
Department of English
University of Texas, San Antonio

A close examination of Native American literature reveals that some Native Americans find it difficult to retain ties to their cultural epistemologies once introduced to the assimilationist pedagogies of U.S. schools. In some cases, their cultures, ethnicities, and communal epistemologies are completely rejected by U.S. school systems. Such rejections have created feelings of regret, alienation, fear of failure, and confusion. For the purposes of this article, I focus on the alienation that Native Americans, specifically members of the Dakota and Laguna Pueblo tribes, experience once they are subjected to the assimilationist, patriarchal methods of the U.S. education system. I frame my exploration of this dilemma with the following questions: how do U.S. school systems affect Native Americans’ tribal identity and the Native student’s interaction with his/her family and community, and what can Native American do to reconcile the institutional education they achieve in school with indigenous knowledge? A possible solution emerges when Native Americans encounter the education/indigenous knowledge conflict, an imbalance of epistemologies caused by the clash between U.S. institutional education and indigenous knowledge, an imbalance leading to alienation from school and/or Native students’ home/cultural communities. Acknowledgement of this conflict is the first step towards one solution embodied in a mestizaje of epistemologies, a balance of institutional education and indigenous knowledge…

Read the entire article here.

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