Language, culture, society and the frameworks used to define experiential reality; living a good life, pathways of decolonization
October 26, 2010 11:01 PM Subscribe
An internationally recognized Kanien'kehaka (Mohwak) intellectual and political advisor, Taiaiake Alfred is well known for his incisive critiques and groundbreaking work in the fields of Indigenous governance and political philosophy.
In the past, Taiaiake has served as an advisor on land and governance and cultural restoration issues for many indigenous governments and organizations, and he has authored several important books including Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom and Peace, Power, Righteousness. Currently, Taiaiake serves as a Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria.
Recorded March 23, 2009 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, University of Victoria Professor of Indigenous Governance; a broad, deep, and beautiful discussion of pathways toward the future for indigenous people, Gerald Taiaiake Alfred talks about the “Resurgence of Traditional Ways of Being: Indigenous Paths of Action and Freedom”
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Taiaiake Alfred speaks of “freedom from fear” as being critical to indigenous people achieving freedom. He mentions Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
, while considering the concept of Freedom from Fear
The effort necessary to remain uncorrupted in an environment
where fear is an integral part of everyday existence is not immediately
apparent to those fortunate enough to live in states governed by the rule
- Aung San Suu Kyi
, Freedom from Fear (quoted in the online version of "Inked over, ripped out; Burmese Storytellers and the Censors
", Anna J. Allott)
In 2007 three women from civil society organizations in the Philippines launched a campaign to make the control of small arms central to reducing violence and promoting peace-building in their country. We conducted workshops, held regional consultations throughout the country, joined with other peace activists and lobbied the government. Three years on, we won a commitment in the National Action Plan on 1325 to "enact and enforce of laws regulating the possession of small arms".
Being Indigenous: Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism
Taiaiake Alfred also speaks on the great importance of language, on how it is not just
a set of words signifying objects; language instills a pattern of thought, a framework to understanding, and the pathway to unlocking one’s deepest sense of being.
Wade Davis speaks about related linguistic issues in his Lecture Series titled "The wayfinders. why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world (from the CBC’s Massey Lecture Series), recently available to stream.
Of the 7,000 languages spoken today, fully half may disappear in our lifetimes. This does not have to happen. The other cultures of the world are not failed attempts to be modern, failed attempts to be us. Each is a unique and profound answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? When asked that question the peoples of the world respond with 7,000 sources of knowledge and wisdom, history and intuition which collectively comprise humanity's repertoire for dealing with all the challenges that we'll face as a species in the coming centuries. Every culture deserves a place at the council of the human experience.
Author, educator and activist Gerald Taiaiake Alfred’s most recent book is titled Wasáse, the Kanienkeha (Mohawk) word for an ancient war dance ceremony of unity, strength, and commitment to action. He says that the book is a reflection on “the process of transcending colonialism in a personal and collective sense: making meaningful change in our lives and transforming society by recreating our personalities, regenerating our cultures, and surging against forces that keep us bound to our colonial past.”
Global Encounters Initiative Symposium webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Hosted by MOA, From Noble Savage to Righteous Warrior: Regenerating and Reinscribing Indigenous Presences by Taiaiake Alfred (Indigenous Governance, UVic) and introduced by Paige Raibmon (History, UBC).
Mohawk writer, scholar and activist Taiaiake Alfred is one of the most influential figures in a new generation of First Nations leaders. Taiaiake was born at Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) and raised in the community of Kahnawake. As an influential social philosopher, Taiaiake has had significant involvement in the public life of his own community, of the Haudenosaunee, and other Indigenous peoples over the past 15 years. He is the author of two books, Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors, a history of Mohawk militancy and nationalism, and Peace, Power, Righteousness, an essay on Indigenous ethics and leadership. He is a prominent Indigenous voice in scholarly circles, holding a Canada research Chair at the University of Victoria, and an award-winning journalist known for his passionate and incisive commentary on culture and politics.