Indigenous Wisdom Is Not Mere Folk PsychologyBy My Opinion @ 11:00 AM July 31, 2012
From Four Arrows aka Don Trent Jacobs
Third in a series
Re “If It Did Not Occur on the Physical Plane, It Did Not Occur”
Four Arrows, with his daughter, Jessica Jacobs, co-founder of the charter school Innovatory School for Professional Youth, at a wedding ceremony he performed
The fourth concept in the mnemonic is Nature.
Here I have little more to say about the difference between Western and Indigenous views that has not already been stated. The basic usefulness of Cat-Fawn is as an educational tool for self-reflection. Whenever a teacher or student can take any idea, experience, problem or belief and walk it through the analysis of Fawn, determining whether an Indigenous or non-Indigenous view operates and connecting to hypnotically derived determinations or actions, an opportunity for transformative learning arises.
To consider such an activity, one that makes the Indigenous view have such a value for learning, we must first awaken to the anti-Indianism most of us encounter in culture, media and education.
Suppression of Indigenous Wisdom
As I mentioned, Indigenous wisdom belongs to all of us. It is in our DNA.
This does not mean that the holders of this wisdom who are alive today throughout the world do not have a special role in serving as our teachers.
To the contrary, it is time for us to wake up to the oppression of these cultures practiced via our educational hegemony. Indigenous peoples who still live according to the old ways know best how to employ Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
Sadly, such oppression continues and is even growing. Using post 9/11 anti-terrorist laws, governments around the world, generally supported by U.S. corporate interests and government policies, are literally killing Indigenous peoples who are attempting to protect their land, water and natural resources from the onslaught of multi-national land acquisition in the face of diminishing oil and other resources for corporate profit.
(For more details on this, see my chapter, “Forced Hegemony,” in Gabbard and Saltman’s second edition of Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schooling.)
What Spawns Ridicule
More significantly, as relates to education, is the continual anti-Indianism that leads to ridicule, dismissal or misinterpretation of the Indigenous perspective. (See Unlearning the Language of Conquest: Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America, published by the University of Texas Press (Four Arrows, 2006). Indigenous wisdom is not mere folk psychology, although intuition, self-reflection (especially as relates to experience with both the visible and invisible worlds), meta-cognition and observation of human nature have certainly contributed to it.
It is the product of careful and methodologically sound observations of the natural world (which includes humans) that have been tested and re-tested for thousands of years in the most rigorous real-life laboratories of survival and well-being.
Indigenous peoples, means those cultures who have by inhabiting a location for thousands of years and retaining ancient ways of understanding it, have produced a “theory of mind” that is as scientific as modern ideas that relate to predicting outcomes, perhaps more so.
This is not only true as relates to the many inventions and contributions linked to food development, storage and preparation; herbal-based medicines; forms of clothing and transportation; astronomy; sustainable practices, but also to contributions to democratic government concepts, child discipline and inter-personal relationship psychology.
Many scholars and philosophers have noted the tragedy of dismissing Indigenous wisdom and Indigenous science as it relates to contemporary affairs.
For example, Niaz Ahmed Khan, a professor at Dhaka University in Bangladesh and an honorary research fellow at the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Wales, U.K., recently compiled and collated academic studies on Indigenous knowledge known as “traditional ecological knowledge. ” He was able to identify and record only seventy-seven peer-reviewed articles/book chapters. In an editorial, he refers to this figure and laments that such wisdom remains a generally ignored subject (2008). Edgar Mitchel, Apollo astronaut and found of the Institute of Noetic Sciences has said that “only a handful of visionaries have recognized that indigenous wisdom can aid the transition to a sustainable world.” (amazon.com reviews at http://www.amazon.com/Shapeshifting-Techniques-Global-Personal-Transformation/dp/0892816635).
Four Arrows, aka Don Trent Jacobs, Ph.D., Ed.D., is a Cherokee/Irish author of 21 books and a professor at Fielding Graduate University's College of Educational Leadership and Change. A former Marine Corps officer, he is co-founder of Northern Arizona's Veterans for Peace and recipient of the 2004 Moral Courage Award (Martin Springer Institute for Holocaust Studies). He lives in a small Mexican fishing village. Four Arrows may be contacted at email@example.com