Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Meaning of Place

In his talk Indigenous Resurgence and Traditional Ways of Being, University of Victoria Professor Gerald Taiaiake Alfred examines the fundamental challenges facing indigenous peoples and their friends in confronting the nation-state and the corporations that fund it. Foundational to his vision of decolonization is the restoration of community through overcoming individual fear of confronting the colonialism within ourselves, part of which is comprehending how institutional power has patterned indigenous peoples.

In his distillation of the collective wisdom of indigenous communities, Taiaiake emphasizes that strengthening connection to a place is crucial to fortifying emerging coalitions, connections and networks devoted to universal justice. As a person who is committed to living in a respectful way, Professor Alfred implores us to engage in this spiritual battle with an awareness of the meaning of place in our own cultural heritage.

With all the forces amassed to pull us in other directions, staying on the pathway of peace and righteousness, says Taiaiake, requires re-rooting ourselves in order to mentor others for the long struggle. As he reminds us, "The struggle's not over".

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