Re-Meaning the Sacred: Colonial Damage and Indigenous Cosmologies
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Indigenous ways of knowing are dependent on an inheriting process both amongst humans and between human and non-human being. These multi-relationships cross material and immaterial borders as sites of knowledge production. This manuscript will interrogate how three particular Indigenous cosmological relationships have been purposefully re-meaninged by colonial institutions: 1) How Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee origin stories have been abstracted into a distinctive epistemological versus ontological site; 2) How Anishnaabe spirit worlds are impacted by colonial relations, and how state institutions benefit from the re-meaning of these worlds; and 3) How Indigenous sovereignty in Canada is imagined from a statist perspective, and how these polices have re-meaninged the sacred relationships within a cosmological understanding of Haudenosaunee governance. The re-meaning of sacredly-held Indigenous relationships is both accelerated by, and contributes to, a practice of reducing upon Indigenous and non-human societies. Throughout expressions of colonialism on Indigenous territories (the academy, the state, Indian policy), Indigenous knowledge is consistently either dismissed or appropriated. This reduction of Indigenous knowledge continues to bolster functions of the state as related to the elimination of the “Indian Problem” via reducing the “Indian” to an adaptive subject.