1. The research in education is modern and western as it generally takes only one of the aspect which needs to be studied and the epistemiology is related only to that field under the study which is ethnocentric in nature. People from indigenous origin often feel frustrated to accept and work according to this when this methodology seems culturally remote and students find it difficult to accept it and often lead to them quitting the system of education. There are two aspects of research that indigenous epistemiology and pedagogy; former is the knowledge of unknown while pedagogy is how this knowledge can be taught. My understanding of the indigenous epistemiology was that of holism and that it should include all the aspects of the subject or the topic being studied. The key aspects of indigenous epistemology are relationality and the established interconnection between the three aspects that are sacred, secular and holism.
Relationality is the concept where it is stated that there are interdependencies between the individuals, their environment, and the spiritual world. In the western research, spirituality is often viewed and inculcated to the students as taboo while in indigenous ontology is inclusive of sacred and secular and spirituality cannot be separated and is a necessary component of learning and research. Holism is the concept of seeing the whole picture and not just one aspect of the research question as everything is interconnected. These four dimensions of indigenous epistemiology that are emotional, spiritual, cognitive and physical and these are not separate as they are connected with the human development and well-being is related to all the aspects and all the realms should be valued.
Deconstruction of indigenous epistemiology has given rise to theories like critical theory, standpoint theory and insider-outsider theory and the essence of theories collectively given rise to the vision which is not limited to one worldview and the related interpretation. In indigenous discourse, the feminist standpoint is present which is not present in modern research or epistemiology. It, not a singular which was my understanding earlier but it has feminist empiricism, standpoint and postmodernism which have been instrumental in the development of the humanities and social sciences. In the research philosophy of indigenous the physical world is like an island which is closely connected with the human world and scared world like a triangle. There are three fundamental and interrelated principles which are present in indigenous research such that there is research strategy rather than process and they are: resistance as emancipatory imperative in indigenist research; political integrity; and allotting privilege to indigenous voices.
The research epistemiological standpoint should not be rigid but should be flexible so that numerous indigenous communities should be able to adopt the research and it should not be just blanket clones of the existing discourse. The standpoint of the indigenous epistemiology is that the practitioner must of indigenous origin and well versed in the sociology, post-structuralism and modernization and lastly, it should be done such that the research is for the betterment of the community and people living in it.
2. Indigenous people and community have preserved and distinctive understanding which is rooted in cultural experience which guides the relations among the humans and other beings in a specific ecosystem. Knowledge of indigenous origin is the network of the knowledge, belief, and traditions which is intended for the communication and contextualization of indigenous relationships with the existing culture and their connection to land over time. Knowledge can be obtained from the rich source of knowledge present among the knowledge keepers they are the members of the tribal or indigenous community, ethnic group or family. This is acquired information due to the phenomenological experience and activities or rituals of every day. The transmission of information is gated by the gatekeepers of the community who can be tribal leaders, practitioners of rituals, and healers. Knowledge can also be obtained by traditional ecological knowledge which is collected and perfected over time by the preservation of collective memory and community teachings. The knowledge specific to the otology is learnt and reproduced by the processes of listening, sensing, viewing, reviewing, reading, watching, waiting, observation, exchange of knowledge by sharing it with outsiders, conceptualization, assessment, modelling, engagement and application.
People from indigenous communities are very possessive about their culture and take all possible measure to preserve the knowledge they have from the outside. From the insider-outsider theory, there are many wrongs in the social science of the research where it is said that indigenous research to be carried out by only indigenous researchers is like saying only blacks can study blacks and only whites should study whites is extreme. It is already to an extent present in the western discourse and it is discriminatory to the indigenous population. Insider theory is combined with the logic of grounded theory which in the essence means that the data should emerge without having to force from the source. As it is mentioned earlier the information resides with the elders and the people residing in the community and outsiders are the viewed as imposed presence of groups, status and cultures who are incapable of comprehending the information and hence do not deserve it.
In the indigenous communities, it is important that newer generations are aware and take the rituals and traditions forwards to be inculcated in their activities of daily living that include spiritual, cultural and entities. One of the methods for the transmission of knowledge is by oral traditions in which the historical narratives or stories which are an integral part of traditional knowledge which are taught to be learnt and to be carried out in the further generations. It is done in the form of storytelling and practising performances in such a way that it shows the essence of the land, its interactions with the beings in the community, existing traditions and values which act as a guide for interactions. The storytelling can be both literal and metaphorical depending on it the reconstruction of the past. Though it one of the major ways in which the traditions are passed but observation and inclusion of them in practice are also one of the ways knowledge is passed.
3. Intercultural communication is the one which is extremely important between the levels of culturally diverse communities so that the flow of information is smooth and does not create conflict among the people at the individual level or at the level of communities or nations. This intercultural communication requires skills at all the levels of interaction and even at the level of policymaking and procedural implementations and are required for the communication and information sharing among the people of different cultures and social groups. In intercultural communication, the linguistic barrier is the one which can affect the communication and to break this barrier the skill development is important. ontology is that branch of metaphysics which is important for the study of being as a whole such that there are all the properties are studied in the domains which reflect their properties like, traditions, rituals, and philosophical nature of the person living in a particular community. For a successful ontology, it is important that there is appropriate information gathering which can help in the study and it can produce large datasets and in metaphysics, it is not a telescopic view on matters but the bigger picture is always considered. Intercultural communication is not merely related to verbal communication though it is important it is also related to the philosophical and cultural aspects of the community like customs, standards, rituals and others. Effective communication is important for the researcher and everyone who is involved with the interaction with the community and willingness to accept and adapt the differences are necessary.
In the video which is the commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace, there are various aspects which he discusses and is seen as the life lessons and as a part of education and research which is seen in the ontology which can be helpful in the modifying the thinking and be more effective. The first anecdote that is discussed by David Foster is that of a fish in which though live in water the concept of water is not known by them and it is to say that one can be oblivious to the environment around them but it can be of interest for someone who is from outside and that can be an ontological aspect of metaphysics. The other problem that is highlighted in the video is that one should identify their own perception about a particular thing though it might be difficult from the ontological point it is vital. The net issue is to understand that everyone has their own thinking and is entitled to their opinion and in research which develops after thinking and it might be different from the perception a person is brought up in. thirdly, as is the basis of ontology as well everything is subject to change as per the changes in the environment which is based on the observation and adoption of the observation in the activity of daily living.
4. One of the most important parts of the aboriginal ontology that has been explored which has is called Japanangka Paradigm. As explained, it is the connection between the realms of operations between the universe and everything inbetween that and humans and for the coexistence, it is necessary that there should be balances. Wess has explained that aboriginal ontology in Australia is based on the connection between the physical space, human and sacred worlds. Indigenous ontology is dominated by the interlinking and interaction between the realms mentions and the spiritual world plays an important role in influencing the material world. The paradigm of the ontology consists of subsets which are spiritual, personal, cultural, intellectual, public, secular, political and practical.
Inter-cultural communication is necessary for nations which have different cultures in the mainstream like Australia where there is two main cultures indigenous and non-indigenous population. There is marked difference in the cultural, ethnic, philosophical and environmental working of both the cultures and due to this the former have been subjected to discrimination because of the variance that is seen. For the policymaking, the stakeholders should understand the difference which can be identified by indigenous research or by gaining knowledge and only then the gap can be bridged. No one can have better knowledge than someone from the community and it is better that representatives from the community are included in the various levels of decision-making.
If someone who has observed and learnt the indigenous epistemiology and ontology from an outsider point of view they will form their own perception and will be based and will be influenced by the working of the modernization from which they belong. This account for stereotypical thinking and the policymaker would want to equalize everything according to the modernized level instead of what is required for the community. The policy that is formulated should be in such a way that it caters to the needs of the communityand not be same for the blanket of population.
The history of Australia has shown that there have been various policies that have been made to accommodate the needs of the indigenous population so the discrimination faced by them is reduced and they enjoy the same level of life as it is done by the rest of the population. The people from the indigenous background are underrepresented in the hierarchy of the policymaking in the governments. This is explained often by the fact the people belonging to indigenous are less in proportion and the number in the policymaking is lesser but that is the necessity that they should be involved more. This is because they are entitled to be involved in the decision-making process as they are the ones who the policy will affect. This creates a power imbalance in the society as the political climate of the community as well as that at each level of the government play a role in this and needs to be addressed so that the discrimination can be reduced.
5. All the communities have a structure of power which is important and follows the hierarchy. This exists in the governments as well as in the indigenous communities. The invasion by the British in Australia brought the knowledge that there was Anglo-European male dominance. The power structure was in such a way that the interests of the indigenous people were disregarded and only the mainlanders’ interest was taken into consideration. This distribution of power in the British system is such that in history it resulted in elimination and extermination of the indigenous community, their knowledge, traditions and cultural sciences. As the power was not in hands of the indigenous community and the Europeans who invaded decided which knowledge is right and what is legitimate and in comparison to their modern belief and they regarded the knowledge of indigenous origin was inferior. This was done because according to their concept the ones followed by that of indigenous was medieval. The so-called modern discourse which governs the epistemiology and ontology and the indigenous participation is not taken in the mainstream but only in the social construct of race.
The power tipping is towards the modern or western as they are more in number and have greater power hold and they are ones who are responsible for the making decision for the people from an indigenous background. The decision is even made as to who can practice science, medicine and other fields of work which and the inclusion of them in research is reduced from the scientific point of view. The indigenous discourse is that is existing in the ontology is not related to the indigenous population as they are highly underrepresented in the system which is responsible for the policymaking. The power misbalance that exists in the critical theory and the fundamental goal that needs to be achieved is that the individual, group of individual, families and society should be free from domination, powerlessness, and oppression.
The aim is to reduce the control of the indigenous population which exists in the hands of the people who have the power and the charge for the aspect of the lives to be given in the hands of the people and this should be done for all the walks of life including health. One of the epistemiological standpoints is that there were feminism empiricism and post-modernization which was in contrast to the male domination of power as seen after the invasion by Europe and their subsequent colonization. In recent times, there are more measures to include the indigenous population in the hierarchy of power so the researchers are more included from an indigenous background. Intercultural communication is an important part of the power structure such that the main cultural differences, as well as the philosophies, can be identified and understood and only then policy change can be made in the favour of the indigenous population.
6. The difficulty arises for anyone in a position of power in relation to policy, is to formulate and develop policy in a way that provides the opportunity for people for whom the policy is intended to have a voice and be able to be represented. It isn't patronising and allowing the power relations to be reinforced within the rhetoric of empowerment or agency. The research of the public policy is related to the engagement policy with respect to anthropology and it is the core of the research. With the involvement of anthropology in the policymaking and it is seen in the institutions and power; interpretation, meaning; ideology, rhetoric and discourse. When there is the involvement of the power there is always the presence of politics which dominate the policymaking and that is related to culture, ethnicity and even identity of the indigenous population. This is also related to the interactions which are present at the level of community, local governments and even at international level.
The researchers who are working for the study of policy development and its association with the human interaction in relation to the state governments, politics, the associated manipulations which affect how the people will perceive its acceptance is an emerging field of research. It is not novel that when there is more power there is an association of manipulation which can affect how the policy is perceived. The policymakers can show that the decision made is best for them even if it is not for their good and it can lead to the formation of illusion that the policy is equal for everyone. In reality, the same policy is made for everyone but the needs vary as per the community and the policy should be such that it caters to need for the indigenous community as well.
One of the main reasons is that there is no adequate vocalization for the indigenous community. To counteract it is necessary that there is adequate representation from the indigenous community and to understand the needs of the community more researchers are to be involved from the community. The policy should be transparent in such a way that it can be properly understood by the people for whom it is made. The policy should be included for people at all the level and there should be no inclination of the preference towards the people who have power. The indigenous community should be empowered so that they can make decisions for themselves and think what is right for them and identify when there is wrongdoing so that they can convert their needs to demand. Equality is the one thing that can help in counteracting this and it should be done from the core to the grass-root level so that the power displacement is less and control by others can be reduced.
7. Adequate representation is the key for reducing the power disbalance and so that there could be adequate help at all the levels. In theory, it seems good but when the practicality of the same is seen it is difficult because of the ingrained discrimination which is seen in the system. The discrimination which is seen is not an isolated o tine aspect but it can be seen in all the levels of the system and results in reduced representation are one of the outcomes but the discrimination is in daily living as well. There is representation should be in such a way that it is fair and it is for the benefit of the community so that there the disparity and discrimination can be reduced.
The main limitthat needs to the placed on the representation should be only by the people of the community and by someone who is speaking for them as they may not understand the gravity of the needs of the people in the indigenous community. The other limit should be that not all matters of the nation should be unanimously and not for a particular community indigenous or otherwise. All the concerns, needs and the identified demands are not to be voiced and it is necessary that people understand what needs to voiced. Political representation is necessary for adequate representation. These can be elected candidates from the particular constituents and in theory, they should work in such a way that they voice the problems that the people of the constituency face and able to take action or make changes towards the action.
Elected members have authority to speak for the people who have elected them but that does not mean that all the problems will have adequate justification for problems and it cannot be seen as null and void. Similarly, the solution should be customized for the problem and not as a blanket to solve all the problems. With the authority of the elected person, there is power and influence of politics. The power to confer the authorization and power over the representation is such that they are rarely given the opportunity to speak for. The other factors are that they are to mandatorily get the permission for the people who they are going to talk for and neither the political representatives are not guided by the strict rules to get the so-called authorizations are. Possibility and political effectivity have a crucial bearing on the possibility of speaking which is related to collective action and collations. There are identified dangers which are associated with speaking for others and taking action to speak other which makes the representatives questions the validity of their authority.
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