Conceptualizing Indigeneity and the Implications for Indigenous Research and African Development

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George J. Sefa Dei


 This paper examines Indigenous knowledges in the context of conceptualizing Indigeneity to lay the grounds for Indigenous research as a counterpoint to conventional ways of knowledge production. It is noted that the urgency of articulating multiple ways of knowing and/or counter visions of knowledge emerges in the contexts of the limits, limitations, or shortcomings of dominant knowledge production. The Indigenous prism brings a critical perspective to Indigenous practices, epistemologies, roles, and spaces for sharing and producing local cultural knowledges, including understanding social relations of communal knowledge production. It is argued that central to Indigenous research are concepts of spirituality, spiritual knowing, the interface of body, mind, soul, and spirit, and the nexus of society, culture, and Nature. Indigenous research must begin with due recognition of the Land and Mother Earth and the acknowledgement of location and space as sources and sites of knowing. The researcher must acknowledge the sacred teachings of this Land as informing the conduct of research, research relations and the general pursuit of knowledge. It is also asserted that Indigenous research must proceed with a degree of humility and sanctity by affirming holistic relations involving the self as researcher, research subjects, the local community, and Nature. The imperative of centering Indigenous knowledges in nation-building efforts of Africans as nation builders is examined, while also paying close attention to the knowledge embodiment. In the conclusion, the paper examines the implications of Indigenous research for education as broadly defined.

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Sefa Dei, G. J. (2016). Conceptualizing Indigeneity and the Implications for Indigenous Research and African Development. Confluence: Journal of World Philosophies, 2. Retrieved from