niwî-âtotên nikiskinwahamâkosiwin

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Lorraine Mayer


I am a mixed blood woman raised in Canada with two ancestries, Ininiwak (Cree) and French, that have competing worldviews from social-political and religious ideology to ancient philosophies. These mixed ancestries set me on numerous paths, ultimately leading me to philosophy. However, when did this path begin? No one in my immediate family entertained ideas of education, so I had no guidance or understanding of what university would mean. I came from an ancestry of hardworking men (with backbreaking employment) considered to be lower-class French men and a time when women stayed home raising families. My other ancestry involved hunting, trapping, and fishing where there were no class distinctions and everyone worked together in order to survive. Women here were not restricted to the home but free to hunt, trap, and fish if that was their choice. One ancestry included transience, of employment and of values, and strict religious doctrine (and a whole lot of hypocrisy). My other ancestry held permanence, in land, employment, families, and in friendships, and faith was intrinsic to all life. The diversity within my worldviews, the hypocrisy witnessed, and the rejection of my matrilineal worldview/philosophy sent me along my philosophy journey and kept me there. I wanted to know who “this man was that owned my mother’s world.”

Article Details

How to Cite
Mayer, L. (2020). niwî-âtotên nikiskinwahamâkosiwin. Journal of World Philosophies, 5(1), 177–182. Retrieved from
Intellectual Journeys
Author Biography

Lorraine Mayer, Brandon University

Lorraine Mayer is a Cree-Metis mother with two sons and a daughter who have gifted her with nine wonderful grandchildren, and soon to be great-grandson. She counts herself fortunate to be a cultural grandmother to many more children. She has been a professor in the Native Studies Department at Brandon University since 2004. She is the editor for The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, and past editor for the APA’s American Indian Newsletter. Lorraine has long been committed to Indigenous philosophy and Indigenous rights, taking both Indigenous philosophical and feminist approaches to her research.