Indigenous Voices

Indigenous Voices: Communicating Peoples.

Indigenous voices is a stream that reflects a multitude of ways of thinking, communicating, representing with others. While the term “indigenous voices” has been seen (by western social science) as one-dimensional in the past, clearly, like everything else in contemporary ethnography and the world at large, there is no one way of voicing indigeneity in the contemporary world. Further, since its inception as an organization based in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Association for the Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines hui (or conference) has advocated for a Kaupapa Māori philosophy—one where “research. . . should set out to make a positive difference for the researched” (Smith, 1999, p. 191). Similarly—but not identically—Ubuntu philosophy stresses “that society must be run for the sake of all, requiring co-operation as well as sharing and charity” (Broodryk, 2006; Muwanga-Zake, 2009, p. 417). Indigenous voices—in contrast with western models—tend to stress the collective, the communal, in cooperation: “Ubuntu defines the individual in terms of relationships with others” (ibid.)

The community of CEAD has installed this stream in an effort to co-learn from oral and written traditions whose voices have long been repressed by violence in colonialist agendas. We, in the spirit of cooperative exploration, want to listen to voices that have long been silenced, to support in their recuperation, and to learn from the ways of people who have existed, quite often in harmony, on the planet for so many millennia. We envision conversations about indigenous research methods; colonialist, imperialist, and indigenous worldviews and standpoints; power and control and accessibility; views of the sacred and secular, in place, space, and time; what voice itself means, how it may be enacted, who is “listening” and who is “telling.” We see the stream of Indigenous Voices: Communicating Peoples as a third space for lively discussion, and sharing of perceptions, intentions, processes, and products.


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