A Different Worldview: Indigenous Ways of Knowing

A Different Worldview: Indigenous Ways of Knowing

January 20, 2024
2:00 PM
4301 Transmountain Road

Museum of Archaeology
Contact Phone Number:
(915) 212-0421

In this presentation, Dr. Donald D. Pepion, explores the differences between Indigenous and Western worldviews. The discussion begins by examining the ideology of the theme Water is Life in the recent Standing Rock protest that drew worldwide attention and Indigenous participation. He highlights one author’s viewpoint of the ontology of difference after pointing out Indigenous distinctions in creating knowledge and existence in the universe. Fundamental divergences began with Euro-Western thinking separating mind from matter while most Indigenous people never separated humankind from the natural world. Native authors point out land is the material, conceptual, and ontological foundation for Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and valuing. The Indigenous knowledge paradigm is based on eons of experiencing the natural world while Western knowledge uses scientific method to find truth. Indigenous ways of knowing have four important principles under the ideation of holism: 1) relationality, 2) Animacy, 3) movement (motion), and 4) energy or spirit. Pepion calls for a paradigm shift in the Western deficit thinking about Native American knowledge.

Donald Pepion is an emeritus professor at New Mexico State University. His research interests center on exploring Indigenous knowledges and cultures. The first finding of Learning from Visions and Dreams in his doctoral dissertation entitled Blackfoot Ceremony: A Qualitative Study of Learning perplexed academicians in the education discipline. Pepion has an extensive background including teaching Native American Studies at New Mexico State University and Blackfeet Community College in Montana. He administered five different social service, educational, and health programs for the Blackfeet Indian Nation. As President of Blackfeet Community College, he oversaw successful full accreditation of the institution. His accomplishments include primary facilitator of the planning and development of the Native American Cultural Center at NMSU. Pepion participated in field studies in Siberia, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Photo credits: Dr. Donald D. Pepion, Tsuu T’ina Nation dancer ( photo by AlleycatCY), Canyon de Chelly ( photo by Ken Lund), Crow Nation Tepees 1900-1910 ( photo by Richard Throssel).

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