The Urgency of Indigenous Values
Published by: Syracuse University Press
Imprint: Syracuse University Press
Sales Date: 2023-09-15
Published: September 2023
280 Pages, 152.00 x 228.00 mm, 6 color
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In this book, Philip Arnold utilizes a collaborative method, derived from the ?Two-Row Wampum? (1613) and his 40 year relationship with the Haudenosaunee, in exploring the urgent need to understand Indigenous values, support Indigenous Peoples, and to offer a way toward humanity’s survival in the face of ecological and environmental catastrophe. Indigenous values connect human beings with the living natural world through ceremonial exchange practices with non-human beings who co-inhabit the homelands. Arnold outlines Indigenous traditions of habitation and ceremonial gift economies and contrasts those with settler-colonial values of commodification where the land and all aspects of material life belongs to human beings and are reduced to monetary use-value.
Through an examination of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, a series of fifteenth-century documents that used religious decrees to justify the subjugation and annihilation of Indigenous Peoples, Arnold shows how issues such as environmental devastation, social justice concerns, land theft, and forced conversion practices have their origins in settler-colonial relationships with the sacred—that persists today. Designed to initiate a conversation in the classroom, in the academy, and in various communities about what is essential to the category of Indigeneity, this book offers a way of understanding value systems of Indigenous peoples. By pairing the concepts of Indigeneity and religion around competing values systems, Arnold transforms our understanding of both categories.
Arnold illuminates how the tragic imposition of the materialist colonial worldview jeopardizes our relationship with the natural world and with one another. His urgent call for renewal of the Indigenous worldview grounded in respect, reciprocity, and reverence will help propel the values shift that might save us. Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass
What is distinctive about this book is the focus on Indigenous values and the ecological and human crisis we are living in. Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University
Through Arnold's personal journey he models how Indigenous values provide a framework for the survival of life, transforming religion in the process. Sally Roesch Wagner, Founder and Executive Director, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
This illuminating book’s recovery of core Indigenous values—exchange rather than domination, habitation instead of occupation—promises to help all of us find a more balanced way of living with the world. Robert P. Jones, author of The End of White Christian America