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A Global De-colonial Praxis of Sustainability — Undoing Epistemic Violences between Indigenous peoples and those no longer Indigenous to Place

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2017

Lewis Williams*
Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Tracey Bunda
College of Australian Indigenous Studies, Education and Research, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia
Nick Claxton
Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
Iain MacKinnon
Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
address for correspondence: Dr Lewis Williams, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria, 2100 McKenzie Ave, Victoria, BC V8N 5Z3, Australia. Email:
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Addressing our growing planetary crisis and attendant symptoms of human and human-ecological disconnect, requires a profound epistemological reorientation regarding how societal structures are conceived and articulated; named here as the collective work of decolonisation. While global dynamics are giving rise to vital transnational solidarities between Indigenous peoples, these same processes have also resulted in complex and often contradictory locations and histories of peoples at local levels which unsettle the Indigenous–non-Indigenous binary, providing new and necessary possibilities for the development of epistemological and relational solidarities aimed at increasing social–ecological resilience. The International Resilience Network is an emerging community of practice comprised of Indigenous and settler–migrant peoples aimed at increasing social–ecological resilience. This article narrates the story of the Network's inaugural summit, and provides an overview of contextual issues and analysis of particular pedagogical aspects of our approach; foregrounding ruptures between ontology and epistemology that inevitably occur when culturally and generationally diverse groups who are grounded in different daily realities and related agency imperatives come to share overlapping worldviews through learning ‘in place’ together. Developing pedagogical practices for naming and negotiating associated tensions within the collective work of decolonisation is, we argue, a critical step in enabling practices conducive towards the shared goal of increased human–ecological resilience.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s) 2017 

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