This special issue of the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, titled ‘South-South Dialogues: Global Approaches to Decolonial Pedagogies’, aims to contribute to the field of Australian Indigenous Studies and Education by further diversifying the perspectives, conversations and conceptual tools to engage with Indigenous pedagogies. Through a south-south conversational and conceptual approach, this special issue expands the conversation of Indigenous pedagogies internationally and conceptually from a global south location. At the same time, this special issue means to be a re-iteration of the first ‘South-South Dialogues: Situated Perspectives in Decolonial Epistemologies’ conference held in November 2015 at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, which displayed a south-south conversation lead by local and global Indigenous perspectives. This special issue further theorises what many local and global scholars view as implied in Indigenous education: that the mainstream field of education can be re-examined using a decolonial viewpoint, one that is led by the views of Indigenous peoples and people of colour from the ‘global south’. This issue also responds to a re-awakening of decolonial theories that have been embodied in ‘Southern Theory’ (Connell, 2007), Indigenous Standpoint Theory (Nakata, 2007), coloniality/decoloniality (see, for instance, Maldonado-Torres, 2007), among others that continue to re-examine the conditions in which colonisation continues to be epistemologically exerted and continue to propose ways to contest it. This re-invigorated conversation is one that can be addressed by a genuinely horizontal intercultural dialogue lead by the southern perspectives. This was, one way or another, what was observed and lived in the ‘South-South Dialogues’ conference that felt like the starting point of a newer form of knowledge production and pedagogy.
What follows is a curated sample of south-south conversations that we hope amplifies the discussion of Indigenous pedagogies. Nakata starts by making a case for the importance for the re-invigoration of decolonial conversations in Indigenous Australian studies, in theory and in practice. This reflexive piece opens up a space for much needed conversation around the goals of Indigenous education, autonomy and further diversifying theoretical approaches. Fleuri and Fleuri discuss decolonial education in the context of Brazil by learning from the Buen Vivir or Tekó Porã world-view of the Guarani people. This study contextualises coloniality/decolonial theories in the heart of decolonial movements in Latin America. Vivir-Bien and Buen Vivir perspectives integrated in the constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador are discussed in the articles by Dolhare and Rojas-Lizana and by Anda. From a discursive, epistemological and constitutional perspective, these articles consider what the Indigenous perspective of Buen Vivir/Vivir-Bien might look like in Ecuador and Bolivia, and the potential decolonial outcomes of this type of recognition. Williams, Bunda, Claxton and Mackinnon propose a global decolonial praxis from an international Indigenous and settler migrant peoples focusing on socioecological resilience and its sustainability. This article considers and narrates the International Resilience Network's epistemological and practical efforts to start from a decolonial perspective to consider the urgent socioecological status of the environment.
From the global the special issue goes back to the local, as McDowall and Ramos discuss doing decoloniality in a PhD through an experiential and performative writing in the metaphor of the borderlands of academia, coloniality and decoloniality. This piece problematises academic writing and proposes a nuanced navigation through the borderlands of the ‘Northern’ formalities of academia and the decolonial critiques that thinking from the south can deliver. Holas in his article argues for a decolonial perspective of ‘being’ drawing from southern thinkers, such as Maturana and Kusch. This article re-examines a centred and rational being and proposes ways of being that are more ‘embodied’ and sometimes divergent. Finally, Mukandi reflects on the possibility of southern dialogues as being a humanistic pursuit that problematises Cartesian thinking. While this article serves to bring the special issue to a certain ‘closing point’, it simultaneously points to the an initiation of South-South Dialogues; a conversation that does not attempt to answer the question ‘what is Indigenous pedagogy’, but a conversation that starts by being challenged by the question ‘from where Indigenous pedagogies can be best thought, taught and practiced?’ We hope you enjoy reading the papers in this volume.