More than one way of knowing
Two-Row Wampum Belt trentmagazine.ca
Since the Age of Reason, European schools of thought have privileged rationalistic ways of knowing, relying on overdeveloped skills in reasoning. In the process it has marginalized relational, process-oriented ways of knowing common to Indigenous societies.
Melanie Goodchild, Moose Clan, Anishinaabe (Ojibway or Chippewa) from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Keteganseebee, and co-founder of the Turtle Island Insitute suggests that these two ways of knowing need to be taken side by side, like the two rows of the Wampum belt. The Wampum belt was the way the agreement between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch was documented in the 1600s about how they were to treat each other and live together. Each of their ways was shown in a purple row of wampum beads.
Awareness based systems change is a process into the deeper structures of the social systems in order to see, sense, presence, and shift them.
A transformational element of coming to know is “learning through self-reflection and sharing of experience in community” (p. 1131). This allows us, concludes Cajete, to understand our learning in the context of the great whole. Cross-culture dialogues help us to see that there are as many ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, and understanding as there are members in a group. We come to understand that “we can learn from another’s perspective and experience,” and we also “become aware of our own and other’s bias and lack of understanding through the process of the group” (p. 1131).
- Melanie Goodchild, “Relational Systems Thinking,” Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change
- Indigenous Systems Thinking yarn with Melanie Goodchild and Tyson Yunkaporta on The Other Others podcast
- Teyotsihstokwáthe Dakota Brant on how centuries-old treaties can inform reconciliation today. “Someone should ask the fish,” Walrus Talks