Indigenizing the Academy is like Putting Ode In
by waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy
This is a story about the heart and the brain. ode and ndib.
This is a long story,
Academia is cerebral.
Most academics are settlers. White settlers.
Most academics are cerebral white settlers.
(Sweeping statements and vast leaps in logic are abhorrent, yes. In this case, true and sound. Do the stats if you must; elucidate the links if need be. And here too, an olive branch: yes, yes, inclusion, diversity, equality, equity, decolonization, indigenization …yes, yes, yes.)
Girl, cerebral-ness is like
cold, cool, colonial
Hearts think and thoughts beat (we know this to be true. we being indigenous you and indigenous me and anyone who lives deeply in their pain while still faithful to the idea of worlds that are wondrous and possible)
But academic cerebral settler-ness
from the heart
and the beat.
THAT power is the crux
of death and despair
and dehumanization everywhere.
Indigenizing the Academy is like putting ode in
Indigenizing the Academy is like pulling a silk thread out
from our heart-beings and heart-beats
Indigenizing the Academy is like using that silk heart thread
to connect heart and mind
Like pulling out your sheshegwan (rattle) or odewe’igan (drum)
and putting vibrations into the air
Like getting that connection beating,
Indigenizing the Academy is like resuscitation
Like having to resuscitate
Like witnessing (the descendants of) imperial/globalized subjects
resist, become unsettled by, be afraid of
the (indigenous) heart
and the (indigenous) beat.
What is indigenous to Indigenous peoples
(the heart and the beat and the mind, ALL TOGETHER NOW)
is strange and foreign to cerebral-centric settlers.
Indigenizing the Academy is like
having to teach the Academy
how to be cerebral
in an indigenous way.