Monday, November 8, 2010

When white folks decolonize....

For  a White man engaged in any spiritual practice and inquiry of this nature -- whether as psychologist, educator, writer or in some other role - inevitably makes these ventures and adventures critical, unless he wants to perpetrate essentializing or retro-romantic notions. Decolonizing is thus not just the recovery of the memory traces of indigenous presences, but a creative psychospiritual, moral, political and activist endeavor. It doesn't just join 'the other' in its struggles of decolonization, first and foremost it turns its gaze to the center of colonial processes, upon itself, its process of self-colonization. The imperial gaze of transpersonal anthropology and psychology has its origins in a dissociative and objectifying construction of self and reality, furthering the colonization of peoples, nature and spirituality and providing notions of individualism, resources, sovereignty, etc., that serve the trivial measures of commerce.

Leslie Marmom Silko has pointed out that when Whites "attempt to cast off their Anglo-American values, their Anglo-American origins, they violate a fundamental belief held by the tribal people they desire to emulate: they deny the truth; they deny history, their very origins. The writing of imitation "Indian" poems then, is pathetic evidence that in more than two hundred years, Anglo Americans have failed to create a satisfactory identity for themselves."

(Jurgen Kremer, Ethnoauthobiography as Practice of Radical Presence, 2003)

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