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Authors

Jason Charlie

Department

Philosophy

Faculty Advisor

Jenna Woodrow

Abstract

Through naturalistic observation and analyses of the powwow dance, I was able to witness Native epistemology, first hand. In this paper, I will explore this epistemology. The teaching method of Native culture is their ontology, and has been passed from generation-to-generation, and is their way of life; it is a way of showing and doing—providing essential life skills. This practice—a way of living—emphasized the importance of communication, cooperation, and interaction. In that sense, there are other underlying dynamics—the energy—presenting itself to enhance peoples’ wellbeing through their interrelatedness, their interdependence, and their interconnection. In their ceremony, nothing is as it seems; the energy generated underneath, while dancing, brought the Indigenous people together in unity. And, from another perspective, the reuniting of the people fulfilled, through action, psychological needs by conversion of energy. Native epistemology also permits children to discover life for themselves—to explore and create their own paradise, in conformity with the Sacred Circle, like their ancestors—dancing and creating their own universe.

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