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Toward the hospitality of the academy : the (im)possible gift of indigenous epistemes Kuokkanen, Rauna Johanna 2004

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T O W A R D T H E HOSPITALITY OF T H E A C A D E M Y : T H E (IM)POSSIBLE GIFT O F I N D I G E N O U S E P I S T E M E S by RAUNA JOHANNA K U O K K A N E N  M . A . , The University of Oulu, Finland, 1997 M . A . , The University of British Columbia, 2001 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (The Centre for Study of Curriculum and Instruction) W e accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July 2004 © Rauna Johanna Kuokkanen, 2004  T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract  iii  Acknowledgements  SV  INTRODUCTION The Concept of Indigenous Peoples Structure of the Thesis  1 10 17  PARTI i. D E A T N U - T H E R I V E R  21  ii. G I F T Classic Gift Theories The Logic of the Gift in Reciprocity with the Land The Sami Perception of the World Forms of Reciprocity Scholarly ' G i v e Back' Gift as a Threat  52 55 61 62 67 73 78  PART II CHAPTER ONE: CRITIQUES OF T H E A C A D E M Y 'University in Crisis' Feminist Critiques Critiques of Anthropology Indigenous Criticisms Racism in the Academy  81 89 92 99 103 108  CHAPTER TWO: C U L T U R A L CONFLICTS A N D EPISTEMIC I G N O R A N C E Critiques of 'Culture' The Concept of Episteme Indigenous Epistemes Epistemic Ignorance and Indigenous People Passive Ignorance Active Ignorance  113 120 123 126 132 136 140  C H A P T E R T H R E E : T H E IMPOSSIBILITY O F T H E GIFT The Problem of 'Speaking' Native Informant Gift as the Impossible The Question of Recognition  146 150 159 162 167  CHAPTER FOUR: ' L E A R N I N G TO L E A R N ' K n o w i n g the 'Other' Problem of 'Indianism' Indigenous Studies Programs and Indigenous Faculty Teaching 'Tribal Values' Liberal Multiculturalism  174 177 180 182 187 189 i  Responsibility for Doing Homework The Concept of Responsibility Learning from Indigenous Epistemes  192 196 200  C H A P T E R FIVE: T O W A R D A C A D E M I C HOSPITALITY Hospitality and Academic Freedom The Host and Responsibility Unconditional Welcome and the Profession of the University Interchangeability of Hospitality  208 213 218 228 236  CONCLUDING REMARKS: INVITATION TO RESPOND  241  Works Cited  254  ii  Abstract  The academy is considered by many as the major western institution of knowledge. This dissertation, however, argues that the academy is characterized by prevalent 'epistemic ignorance' - a concept informed by Gayatri Spivak's discussion of 'sanctioned ignorance.' Epistemic ignorance refers to academic practices and discourses that enable the continued exclusion of other than dominant western epistemic and intellectual traditions. The academy fails to recognize indigenous epistemes grounded on different conceptions of the world and ways of knowing, and thus, indigenous people 'cannot speak' (Spivak); that is, when they speak from the framework of their own epistemic conventions, they are not heard or understood by the academy. This dissertation suggests that there is a need for a radical shift in approaching 'cultural conflicts' in the academy. So far, various programs and services for indigenous students have been set up on the premise that they need special assistance to adapt to the academy. I argue, however, that the academy is responsible for 'doing its homework' (Spivak) and addressing its ignorance so it can give an 'unconditional welcome' (Derrida) not only to indigenous people but to their epistemes, without insisting on translation. This process must continually be watchful of the arrogant assumption of 'knowing other cultures' while engaging to 'learn to learn' (Spivak) from indigenous epistemes. If the academy does not assume its responsibilities, the gift of indigenous epistemes remains impossible. To counter epistemic ignorance, indigenous epistemes have to be recognized as a gift to the academy. This implies perceiving them according to the ethics of responsibility toward the 'other' and the reciprocity that foregrounds the gift logic of indigenous philosophies. With examples drawn primarily from Sami and Northwest Coast First Nations' contexts, I propose a new interpretation of the gift as a central part of indigenous worldviews. I also test the theories of Spivak and Derrida against the traditional indigenous notions of gift and hospitality. Following Derrida's argument of the 'limit of the impossible' where the academy is exposed to 'forces from without,' I suggest that this threshold is also the limit of possibility, a place where the gift eventually becomes possible.  iii  Acknowledgements  First, I want to recognize the various gifts that sustain us and make life possible: the gifts of the land, water, air and fire. I am grateful for these and many other gifts that I have been given, share and give myself. I want so say giitos eatnat to my family back home, particularly my mother, father, brother and grandmother whose patience and encouragement have supported me during the time away from them. I thank my partner Philip for his sustained, unconditional love and care without which my life and work would have lacked the necessary balance and laughter. I want to acknowledge and say kukschm to the Musqueam people on whose territory I have lived and studied the past several years. I also want to thank the Musqueam who welcomed me to share my work with them at one of the Musqueam 101 sessions. I thank my committee for its guidance, support and constructive feedback: Research Supervisor Margery Fee, Co-Supervisor Graham Smith and Karen Meyer. I would also like to thank Lorraine Weir who was my Research Supervisor at the initial stages of my dissertation. A special thanks to Kaarina K a i l o for her invaluable mentorship and support since the early days of my academic life. Thanks also to my friends and colleagues around the world for our thoughtful conversations that have contributed to my understanding of the issues in and beyond this inquiry.  INTRODUCTION  Indigenous people and higher education is a topic that, in the past years, has increasingly received attention particularly by indigenous but also other educators and educational scholars.  1  The issues commonly addressed by scholars include the invisibility, marginalization and underrepresentation of indigenous students in universities and colleges. From the perspective of the academic institution, these concerns are often defined in terms of inadequate achievement, retention and attrition.  2  A large number of the difficulties experienced by indigenous students in the academy are rooted in differences between indigenous and mainstream cultures of the West (cf. Carney 147-8). These differences include the academic fragmentation and compartmentalization of knowledge in contrast to a more holistic frame of reference and the emphasis on individual status and competition in contrast to a collective identity, consensus and cooperation. When 3  seeking solutions to challenges commonly referred to as 'cultural conflicts,' the representatives of educational institutions usually focus on indigenous students, rarely on themselves or the institution and its structures, discourses, practices and assumptions that operate in the academy. This reinforces the idea that the problem ultimately lies with indigenous students and their differing cultures, not with the university. The institutional response to this 'problem' usually is one of 'accommodating' and 'mainstreaming' indigenous students into the conventions of the institution. Most commonly this is done by establishing various support and counseling services and access programs with an intent to 'bridge' the assumed gulf between the cultures of indigenous students and that of the institution, or help students make the transition from their cultures to the academic 'culture'  In North A m e r i c a n context, see, for example, Barnhardt; Carney; Castellano, Davis and Lahache; Deloria, "Higher Education and Self-Determination"; Grant; Guerrero; Kirkness and Barnhardt; Swisher and Tippeconnic; Stein; and Tierney. F o r higher education i n the Sami context, see J. H . Keskitalo. 1  2  See, for example, D a v i s ; D o d d et a l . ; F a l k and A i t k e n ; and J. C . Henderson.  O n the cultural differences i n learning and educational practices, see, for instance, Deloria, "Higher Education and Self-Determination"; Kirkness and Barnhardt; Sanders; and Thompson.  3  1  with its assumptions, expectations and values. The values and perceptions of the world held by 4  Native students are not, by and large, recognized or respected in the academy but instead, students are frequently "expected to leave the cultural predispositions from their world at the door and assume the trappings of a new form of reality, a reality which is often substantially different from their own" (Kirkness and Barnhardt 6). As an institution, the academy supports and reproduces certain systems of thought and knowledge, structures and conventions that rarely reflect or represent indigenous worldviews, thus silencing and making invisible the reality of many indigenous students. This reality is obliterated not only figuratively but literally (Henderson, "Postcolonial" 59). Eber Hampton (Chickasaw) maintains that Universities typically operate on the assumption that Eurocentric content, structure, and process constitute the only legitimate approach to knowledge. First Nations history, culture, knowledge, and language are largely ignored, and even when they are subjects of study, the perspective is almost always Eurocentric. ("First Nations" 210) The academy remains, to a large extent, founded on exclusionary, selective epistemological practices and traditions reflective of and reinscribed by the Enlightenment, colonialism, modernity and in particular, liberalism. These traditions, discourses and practices have very little awareness of and offer only highly limited and controlled openness to other epistemes. Even in the academic spaces considering themselves most devoted to 'changing the paradigm,' individuals usually refuse to examine the blind spots of their own epistemic foundations or acknowledge their privilege and participation in the academic structures and the various ongoing colonial processes in society in general. Today, there are numerous special educational initiatives aimed at creating culturally appropriate education for indigenous students, including Native/First Nations/Aboriginal/ Indigenous Studies and Native education and teacher training programs. Although culturally5  based educational initiatives play an important role in making the academic world more hospitable and relevant for many indigenous students, these efforts do not reach indigenous See, for example, Beaty and Chiste; Falk and Aitken; Henderson, "Minority Student Retention"; MooreEyman; Pidgeon; Pottinger; Tierney, "The College Experience of Native Americans"; and Wright, "Programming Success." 4  5  See, for example, Castellano et al. (part 4); Champagne and Stauss; and Swisher arid Tippeconnic.  2  people outside specific programs. Moreover, they do not address the core problem of sanctioned ignorance of the academy at large. So far, various programs and sendees for indigenous students have been set up on the premise that they need special assistance to adapt to the academy. I argue, however, that it is the responsibility of the academy to 'do its homework' (Spivak) and address its ignorance so it can recognize and give an 'unconditional welcome' (Derrida) not only to indigenous people but to their epistemes. M y argument is, therefore, that the root problem is the sanctioned epistemic ignorance of the academy rather than the 'conflicting' values and perceptions of the world of indigenous people. In spite of being the major western institution of knowledge, the academy is characterized by epistemic ignorance which results in the failure to recognize indigenous epistemes grounded on different conceptions of the world and ways of knowing. The starting point of this thesis, then, is the analysis of the prevailing sanctioned ignorance pertaining to indigenous epistemes or worldviews in the academy. Ignorance, often reflected in indigenous people's accounts and narratives of their experiences in the academic world, is a little studied and analyzed field in either indigenous scholarship or research on higher education in general. M y concept of epistemic ignorance is informed by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's discussion of 'sanctioned ignorance' and it refers to academic practices and discourses that enable the continued exclusion of other than dominant western European epistemic and intellectual traditions. I employ the notion of 'episteme' to signify 'worldview' or 'discursive practice' - a concept that is broader and less restrictive than the concept of 'culture' (see Chapter 2). Delores J. Huff (Cherokee) notes how studies illuminating the problems of institutional racism "rarely are translated into national social policy because most of them offer solutions that inevitably lead to resolving and reversing centuries of entrenched institutional racism in American communities" (151). Feminist, critical race and anti-racist theories in particular have analyzed extensively the relations of domination and agency, the systemic character of discrimination, and racism and sexism in their various forms in the academy. There are numerous different forms of inequalities constructing and reinforcing disparate relations in the academy, including institutional, structural, power, economic and epistemic inequalities. Although all overlapping and mutually reinforced, I am particularly 3  interested in epistemic inequalities and exclusions. Moreover, there is a need to engage in our critiques on multiple levels and sites (cf. Smith, "Protecting"). My argument builds upon the previous research of indigenous scholars on the ways in which knowledge is constructed and validated in and by the academy. It elaborates indigenous scholarship on knowledge 6  construction to the analysis of how the exclusory and limited discursive practices in the academy lead to circumstances where indigenous peoples are not 'heard' even if they are welcomed to the institution and 'given voice' to express their views. As William G. Tierney puts it: One arrives at a picture of institutions and individuals that are not hostile to minorities, but indifferent. Officially students are encouraged; institutionally they find discouragement. Responsibility is partitioned and goals are elusive. ... Overt acts of racist behavior may not be readily apparent, but the lack of understanding of minority issues is a constant theme. (Official Encouragement 112) I believe that addressing the issue of epistemic ignorance is indispensable because there is a need to complement and further elaborate previous considerations of racism and eurocentrism in the academy with an analysis that focusses on discrimination at the epistemic level. While I definitely do not desire to disqualify concerns of racism in any sections of society, I do find the language of anti-racism often quite limiting. First, it addresses the 7  question of epistemes only partially. When I first started to ask myself what is wrong in the academy, I did not find very satisfactory answers in discourses of anti-racism and the language of white elitism where relevant concerns are frequently discussed in somewhat dualistic or restrictive terms, thus falling back to fixed categories or colonizer-colonized dichotomies. In this regard, deconstruction has proved helpful in its insistence on paying attention to exclusions and silences in narratives, particularly by drawing attention to and breaking down binary oppositions  6  See, for example, Battiste and Henderson; and L. Smith, Decolonizing.  Stephanie M. Wildman suggests: "It is difficult to see and talk about how oppression operates when the vocabulary itself makes those power systems invisible. The vocabulary allows us to talk about discrimination and oppression, but hides tire mechanism that makes that oppression possible and efficient. It also hides the existence of specific, identifiable beneficiaries of oppression (who are not always the actual perpetrators of discrimination). The use of -isms language masks the privileging that is created by these systems of power" (658).  1  4  (Spivak, Post-Colonial 19, 43). Recognizing the limits of the narratives as well as its own 8  participation in what one criticizes, this critical intimacy - instead of the usual, conventionally highly-valued scholarly distance - does not allow me to conveniently forget that as I engage in this current criticism of the academy, I nevertheless remain part of it, privileged and complicit in many ways (cf. Spivak, Critique 425). It reminds me of Jacques Derrida's insistence that, " W e have no language - no syntax and no lexicon - which is foreign to this history. We can pronounce not a single destructive proposition which has not already had to slip into the form, the logic, and the implicit postulations of precisely what it seeks to contest" (Writing and Difference 280-1). I agree that the discourse of anti-racism is in many ways necessary but at the same time, I have personally experienced it as somewhat alienating. Where, for one, would I (and other people like me) fit in? I am a Sami person but I neither appear like a person of colour nor can I identify with the white elite (despite some of the white privileges, I, no doubt, enjoy because I am perceived as white)? Indigenous peoples are not ethnic minorities though they can be racialized and numerical minorities in certain contexts (see the discussion of the term 'indigenous peoples' below). I am not very comfortable with inscribing myself as a person of a racialized minority and even less of a visible minority - if there is anything 'visible' in me, it is that I do not 'look' like a stereotypical indigenous person. Second, what Spivak calls 'single issue movements' (Post-Colonial 124) isolate, at least at the level of language, complex, heterogeneous and overlapping issues that weave through every sphere and stratum of society and thus may prevent us from seeing the intricate, crucial linkages between various forms of oppression (see e.g., Wildman). I am not, however, suggesting that I have solved the problem of language in this inquiry - all I have been able to do is to expand and build on the existing language and in that way, try to contribute to our discourses by making them more open to and representative of our complex realities. A s far as I am concerned, there are no totalizing explanations for issues raised in this inquiry. Instead, I propose the possibility of keeping the river running and opening the doors, seeking to keep them open by drawing attention to the responsibility of the academy and by calling for For a brief and accessible description of some of the main strategies of deconstructive practice, see, for example, Derrida, Positions (pp. 41-53) and Spivak, Critique (Appendix). 8  5  responsiveness. I also believe that indigenous contexts and scholarship can inform the 'race' and identity debates in fruitful ways. The main argument of my inquiry is that indigenous epistemes remain an impossible gift due to the prevalent epistemic ignorance in the academy. There are several reasons to suggest that indigenous epistemes have to be recognized as a gift. The gift forms an integral part of many indigenous worldviews and philosophies which foreground the individual and collective responsibility to look after the overall balance of the socio-cosmic order. The stability of the world, which is considered a sine qua non of well-being and survival, is established and sustained primarily by gift giving and recognizing the gifts of others, including the land. A s I suggest in this thesis, the gift constitutes a specific logic that is radically different from the logic of exchange, for instance, through which many of the analyses have (mis)interpreted the 'archaic' gift. The gift logic articulated here is grounded on an understanding of the world consisting of intricate relationships that extend to everybody and everything. Because of these relationships, this logic emphasizes the recognition of and responsibility toward the other. The academy in its current state with discourses and practices that sanction ignorance toward other ways of perceiving the world and constructing knowledge does not recognize its responsibility toward the 'other,' not to mention recognizing the gift (except when it comes in the form of monetary donations from generous philanthropists or corporations). A s I argue in this inquiry, however, the future of the academy, the 'institution of knowing,' depends on recognizing the gift of indigenous epistemes. The recognition of the gift is also imperative for the well-being of indigenous people of the academy, including those outside programs specifically intended for them. Importantly, the question of the hospitality of the academy and the call for the recognition of the gift extend beyond culturally inclusive curriculum and pedagogic practices (which are, of course, also important), or cultivating a liberal understanding of 'otherness.' A s Derrida suggests, the "politics or ethics of the university... implies something more than knowledge, something more than a constative statement" ("Future" 254). This recognition, however, is not possible without acquiring - or learning and committing to - a particular logic. In short, the call for the recognition of the gift is an articulation of a new paradigm put forth by this inquiry. The related questions that my thesis 6  seeks to answer correspond to those raised by Jiirgen Kremer with regard to presenting indigenous scientific knowledge within the academic conventions: Is there a particular way in which this ancient knowledge should be welcomed into academic discourse ...? Is there a particular responsibility that the participants of the established discourse might have in reading and responding to knowledge that has been historically invalidated through imperialism and colonialism? Is any preparation necessary for the transition from reading and dialoguing within the Western paradigm to engaging with knowledge from a very different paradigm?" ("Indigenous Science"  2) If indigenous worldviews represent a radical epistemic challenge to the academy, is there a way that they could be welcomed to the academy? Even more importantly, is there a particular responsibility that the participants of the established discourse individually and the academy as a collective entity might have in listening to, responding to, and most significantly, recognizing these worldviews? How can the academy, both at the individual and institutional level, prepare itself to respond to and reciprocate with these worldviews? The call for hospitality and the recognition of the gift is necessary for two reasons. If the academy remains ignorant and dismissive of epistemes that differ from the dominant western thought and intellectual practices, not only can indigenous people not speak (cf. Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?") - what they say is either misunderstood or ignored - but also the epistemological foundations of the academy remain narrow, exclusionary and hierarchical. In other words, by sanctioning epistemic ignorance, the academy is not able to profess its profession - its multiple truths - in an appropriate and adequate manner (cf. Derrida, "Future"). Thus, the question investigated here is not only about what the academy could do for (the well-being of) indigenous peoples but also, what it needs to do for (the well-being of) itself. The concepts of the gift and hospitality form the core of this inquiry. Both notions are familiar to indigenous and western societies alike, and they have been quite extensively studied and theorized particularly in anthropology but increasingly also in sociology and philosophy, among others. In this thesis, I draw examples particularly from Sami and Northwest Coast First Nations' contexts and traditions and combine them with contemporary critical analyses by indigenous scholars. I also employ considerations and approaches from postcolonial analysis  7  and deconstruction as they relate to the questions examined here and bring in new dimensions to these concepts. While the considerations and practices of indigenous people form the foundation of my work, the concepts of the gift and hospitality are further elaborated, theorized and also complicated particularly by deconstructive practice. The application of considerations by critics who are commonly located within deconstruction is also a strategic move. The strategy to use some of 'the master's own tools' has two main functions. First, it makes it more difficult for non-indigenous scholars and readers simply to dismiss this consideration as something that has nothing to do with them. Second, while Audre Lorde's famous statement, 'the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house' might be valid in some contexts, I see the need to challenge it in this particular context. The same tools with which the house was built may help undermine, if not deconstruct, the house. A s Spivak insists, "sometimes it is best to sabotage what is inexorably to hand, than to invent a tool that no one will test, while mouthing varieties of liberal pluralism" (Critique 9). Applying deconstruction, often defined as a critique of western 9  metaphysics from within, is also to demonstrate to the western university that it has still a long path to follow in order to live up to its self-proclaimed ideals, and ultimately, its future. Further, there is a need for rigorous analyses of the relationship between the academy and indigenous epistemes which foster our understanding of the more surreptitious dimensions and forms of the hegemonic relations at play in the university. New theories and interpretations that are grounded on indigenous philosophies and practices but also draw upon other appropriate sources are needed to advance indigenous scholarship. Such theories can do this at least in two ways: by consolidating the work of indigenous academics, and thereby indigenous discourses, and by critically re-evaluating the previous analyses and interpretations of indigenous thought and conventions. A t the same time, I am acutely aware of the existing tensions between the institution (the physical space) where indigenous people fare on a daily basis and theoretical language of the gift and hospitality. While it is clear that they cannot be  Paula Gunn Allen notes on structures: "I am not opposed to structure in academic life... [But] I am seriously concerned that structure means oppression, ignorance, and perpetuation of ideas and attitudes that have historically resulted in the extinction or near extinction of countless cultures and civilizations. ... Because 'structure' in this context can only mean 'Western structures,' because 'concepts' in this context can only mean Western concepts'" (Off tlie Reservation 140). 9  8  conflated or that the one should not be taken for the other, it is important, however, to engage in envisioning new forms and models of the future university which is increasingly becoming also a community of indigenous academics. With my thesis, I also challenge some persisting assumptions found in particularly those discourses seeking to transform and undermine the current structures and hegemony according to which 'master's tools' are necessarily harmful and/or useless. Another common assumption that needs to be critically re-examined is that the only ways to carry on indigenous research is to focus on one's own community, to write your work in the format of a story or to conduct empirical study rather than engage in theorizing indigenous issues. A l l these methods are, of course, entirely valid but indigenous scholars should not be required to and cannot be limited to and by them. Further, I resist the simplistic expectations of relevance according to which, in my case, for instance, only research directly dealing with a Sami topic is relevant for the Sami people. Not only can I not arrogantly assume to know what is relevant for the entire Sami people but also it would be naive to think that it is possible to achieve a consensus on such a contingent, ever-evolving issue.  10  Now that indigenous scholarship is being more strongly established (to an extent that some of it even gets read and taken up by mainstream, non-indigenous scholars), there is an increasing pressure both from inside and outside to write and conduct research in a particular style 'authentic' to indigenous people, which often means storytelling. I come from a region famous for its oral tradition and consequently, for writers who skillfully integrate the oral tradition into their writing. Several of my relatives are writers, my mother included. Storytelling is thus something that has always been a part of my life, and something I respect and value highly. I have written Sami stories and discussed the significance of Sami oral tradition elsewhere.  11  In this thesis, however, I want to challenge both the expectation that indigenous scholars should always write their research in the form of a story - it no doubt works perfectly with This does not imply that I entirely ignore the question of relevancy of our research to our indigenous communities - quite the opposite as the following chapters indicate. Here I want to call attention to careless arguments of relevancy which too transparently and quickly assume indigenous communities (or developments in these communities) to be homogeneous, static and uncomplicated entities. 10  11  See, for example, Kuokkanen, "From the Jungle Back to Duottar" and "Re-Storying the Sami Strength." 9  certain topics and I appreciate this kind of research - and the view that indigenous scholars are only good at writing stories, not theory. A s I have experienced such views myself while 12  working on this thesis, I believe that there is a serious need to question them. Academics and scholars harbouring such expectations should ask themselves where these assumptions come from and what they are based upon. Furthermore, we cannot escape the fact that this is a Sami story grounded in and emerging from a specific context and social, cultural, geographical and historical circumstances. Those for whom 'story' signifies 'traditional,' 'authentic' or something else equally problematic, may not recognize this inquiry as such. I can only suggest that they rethink how they conceptualize and understand not only stories but contemporary indigenous people at large.  THE CONCEPT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES  For some, the term 'indigenous peoples' continues to be highly problematic and controversial. More than once I have been told that it is too homogenizing or unspecific by academics from various disciplines, including a well-known American ethnographer according to whom the term 'indigenous' is too vague and too universalizing to have any intellectual value. Every time I hear these comments I am confounded by the ignorance and arrogance of the way some scholars are so eager to and can so easily dismiss a collective identity of another group of people. While it appears to be an accepted and normal practice for mainstream and/or western scholars and academics to call themselves 'western' - scholarly literature is a great indication of this indigenous people are nevertheless denied this collective self-identification which has, in the past decades, played an enormous role in the global affirmation of the rights of these peoples. A s bell hooks puts it, "it is always a marginal 'other' who is essentialist" (Teaching 8 1 ; see fn. bell hooks also challenges 'monolithic notions of theory' and "need to continually assert the need for multiple theories emerging from diverse perspectives in a variety of styles." She also points out that the assumption according to which writing by working-class women and women of color is considered 'experimental' while the writing of white women is seen as 'theory,' often merely reinforces racism and elitism (Talking Back 37). 12  10  15 and my discussion below). One can only wonder whether it is another sign of the continuance of the colonial control over names and thus over people, a reflection of academic arrogance or simply a fear of losing disciplinary boundaries and carefully defined 'particularities' (cf. Vizenor, "Interview" 162).  In The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity, Ronald Niezen employs the term 'international indigenism' to refer to the global phenomenon and form of indigenous activism. This internationally recognized identity of indigenous peoples which emerged in the mid-1970s has had a particularly significant impact in international politics and human rights. For several decades, international institutions such as the United Nations have been the principal focal point for indigenous rights, drawing indigenous representatives from every part of the world and generating various initiatives and investigations pertaining to indigenous peoples and their issues. The persistent work by indigenous representatives within a body established to represent nation-states - not peoples - has culminated with the establishment of the U N Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2002, currently chaired by Sami politician Ole Henrik Magga.  13  Natives are the run of seasons, the rush of rivers, and tricky creation stories, but natives are not analogies by surveillance, by cultural substitution, by social science remissions, or simulations of an ethnic originary (Vizenor, Fugitive Poses 28)  While there obviously cannot be a single, fixed definition of the term 'indigenous peoples,' there are various working definitions that are also widely accepted by the indigenous community. According to the definition of the International Labour Organization's Convention no. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, a person is regarded as Indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions. (ILO Convention no. 169, Article 1(b).) For accounts of the history and development of an international network of indigenous peoples, see, for example, Anaya; Battiste and Henderson, "Preface"; and Wilmer. 13  11  Not merely ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples remain in a colonial situation within or across the borders of nation-states that have not recognized their self-determination or sovereignty which, according to international law, is an inherent right of all peoples. This is the reason why indigenous peoples insist that they are peoples (in plural), not minorities, populations, groups or anything else that denies this status. A reflection of this status is, for instance, preservation and 14  continued practice of their particular social, economic and cultural institutions and traditions. Another, widely employed definition is by the U N Special Rapporteur Jose R. Martinez Cobo: Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or in parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems. The Cobo definition emphasizes four main characteristics of indigenous peoples: the historical continuity of their societies on territories they have occupied and inhabited for generations, their distinctiveness from 'mainstream' or dominant societies, their current non-dominant status in relation to larger society and their desire and willingness to defend, protect, advance and pass on their identities, languages, cultural and social traditions, conventions and philosophies. Based on this definition, therefore, it would not be appropriate to call, say, the Irish an indigenous people. While the Irish have experienced a long history of colonization by the English empire and they are arguably 'the original inhabitants' of their territory (i.e., 'historical continuity') - though there is evidence that the Celts 'replaced' another, pre-Celtic people upon their arrival - they are not 'distinct from other sectors of the society now prevailing in those territories,' as .they run their own state and government, making decisions on their identities, languages, cultural and social traditions as well as a range of other issues, including economics. While the Irish as a people control over their own lives and future as a people, indigenous peoples, for the most part, do not. This is an ongoing dispute between the representatives of indigenous peoples and nation-states (particularly the United States) which often refuse to accept or employ the term peoples exactly because of the right of selfdetermination of all peoples. This dispute is commonly known as 'the s-problem.' 14  12  In other words, the concept of indigeneity (at least as it is used by indigenous people themselves) is grounded on and inseparable from the contemporary politics and ramifications of the history of colonization. This is clear both in the Cobo definition that refers to societies at present and in statements that argue that to be indigenous is synonymous to being colonized today. T o claim then, as is often done, that 'we are all indigenous' is to either be blind to this contemporary reality or refuse to recognize the ways in which the colonial history continues to affect not only indigenous peoples but also the relations between states and indigenous peoples. The statement 'we are all indigenous' is a reflection of not wanting to take responsibility for or engage with these issues that do not belong to the past but continue to keep indigenous peoples in a subordinate position without the same rights that peoples with nation-states can and do take for granted. It is interesting how academics are often very concerned about generalizations and even more so, essentialism, particularly when it involves non-dominant, non-mainstream people or issues. In this inquiry, my intention is neither to essentialize nor polarize 'the academy' or 15  'indigenous' - the terms I inevitably have to use to construct my argument and analyze the issue at hand. I am aware of the dangers of using such generalized categories, recognizing that each 'entity' is markedly complex and heterogeneous with multiple internal divisions and conflicts. But as Spivak notes, generalizations are occasionally necessary in order to. analyze anything and that from time to time, the moment of essentializing is irreducible (Post-Colonial Critic 51). In effect, anti-essentialism can be a way of not doing one's homework (Spivak, "In a W o r d " 160). A s is discussed in Chapter 4, doing homework is necessary particularly for the academy in order for it to receive the gift and carry out its responsibilities. Rather than pretending that we never essentialize or counterproductively repudiate our practices, then, Spivak suggests that "let us become vigilant about our own practice and use it as  Taking issue with Diana Fuss's Essentially Speaking, bell hooks notes that in Fuss's account, "it is always a marginal 'other' who is essentialist. Yet the politics of essentialist exclusion as a means of asserting presence, identity, is a cultural practice that does not emerge solely from marginalized groups. And when those groups do employ essentialism as a way to dominate in institutional settings, they are often imitating paradigms for asserting subjectivity that are part of the controlling apparatus in structures of domination" (hooks, Teaching to Transgress 81). 15  13  much as we can" (Post-Colonial 11). U m a Narayan also warns us of the dangers of what she 16  calls 'pseudoparticularism': "equally hegemonic representations of 'particular cultures' whose 'particularism' masks the reality that they are problematic generalizations about complex and internally differentiated contexts." She argues, I believe that antiessentialism about gender and about culture does not entail a simpleminded opposition to all generalizations, but entails instead a commitment to examine both their empirical accuracy and their political utility or risk. It is seldom possible to articulate effective political agendas, such as those pertaining to human rights, without resorting to a certain degree of abstraction, which enables the articulation of salient similarities between problems suffered by various individuals and groups. ( 97-8) In spite of the historical, political, social, economic and geographical differences, the world's indigenous peoples share certain similarities such as experiences of continued colonialism and certain salient, fundamental principles embedded and manifested in their worldviews and value systems. The immediate relationship with the natural environment has generated various other cultural values and practices, some of which will be discussed in the following chapters. B y discussing indigenous epistemes, my purpose is not to attempt to give a complete taxonomy or an exhaustive explanation of either what they have been in the past or what they are in present. I have focussed on certain underpinning aspects and values and offer only a partial, provisional explanation which is necessary in illuminating my overall argument. I am painfully aware that I have done this at the cost of addressing the specificities of various indigenous peoples and communities. I am also aware that there are real and deep distinctions between different indigenous worldviews but it is clear that I cannot - 1 am not even equipped to engage in comparative research on these distinctions, not to mention that such a topic would merit an inquiry of its own. I coincide with Spivak who notes: "When I invoke the possibility of an alternative vision, I am not thinking to romanticize the actual Aboriginal, just as much as ... I am not interested in finding in him [or her] a negligible example of humanity as such" (Spivak, Critique 403). Her statement inspires me to contemplate the possibility of elaborating a vision  1 6  So to paraphrase Spivak, then, I can only declare that because I cannot not be an essentialist, I can look at  the ways i n which I am essentialist, carve out a representative essentialist position and do politics while remembering the dangers of the essentialism! (cf. Spivak,  Post-Colonial 45). 14  for change without invoking idealized or homogeneous actual indigenous epistemes (or peoples). There are dangers, for sure, but at least one can acknowledge their existence and one's complicity rather than pretend that if constructed in another way, one would be freed from them. A s I draw my examples from previously published accounts of both indigenous students and faculty, it is obvious that my choice already represents a form of exclusion (as would any other). B y choosing to focus on the analysis and reconceptualizing the current relations of the academy and various indigenous epistemes (rather than producing an empirical study including interviews or 'stories'), I have, for instance, excluded indigenous 'voices' and experiences that have not been published. These are choices and decisions that we, as scholars and academics, all have to make and this is what I have considered most important at this particular point and in these circumstances. The gulf between different worldviews is a central question to the present inquiry - a concern that initially prompted me to engage in the current undertaking. Although it may occasionally seem that the worldviews which have predominantly characterized indigenous societies, on the one hand, and modem societies of the West, on the other, are hopelessly incommensurate, I strongly believe that there are ways to find at least certain pathways to increased understanding also on the epistemic level. For many socialized into and trained within the 'eurocentered' or modern consciousness, it might be occasionally difficult and challenging to fully grasp the meaning of arguments and perspectives represented and explained by indigenous thought. For this reason, it might occur to some that providing more definitions would have been helpful in this regard. I, however, seek to remain attentive to terminology and the danger of definitions. Kremer asserts: Definitions are tricky business in the context of this cross-cultural exchange, which spans qualitatively different assumptions about almost everything (not just differences in scale). Words such as culture, consciousness, science, native, indigenous, and so on frequently seem to serve more as magnets for projections, and our understanding oftentimes seems to say more about our own implicit assumptions and ideologies rather than the meaning which the context of a statement is attempting to evoke. ("Indigenous Science" 3) There are also certain serious risks in imposing one's definition on others, as illustrated in an example by Spivak: a benevolent European against the irresponsible development of a mega15  project seeks to interpret and translate the terminology of a subaltern but gets it wrong because of his impatience and inattention (see Spivak, "Responsibility" 63-4). Comments Spivak: "However sympathetic the intention, to rob the mother tongue of the subaltern by way of an ignorant authoritative definition that is already becoming part of the accepted benevolent lexicography is a most profound silencing" ("Responsibility" 64). Marie Battiste (Mi'kmaq) and James Youngblood Henderson (Chickasaw) thus argue for the need to question the eurocentric desire of definitions. In their view, the "quest for universal definitions ignores the diversity of the people of the earth and views of themselves.... From the Indigenous vantage point, the process of understanding is more important than the process of classification" (36-7). In this inquiry, the difficulty of discussing certain concepts and issues in a way that is accessible to different audiences is reflected in instances where I have attempted to explicate, while seeking to avoid sweeping totalizations, how certain taken for granted, apparently transparent concepts such as 'responsibility' may have radically different meanings in different epistemes and systems of thought. While we may agree that there are no fixed meanings; that any word or concept consists of a field of meanings rather than a final point of unassailable, single meaning, I do not think that in this particular case, the use of the same words with different meanings can solely be ascribed to poststructuralist 'differance' (see, e.g., Derrida, "Differance" in Speech and Phenomena). It rather reflects some of the differences in the way in which people in indigenous and dominant societies perceive themselves in relation to others as well as to the world in general. It is therefore necessary, throughout my inquiry, to inquire into concepts that are central to the main argument of my work. If anything, the occasionally lengthy explanations demonstrate how some of the most commonly employed concepts and notions can have altogether different meanings and contents in different epistemes and modes of social reality. It also reflects the complexity of the current undertaking.  16  STRUCTURE OF T H E THESIS  This inquiry consists of two parts. The first part creates the necessary context by means of the guiding concept-metaphors of this thesis. In the chapter "Deatnu - the River," I evoke a river 17  of my home place as a metaphorical undercurrent of my work. In that chapter, I situate myself by way of discussing the river Deatnu both as an actual place where I come from as well as a concept-metaphor of the fluidity and coalescence of various discourses and epistemes. I discuss how and why the metaphor of the river is necessary for my inquiry and useful for scholarly inquiry in general. The chapter also illuminates my path, or, staying true to the metaphor of the river, the current that has led me to undertake the present inquiry on the relationship between indigenous epistemes and the academy. The second chapter reconsiders the concept of the gift, emphasizing its dimension as a reflection of a particular worldview rather than a form of exchange economy as it has been defined by many previous theories and analyses. T o understand my argument pertaining to the (im)possible gift of indigenous epistemes, it is necessary to critically examine previous assumptions about the gift and to acquire a new perspective of it as a means of constructing and sustaining relationships not only between human beings but also in the interaction between humans and the natural environment. Many scholars of the logic and functions of the gift have invariably noted the the intricate and ambiguous nature of the gift, yet they have not been able to rid themselves of certain biases influencing their interpretations. Ironically, many of the analyses are imbued by condescending views, rendering indigenous systems into 'primitive thought' while at the same time recognizing the complexity of the gift. In this chapter, I also  I use the term 'concept-metaphor' in a deconstructive sense, attempting to repeal the binary between the two and call attention to its meaning as a combination of the two tenns (without prioritizing either) that often are separated and categorized into two different realms of existence. Spivak notes that if neither metaphor nor concept is given priority (or both are), it is possible to analyze poetry "as a serious objection to the privileging of theory that takes place when humanists gather to discuss 'cultural explanations.'" She argues, "If we could deconstruct (as far as possible) this marginalization between metaphor and concept, we would realize not only that no pure theory of metaphor is possible, because any premetaphoric base of discussion must already assume the distinction between theory and metaphor; but also diat no priority, by the same token, can be given to metaphor, since every metaphor is constrained and constituted by its conceptual justification" (In Other Worlds 115). See also Derrida, "White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy," Margins, 207-57. 17  17  illuminate some aspects of the traditional Sami worldview and practices with regard to the gift. The second part of my work delves into the question of indigenous epistemes in the academy. The first chapter of this section gives an overview of some of the previous critiques of . the academy that implicitly inform my own inquiry and argument. First, I take a quick look into the historical development of higher learning and universities and the eurocentric foundations and nature of the academy. Second, I discuss the 'crisis' of the liberal education, the feminist critique of the academy as well as the critiques of anthropology and ethnography. I also briefly consider racism in the university and criticism of academic practices and discourses by indigenous scholars. In the second chapter, I outline the current academic circumstances that gave impetus for my analysis and consideration. B y drawing upon various examples of the experiences of indigenous people in the academy (my own 'field notes' included) ,1 demonstrate the main 18  issues - commonly referred to as 'cultural conflicts' between the cultures of indigenous peoples on the one hand and the academy on the other - underlying the inhospitality of the academy and its lack of responsibility toward the other. In this chapter, I also problematize the concept of culture and explain my use of the concept of episteme. A t the end of the chapter, I will elaborate the notion of epistemic ignorance and analyze some of the common manifestations of passive and active ignorance. In the third chapter, I suggest, following Spivak's argument, that considering the present circumstances, many indigenous people often 'cannot speak' in the academy. In other words, they are not heard, listened to seriously or understood but rather, reduced to the position of native informants who consolidate the dominant selves of the academy. In short, 'the indigenous other' appears and is allowed to appear only when she is needed in the production of hegemonic knowledge. In this chapter, I also return to the notion of the gift, further elaborating why it has been perceived to be a threat. This discussion foregrounds my argument In this regard - writing 'field notes' from and within the academy -1 could perhaps consider myself, with intentional self-irony, what Spivak calls a 'wild anthropologist,' someone "who went out to do field work in the West" (Post-Colonial 165; see also Critique 157). I certainly hope to be able to say that "'Fieldwork' for me has come to mean something else, working in the field to learn how not to formalize too quickly, for one's own benefit in learning to resonate with responsibility-based mind-sets; rather than a generally hasty preparation for academic and semi-academic transcoding" (Spivak, Critique 409). The reason I can only express my desire for such a position is that I am aware of the difficulty of it, constantly grappling with generalized taxonomies and arguments and sliding still too easily into the trappings of formalizations. 18  18  that in current circumstances, indigenous epistemes remain an impossible gift in and to the academy. A t the end of the third chapter, I consider the notion of 'recognition' and explain what I mean by calling for the recognition of indigenous epistemes as a gift. I also suggest that recognition is central to the indigenous logic of the gift. In the fourth chapter, I analyze and problematize the idea of knowing other peoples and cultures. While it is clearly necessary to have knowledge and understanding of indigenous peoples and their epistemic traditions to rid oneself from ignorance, there are numerous pitfalls in this 'knowing,' including Romantic notions of the colonized Other, 'Eurocentric arrogance' or 'unexamined nativism' (Spivak, Critique 377, 208, 173). Here Spivak's articulation of the need for doing one's homework is very helpful. I link it to the notion of the responsibility toward the other as the crucial premise of the re-imagined future academy. In this chapter, I also further explicate the concept of responsibility, a notion commonly evoked in academic circumstances but rarely defined or specified. How does this notion relate to the ways responsibility is often understood in indigenous contexts? I outline responsibility as a call for a response and a specific form of action and knowing. In the last chapter of my inquiry, I discuss the possibility of a new relationship of hospitality between the academy and indigenous epistemes, based on the arguments and conceptualizations of both indigenous thought and Derrida's theorizing of hospitality. First, I delineate some initial encounters of hospitality between indigenous people and early colonizers as well as traditional perceptions of hospitality. I then examine the notion of hospitality in the academy through discussions of academic freedom and the question of the roles of the host and the guest. I also deliberate what an unconditional welcome would imply in the academy. Finally, I suggest an open-ended model of hospitality characterized by interchangeability. This interchangeability prevents us being locked into reductionistic and apparently false fixed categories of the guest and host by allowing both the academy and indigenous epistemes to occupy the positions of host-guest (hote) simultaneously. In this way the necessary reciprocation can occur, making the gift eventually possible. M y analysis and theoretical arguments are occasionally complemented and interspersed with by literary excerpts, particularly poetry, of indigenous writers. The purpose of these literary reflections is manifold. M u c h of the analysis of the experiences of indigenous people in the 19  academy has to do with emotions. In many cases, poetry reveals these emotions succinctly and more effectively than any conventional scholarly explanations would. The use of the literary also reminds us that it is a theoretical discourse for many people, including countless indigenous peoples who have always theorized through various forms of their oral traditions. While adding another dimension to my inquiry, I leave the poems unanalyzed, allowing them to have the effect they may evoke on the reader. The inclusion of poetry does not, however, imply a transparent model of representation - 1 do not assume that I am allowing the 'subaltern' speak for herself through the selected literary excerpts. Such an assumption would efface my role and conceal it as an 'absent nonrepresenter' (cf. Spivak, " C a n the Subaltern Speak?" 292). M y use of the literary excerpts is undoubtedly selective, strategic and irretrievably mediated. Furthermore, guided by the notion and the movement of the river, I intend to illuminate the potential capacity of bringing several epistemic, philosophical and scholarly traditions together, however tentatively, temporarily and above all, fluidly. I believe that with the help of the metaphor of the river, it is possible to avoid getting stuck in fixed, deterministic positions. The river enables the constant movement of this coalescence and if necessary, coming apart again. The fluidity of the river prevents forcing anything but it also enables things that otherwise might not be conceivable. A s such, then, this inquiry should not be considered offering definitive answers or solutions to the questions raised in this work. Instead, it should be viewed as an invitation to respond and opening into a new level of analysis concerning indigenous epistemes and the gift logic in the academy.  20  i. D E A T N U - T H E RIVER "Like a silver ribbon the swift river winds through its deep yet spacious valley. Uninterrupted birch forest gives to the slope a luxuriant air, reminiscent of the South; the river is something like a Rhine of the North." (Kalliala 51)'  Deatnu, often regarded as one of the best salmon rivers in Europe, is officially considered the border river between Norway and Finland. For many of us along the river, however, Deatnu is 2  not a border but rather a bond that connects families who live on both sides of the river. The entire Deatnu valley is the landscape of our home. Before the roads were built on both sides of 3  the river, Deatnu was the main johtolat - a Sami word signifying passage, way, route, channel, connection - for people, news, foodstuffs, mail, building materials and so on. During the summer, traveling and commuting was done by boat. In the winter, the thick ice of the river served as a road for horses and oxen and later cars. In short, everything and everybody moved along the river, except during short periods in the spring and fall when the ice was either too thin to carry weight or, in the process of being formed, prevented boating. Besides being a significant salmon river, it has functioned as a source of both physical and spiritual sustenance for generations.  4  While mostly correct, this description by a Finnish person reveals a desire if not exoticize, to construct the river and the valley 'as good as' something that is recognized and valued within European sensibility. Also reflecting the common attempt to comprehend and represent the unfamiliar by means of the familiar, it nevertheless embodies "a systematic and revealing distribution of values" (Todorov 128). 1  The Sami along the river consider Deatnu 'the mother of all rivers.' Etymologically, the name of the river is derived from the Sami word 'eatnu' signifying a large river. 'Eatnu,' in turn, has the same root as words 'eatnan' (earth), 'eadni' (mother). 2  1 am aware of the problematic nature of the term 'landscape' (see e.g., Silko, Yellow Woman 27) yet for lack of a better word in English 1 occasionally use it to refer to the entirety of a certain environment or surrounding.  3  For many indigenous peoples, salmon is not merely an economic resource, but as Michael Marker puts it, while discussing the significance of the salmon for the Lummi on the Pacific Northwest Coast, "the salmon represent a merging of economic and spiritual survival" ("Lummi Identity" 410). Jeannette Armstrong notes: "Where salmon is die most important source of life and the outward expression of God, the spirit of a whole people become wounded beyond expression when that source is annihilated. I have seen that deep despair in the many river peoples who can no longer harvest salmon" ("Unclean Tides" 182).  4  21  Sami musician M a n Boine recalls her childhood when she was told that on the other side of the river is a foreign country called Finland. She could not understand how that was possible for her family lived on both sides of the river. Only later she learned that colonization had divided her homeland into different countries and in that process, her home river had become a marker of these artificial boundaries. A metaphor of the formation of multiple, complicated identities, living on the border and in between different worlds - whether geographical, physical, political and/or colonial, racial, cultural or any combination of these - has long been a theme of poetry and other creative writing. Sometimes these borders are not mere metaphors but concrete, lived experience. Thomas K i n g (Cherokee/Greek) tells a humorous yet highly poignant story of a Blackfoot woman attempting to cross the Canadian-U.S. border with her son. She runs into trouble when the border guard wants to know her citizenship: "Blackfoot," my mother told him. "Ma'am?" "Blackfoot," my mother repeated. "Canadian?" "Blackfoot."... " N o w , I know that we got Blackfeet on the American side and the Canadians got Blackfoot on their side. Just so we can keep our records straight, what side do you come from?" ... "Canadian side or American side?" asked the guard. "Blackfoot side," she said. ... Most of that day, we wandered around the duty-free store, which wasn't very large. The manager had a name tag with a tiny American flag on one side and a tiny Canadian flag on the other. His name was M e l . Towards evening, he began suggesting that we should be on our way. I told him we had nowhere to go, that neither the Americans nor the Canadians would let us in. ( K i n g , "Borders" 136, 140) Today, Samiland is also divided by the borders of four different nation-states and while the crossing of these borders is made relatively easy due to Nordic cooperation agreements, including the Nordic Passport Union, 1 am always somewhat ill at ease when I am asked which 5  country I come from. Not only do I feel that replying " F i n l a n d " is incorrect in the sense that it does not say anything about my Sami background - it does not adequately reflect my reality but  5  The U n i o n dates back over 40 years and has meant the elimination of passport controls at internal borders.  22  I also feel the weight of the absurdity of such an innocent question. If the vagaries of the history such as the "closing" of the border of present-day Norway and Finland had taken place, say, ten or twenty years earlier or later, who knows if my family might have been living on the side of the river that became Norway, and I might today carry a Norwegian passport rather than a Finnish one. I would reply that I was from Norway and feel equally uncomfortable. In a way, I am grateful for the Nordic Passport Union since at least I am not subjected to the same kind of nonsensical and, most of all, hurtful questioning as was the Blackfoot woman in King's story, travelling in her own territory. However, even if I am not stopped every time I cross the border in Samiland, the borders are made visible in numerous implicit and explicit ways. The emergence of postcolonial criticism has also made the idea of the border a popular topic of scholarly analysis. For Paula Gunn Allen (Pueblo Laguna/Sioux), living on the border 6  does not refer so much to physical and geographical boundaries as to "multiculturality, multilinguality, and dizzying class-crossing from the fields to the salons, from the factories to the academy, or from galleries and the groves of academe to the neighborhoods and reservations" (Off the Reservation 166). She calls this kind of existence 'boundary-busting,' best illustrated in writing by people who belong to more than one community, creating a new 'border literature' - "literature that rides the borders of a variety of literary, cultural, and ideological realms" (Off the Reservation 165). Living on both sides of the river Deatnu has, for centuries, meant living on the border in the sense delineated by Allen. People have been multicultural and multilingual out of necessity understanding other cultures and languages has been the key for everyday survival. On the Finnish side of the Deatnu valley, Sami carried quite an isolated life from the rest of Finland until the postwar period. Sami scholar Veli-Pekka Lehtola notes that some people even designated the northernmost municipality as its own republic (Evakko n.p.). After the return from the evacuation in Central Finland, life got restarted mainly with the help of the Norwegian connections. Unlike in many other places, there was no lack of food on the Deatnu river Considerations on the concept of the border and 'borderlands' include Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera; Anzaldua and Keating, ed, This Bridge We Call Home; Arteaga, ed, An Other Tongue; Castillo and Cordoba, 6  Border Women; Gomez-Pena, Dangerous Border Crossers; Hicks, Border Writing and Moraga and Anzaldua, ed,  This Bridge Called My Back. See also analyses on hybridity, including Bhabha, The Location of Culture and Trinh, Woman, Native, Other.  23  because of the nearby towns on the Norwegian side. People also relied on the health services of those towns. In Vuovdaguoika school, located on the Finnish side of the river, there even was a Norwegian hospital running for a while, admitting patients from both sides of the river. After the war, however, the border of Finland and Norway was patrolled more closely, particularly because the two countries were considered to belong in different 'camps.' Northern Norway was liberated from the German occupation by Russians while Finland was, at the end of the war, a German ally. The first Finnish border patrol station was established in the region in 1945, after which the formal connections to the other side of the river gradually weakened (Lehtola, Evakko 196-8). After the war, people were required to settle down more permanently on either side of the river, although many families had land on each side. New laws were passed to regulate land ownership. According to the Norwegian law, 'Finnish citizens,' i.e., the Sami who happened to live on the Finnish side of the river when the 'border was closed' (in 1752), were no longer allowed to own land on the Norwegian side. M y great-grandmother, who had married from one side of the river to the other, however, was able to retain her land on the Norwegian side and, after retiring, she moved back with her husband. Her situation was by no means unique, as illustrated by Sami poet Rauni Magga Lukkari:  I row across my river Father's river Grandfather's river Row first to the Norwegian side then to the Finnish side I row across my river to Mother's side Father's side Wondering where homeless children belong (141)  Besides being a small-scale farmer with cows and sheep, my great-grandfather was a trader who regularly traveled to the port towns of Northern Norway. M y grandfather in turn occasionally worked as a fisherman at sea - again in Northern Norway yet still in Sapmi.  24  Intermingling of cultures and languages has a long history in the Deatnu valley and is still taken for granted by many local people. Our place - my mother's and her siblings' birth place 7  continues to reflect this reality today, particularly in the summer when various family members come to spend their holidays by the river. Communication takes place in various languages and there are always people who do not understand all the languages spoken. This is considered entirely normal and I was made aware of it only after my mother told me a story of a visitor from a completely monolingual region in Finland who had expressed his uneasiness with languages that he did not know. He had been resting upstairs when he had realized that people downstairs were speaking at least a couple of different languages and neither of them was Finnish. A l l these 'foreign' languages and so little Finnish in spite of being in Finland (or at least this is what he thought)!  8  Discussing national borders, Leslie Marmon Silko (Pueblo Laguna) maintains that "borders haven't worked, and they won't work, not now, as the indigenous people of the Americas reassert their kinship and solidarity with one another" (Yellow Woman 122). She points out that in the region of the present-day Southwest of the U S and Mexico, indigenous peoples have always traded and shared cosmologies and oral narratives. In her view, these exchanges and human migrations cannot be stopped, because like rivers and winds, human beings are also natural forces of the earth. For me, it is easy to relate to Silko's words and her denunciation of physical, colonial borders that attempt to break up and divide existing communities and kinships. This is exactly why I have difficulties with fully embracing the notion of living on the border. In my case, celebration of in-betweenness would include recognizing the colonial borders of the nationstates that split my family and divide my people into four different countries. It would mean the Here the notion of border territory with regard to Samiland gains a new meaning. Einar Niemi argues that the idea of the 'border territory' is much older than the present-day state borders. Writes he: "Since the Middle Ages the northern Sami habitation area was regarded as a border territory between cultures and ethnic groups and between east and west" (63-4). Later, during the official assimilation policies known as the Norwegianization between the mid-1800s and WW II, this view was revised into a notion that Northern Norway was-seen as "the last stronghold of European civilization in die North against 'Eastern barbarism.' Here the 'civilized house of Europe' bordered 'Asian anarchy and chaos'" (Niemi 75). This is an interesting strand to the discussion of borders in Samiland which cannot, however, considered further in the context my inquiry. 1  The 'cosmopolitan' nature of the Sami is also discussed by Valkeapaa, "I Have No Beginning" and Vuolab, "All Situations." 8  25  recognition of the borders which were established much later than the era when my ancestors inhabited the river valley. In short, for many along the river, Deatnu remains a borderless river that nevertheless carries the implications of its invisible border.  The attempt to situate myself with the Deatnu river stems from my conviction, shared by many indigenous and other scholars, that no academic inquiries can remain disconnected from the inquirer whose capacities and limits of knowledge are always implicated in their work. The basic Foucauldian premise that subjects can only speak and know within the limits imposed by the discursive frameworks of a particular time, informs my understanding. These frameworks are central to my possibilities of understanding and interpreting the questions at hand. In other words, I do not attempt to escape the fact that knowing is always partial and embedded in certain historically and culturally situated and constructed accounts. In this chapter on the river Deatnu, therefore, I discuss my own social, cultural, geographic, historical and intellectual locatedness that shapes and constructs my knowing and thinking. In its apparent straightforward flow toward the sea, the river meanders and digresses, constantly changing its rhythm and speed. The rhythm changes according to and depends on its physical features, seasons as well as human activities (which, luckily, on Deatnu have been so far relatively minimal). Swimming upstream, the salmon also has its rhythm, stopping and resting behind big rocks and in deep pools. There are countless tributaries that feed into the river, making the river stretch far away from the main current. The movement of the stream appears linear yet its various currents, rapids and eddies make it also circular. This fluid and shifting nature of the river defies fixed, clear-cut boundaries or divisions. Such ambiguity is the strength of the river - it cannot be reduced to characteristics of binary oppositions. Literally, the river, both as an actual river and as a concept-metaphor, requires us to look beyond the surface 26  in order to see its various contexts and circumstances. The river is like a genealogy - in fact, it is a genealogy in a very concrete way, considering how many of my family members live in various locations along the both sides of the river. It is like a genealogy also in that at the specific location that I consider my home, there always is an upstream, the river that comes before, and a downstream, the river that comes after. For this reason, it is necessary to recount several stories that relate (though circuitously) to the intentions of this inquiry. Like the river, the various accounts in this chapter meander and digress while all being integral to it; without them the river would be incomplete. There are many places where I could start this particular 'river/genealogy.' One of the most obvious is the larger Sami context, and in that, the dominant Sami discourse that constructs and is constructed by the contemporary Sami society of which I am part regardless of my physical location. By Sami discourse I mean not only the ways in which common 9  interpretations of Saminess are constructed, but the ways in which common 'truths' are generally perceived and interpreted in Sami society. In my inquiry, I employ the notion of discourse in the Foucauldian sense according to which discourses are constituted of a certain, limited number of statements and unwritten rules that are continually referred to. Discourses thus establish what is conceivable to say and think, what are the criteria of 'truth' and who is assigned to speak with authority. Here I am interested in the statements and unwritten rules of Sami discourse, i.e., the statements made in the public Sami context that express the taken-forgranted representations of the Sami. In many ways, my relationship to that discourse is central to my work both within and without the academy. It also informs, however indirectly, the current inquiry. Although the link between a critique of the academy and Sami discourse appears somewhat distant, they are  While recognizing that a discourse is always a site of contested meanings and that also in Sami society there are several concurrent discourses, my focus here is on the discourse produced by the Sami elite, i.e., academics and politicians. This discourse is the predominant, 'official' discourse in that it is very influential in defining the parameters of Saminess and Sami culture. Yet in many ways, it remains uncritical of its underlying assumptions that contribute to its own complicity in colonialism. In spite of concentrating specifically on Sami discourse, I understand that many of the issues raised here also apply, in varying degrees, to other indigenous peoples' situations, reinforcing the idea of connectedness to other cross-cultural examples and enabling a supportive reflection of other indigenous contexts. The Sami may have articulated a clearer position of engaging in the game of the dominant discourses and structures than many other indigenous peoples, but the difference is more a matter of emphasis. 9  27  connected. M y criticism of narrow, selective epistemic and intellectual traditions of the academy also implicitly criticizes the dominant Sami discourse. A s far as I am concerned, Sami society at large is facing a subtle but far-reaching epistemic or cultural displacement in regards to our values, worldview and cultural practices. There is a pressing need to recognize our epistemically impoverished state which is in a stark contrast to the general material well-being of the Sami. There is a need to address the cultural or epistemic displacement of the Sami and become more aware of the subtle forms of colonization that have become internalized during the hundreds of years of colonization and today affect much of our basic assumptions and thinking. Lacking a critique of discursive practices of colonialism in particular, the dominant Sami discourse has not paid adequate attention to the gradual erasure of the Sami episteme - the deeper structures such as values, worldviews, underlying assumptions and principles. Therefore, we need both 10  awareness of our subjugation and a new vision of Sami society. A s Sami scholars we have to both enter and know the struggles within a discourse and of multiple discourses in order to be able to examine critically the profound effects of colonial processes on us and our society. Quite naturally, we need to bear in mind that to discuss the Sami episteme - a set of values, system of knowledge and worldview deriving from a distinct Sami understanding and interpretation of the world and its phenomena - does not imply its immutability throughout time. While constantly changing, the Sami episteme, however, contains certain underlying "premises and beliefs that remain relatively stable, informing the basic values and norms of society. Like the Deatnu river, it is in a constant flux, gradually changing all the time yet remaining in its course. M y intention is not to call for an impossible return to the 'golden past' but to argue that in our attempts to negotiate our position in the contemporary world, the Sami need to pay a much closer attention to their own episteme - to recognize that the process of negotiation is not an either-or game. A central part of the self-determination process of indigenous peoples is to resist the definitions of the world according to frameworks deriving from the western scholarly tradition  As Vine Deloria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux) puts it: "No one is suggesting that Indians 'revert' to the old days or old ways. Rather we must be able to understand what those old days and ways really were and model our present actions and beliefs within that tradition" ("Research, Redskins" 16). He particularly recognizes the responsibility of scholars in this process of renegotiation. 10  28  and instead, name it according to indigenous systems of thought.  11  The Maori, for instance,  have created a research philosophy and practice called Kaupapa Maori based on certain principles that not only reflect Maori values but also address the shortcomings of earlier research and current policies directed at the Maori people. Much of Sami scholarship, on the 12  other hand, has so far rather uncritically (and often unconsciously) employed and reproduced mainstream, western theories and adopted their scholarly traditions without considering alternative Sami modes of research. The river as a guiding concept-metaphor is, therefore, my personal attempt to begin constructing a basis for analysis that is based on Sami social and cultural realities. Moreover, the idea of the river in its fluidity and constant change corresponds to the context of Sami worldview characterized by porous boundaries between human, natural and spiritual realms, making the transformation and movement in and out of different worlds commonplace and 'normal.'  Guided by the river, I approach Sami discourse through a meander - from a critical comparative perspective. Looking from afar and contrasting Sami contemporary realities with other indigenous peoples has been instrumental for me in recognizing many of the naturalized and taken-for-granted assumptions of ourselves as Sami, our society and our relationship to others.  Related to this sense of belonging and responsibility is the common practice of indigenous research to 'decolonize' the idea of stereotypical generic 'Indians' and other 'natives' by indicating the 'tribal affiliations' of each indigenous individual. Denoting the people, nation or tribe of an indigenous individual is to name them properly and also to give them a voice as who they are collectively. In this way, they and their words are also connected to their cultures and certain backgrounds. As a practice, it is a way of respecting and recognizing who we are as diverse and heterogeneous indigenous people with differing social, cultural, historical, economic and political contexts yet sharing certain fundamental principles that are characteristic to indigenous peoples around the world. In my inquiry, therefore, I will name the people or nation of an indigenous individual, usually simply in brackets. Since it is not a common practice in non-indigenous scholarship, I have not extended it to others quoted or mentioned in this work. 11  See, for instance, G . Smith, "Kaupapa Maori: Theory and Praxis"; L. Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies; Irwin, "Maori Research Methods"; and Bishop. 12  29  When we were kids, one of our favourite summer time activities by Deatnu river was to climb up to Sdvjabdkti, a mountain beside us, and look down at the river. Sometimes we walked along the path made by our grandparents' sheep and cows but sometimes we took a shortcut, climbing straight up the steep hill. On reaching the top, we sat on rocks and looked down the river curving around our place. It was fun also to follow our family members in their outdoor duties - chopping wood, carrying waterfromthe river, gardening, fixing or building something - or just having a smoke or walking on one of the many paths between the various buildings. It is no surprise, then, that in spite of currently being on the West Coast of Canada, I quite often feel that I am still on the top of Sdvjabdkti, looking at things from a distance yet from within.  Predominantly focussed on issues of language and material aspects of culture, the dominant Sami discourse lacks a critical awareness of the more subtle forms of colonization such as what Spivak calls 'epistemic violence'; " a complete overhaul of the episteme" ("Can the Subaltern Speak" 76) or the imposition and internalization of another set of codes and values (e.g., PostColonial 126). This type of subtle violence has gone mostly unnoticed in contemporary Sami society, which further contributes to its unconscious reproduction. Still relying heavily on taken-for-granted symbols of Saminess, defined by the Sami movement during its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, Sami discourse has created a double bind which has placed the Sami as part of the international indigenous discourse and also the conflicting (but somehow naturalized and reconciled by many Sami scholars and leaders) discourse of modernity. On the one hand, the Sami associate themselves with the world's other indigenous peoples, arguing that we are an indigenous people as defined by the internationally recognized, semiofficial definitions of the United Nations and other international organizations. On the other hand, there is a tendency by the Sami elite in particular but also many ordinary Sami, however unconscious, to place the Sami as belonging to modernity and the epistemological and 30  philosophical traditions of the West. This tendency, implicitly present in much of Sami discourse reflected in media, politics and generally in ways in which Sami talk about themselves, is particularly obvious in the underlying assumptions of knowledge and premises by which Sami research is conducted. This does not mean, however, that there are no endeavours and research that seek to decolonize and transform Sami society and its discourses, both in research and other fields. Particularly at the Sami College, there has emerged in the past years a determined interest to develop Sami pedagogical models and transform schools to reflect local Sami values and ideas instead of merely teaching the mainstream curriculum in the Sami language.  13  In much of Sami discourse, adaptation is considered one of the cornerstones of Sami culture and society. Many Sami regard the ability of Sami culture to adapt both to the natural environment and societal changes as one of the most fundamental and important factors of Sami history (e.g., Lehtola, "Nimettoman" 17; Laiti 121). Lehtola argues that despite the long period of colonization, the Sami have successfully adapted into new changes without losing their integrity: In the face of new influences, new models of government, new restrictions and new abuses and drawbacks, the Sami never rushed to an uprising and resistance. Instead, they have always given way, receded and retreated but yet held their own and integrated changes as an integral part of their own culture. ("Nimettoman" 17-8) Adaptation and withdrawal are considered a central Sami survival strategy that has guaranteed the continuance of Sami culture despite assimilative pressures and policies. The practice of considering withdrawal as a distinctly Sami survival strategy is poignantly described in the following poem by Sami writer Kirsti Paltto:  13  Goaskimin  A s eagles  mii eat riegadan  we weren't born  Eat boaimmaza sohkii  Not into the family of rough-legged buzzards  eat cearreta lundui  nor the nature of Arctic terns  goddesahpana mii eat addestala  lemmings we don't imitate  See, for example, Hirvonen, Mo sdmdidahttil skuvlla? and Sami skuvla pldnain ja praktihkas; Bai to, "Sami  jurddasanvuogi pedagogalas vuoddu." 31  Rievssata bajasgeassin  Upbringing of a ptarmigan  min eallima cuvoda  is what our lives follow  Rievssatlavkkiin javkkitat mii  With steps of the ptarmigan we disappear into a snow drift to wait for fresh snow  skalvve sisa vahccema vuordit Ja vuordit hortevalwiid mannama meatta  And wait for the hounds to pass  (Bestoriin 82) Whether a realistic representation of the ingenious strategies employed by the Sami when threatened or an ironic, critical commentary on contemporary Sami society and its leaders, the poem depicts the Sami as highly adaptable and non-aggressive, if not inoffensive. Unlike eagles or buzzards, or even terns and lemmings that can be extremely vicious when confronted, 'we' remain quiet and go into hiding rather than offer resistance or attack the aggressors or invaders. The comparison to ptarmigans - which have traditionally played an important role in Sami subsistence - can be then, depending on the interpretation, viewed either as a praise or criticism. There is, however, a need to recognize that the strategy of camouflage and retreat, however legitimate, might be flawed and has the potential to backfire as the aggressors find no resistance and thus can assume control. Whether withdrawal and adaptation really are survival strategies or a myth that prevents us from seeing how we have internalized colonization as a part of our own practices is another question that requires critical attention among the Sami people. Similarly, we have to pay closer attention to arguments on Sami bicultural competence. Sami scholar Harald Gaski maintains that the Sami aspire to "mastering both their own world and the view that 'the others' had of the w o r l d " ("Introduction" 19). L i k e withdrawal, the 'mastering of both ways' is considered a Sami strength and strategy which has resolved the dilemma between a minority culture and the modern world. What exactly these 'both ways' are, however, is left unexamined, and the reader is left with questions such as: What are the Sami ways that are retained? Is it limited to linguistic competence or does it also deal with the deep meanings and values of the culture? What are the modern ways in which the Sami excel? While acquiring the competence to operate in two worlds is both necessary and  32  desirable, the level of success in the Sami case is somewhat suspect. We presume that we have acquired a balance between the Sami and 'modern' worlds. In many cases, we have engaged in 'mastering' the practices of the dominant societies at the cost of our own ways and practices. The concept of mastery has been criticized by innumerable postcolonial, feminist and indigenous scholars who point out how the concept refers to (masculinist) domination and control, war and conquest and is thus closely linked to the mentality of modernity and colonization.  14  In Gaski's view, "the challenge of the modern natural m a n " - that is, the Sami (men?) - is to function as the mediators between the two worlds, including advocating "the view of the 'natural man' to the international society" ("Introduction" 24). Discussing the concepts of nature and culture in the. North American indigenous context, Jack D. Forbes (PowhatanDelaware) explains the etymological origins of these words and notes that they reflect quite a different worldview from a Native American one where a sense of continuity with the world and universe is paramount ("Nature and Culture" 7). V a l Plumwood also notes that "the gendered character of nature/culture dualism, and of the whole web of other dualisms interconnected with it, is not a feature of human thought or culture per se, and does not relate the universal man to the universal woman; it is specifically a feature of western thought" (11). One wonders, then, about the Sami preoccupation with modernity and 'modern world.' Could it be a reflection of the unconscious internalization of mainstream values, or is it a deliberate choice in order to belong to and be equal with the modern world? The modern consciousness forms the foundation of the mechanistic worldview that considers the natural world as a background, resource or commodity and is characterized by "an alienated account of human identity in which humans are essentially apart from or 'outside o f nature" (Plumwood 71). It is a perception radically different from indigenous peoples' perceptions in which the relationship with the surrounding environment is defined in terms of respect, responsibilities and reciprocity. In indigenous scholarship, the discourse of modernity is criticized and analyzed as a form of dominance and hegemony. In his enigmatic and playful style, Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe) calls modernity a "mirror of science, material culture, and See, for instance, M c C l i n t o c k , Imperial Leather; Churchill, Fantasies of the Master Race; P l u m w o o d , Feminism and the Mastery of Nature and P o w e l l , A Different Shade of Colonialism. 14  33  the courier of the other" which "causes the disenchantment of essence, traditional authority, and overruns natural reason" (Fugitive Poses 38). He maintains that, "Modernity is rational, a constitutional dominance. Modernity is the very ideological possession of the other, the representations of indian cultures by the documents and languages of civilization" (Fugitive 94).  15  Silko also asserts that her people have ensured that their awareness "never deteriorated  into Cartesian duality, cutting off the human from the natural w o r l d " (Yellow Woman 37). In the dominant Sami discourse, it seems that the strategy of cultural adaptation appears to be more important than ensuring an awareness and application of the Sami worldview and system of values. Hegemony, defined by Antonio Gramsci as a special form of ideological and cultural domination whereby the consciousness of subordinate groups is constructed by the'discourse of those in power, appears to explain quite well the processes undergone by Sami society.  16  In  hegemonic conditions, the subordinate groups reproduce, without recognizing and even while struggling against, the conceptual and institutional structures of the dominant society. This is what has also taken place in Samiland, resulting in a situation where we have internalized the colonizing assumptions about ourselves and, therefore, inflict epistemic violence upon ourselves. In other words, by being mainly preoccupied by what is considered 'mastering both ways,' we have actually learned to 'master' the non-Sami ways and ignored the way of the river Deatnu and its gifts to us. Many of us have mentally detached ourselves from the river that gives us direction and sets the rhythm of our actions. We have either got stranded on the sand or drifted to the open sea far from our source of meaning that, although in a constant flux and continuation, is deeply channeled in its course. We recognize the obvious gifts of the river, the silvery salmon that swims upstream every summer, but we have ignored its other, less tangible gifts. Lanniko L. Lee (Cheyenne River Sioux) discusses the ways of knowing afforded by the wisdom of 'her' river, the Missouri, before the construction of the Oahe Dam: Vizenor makes a clear distinction between the tenns indian (intentionally lowercase and in italics) and native. "The indian is a simulation, the absence of natives; the indian transposes the real, and the simulation of the real has no referent, memories, or native stories" (Fugitive 15). 15  16  See Gramsci's discussion on hegemony, for example, in Hoare and Nowell Smith, ed, Selectionsfromthe  Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci.  34  I believe the river provided the basis for healthy and whole families, and without it, all manner of assault has been made against those families to hamper their survival in all the ways that really matter. Government remedies are powerless to replace the gifts of wholeness provided by the river wisdom that upheld ethnic identity and cultural learning, all very much a valid part of our human experience. (40) Besides sustaining us physically, the river nourishes us spiritually and mentally by connecting us to a specific location as well as to our ancestors who lived along the river before us. Through activities and practices on and along the river, it connects us to the local stories, providing us with a sense of continuity and collectivity. For Sami along the river, it is simultaneously an exterior and interior landscape that shapes both our activities and thinking. In other words, the river is implicated both in our daily actions and our stories through which we hear who we are (cf. Silko, Yellow Woman 25-47). Moreover, the constant motion reminds us that nothing is static - every summer, for instance, the bottom of the river is slightly different and the main channel has moved a little from the previous year, never mind the seasonal changes, which in the Arctic are literally like day and night. Yet in spite of the constant process of change, the river remains a river without losing its underlying characteristics. The constant motion of the river is what Vizenor calls 'transmotion,' a sense of native motion, an active presence, native memories and sovereignty. In his poetic rendering, he argues, The sovereignty of motion is mythic, material, and visionary, not mere territoriality, in the sense of colonialism and nationalism. Native transmotion is an original natural union in the stories of emergence and migration that relate humans to an environment and to the spiritual and political significance of animals and other creations. Monotheism is dominance over nature; transmotion is natural reason, and native creation with other creatures. (Postindian 182-3) The transmotion of the river Deatnu alerts me to dualistic structures, helping me to be aware of and avoid the trappings of dualisms and dichotomies that sometimes characterize indigenous scholarship such as 'colonizer-colonized.' This is not to argue that the relationship does not exist or that its legacy does not continue to impact our lives today in numerous ways. Rather, I am interested in paying more careful attention to the shifting nature of this relationship and the differences within the categories by recognizing our privileges and participations, albeit often marginal or minimal, in various colonial processes. 17  17  I concur with Spivak who argues, "Our  See, for instance, Spivak, 'Transnationality" 84-5 as well as her discussion in Critique, ch 4. 35  work cannot succeed if we always have a scapegoat" (Critique 307). A t the same time, however, we have to continue critically analyzing the ever-changing, historically and geographically and highly gendered specific encounters between colonizer and colonized that still exist today (Razack, Looking White People 3). B y employing a deconstructive approach that corresponds to the fluidity of the river Deatnu (which is not, however, synonym of or limited to deconstruction), I attempt to practice "[a] caution, vigilance, a persistent taking of distance always out of step with total involvement" which is, according to Spivak, "all that responsible academic criticism can aspire to" (Critique 362). T o a varying degree, I am both insider and outsider to all of the discourses employed here - Sami, indigenous or western (if I may lump, even for practical purposes, vast and contested traditions into such homogeneous categories) - making it unavoidably a process of constant negotiation.  18  One of the great appeals of the deconstructive practice of not only  refusing to be pure or accept binary oppositions and totalizations (and thus deconstructing them) but also being aware and openly accepting the ambiguity and even crisis - "the moment at which you feel that your presuppositions of an enterprise are disproved by the enterprise itself" (Spivak, Post-Colonial 139). Thus, instead of being so concerned of the possible impossibilities that my work may present, I am more interested in Spivak's notions of productive crisis and interruption; the idea of bringing various, even opposing discourses together in order to them critically interrupt one another rather than throwing away one and keeping the other (Post-Colonial 110-1). It is at the confluence of these various shifting streams - discourses and intellectual conventions - where I find and also seek to locate myself, both intrigued and vigilant. I hope to be able to swim in and out of various discourses with the ease of the salmon which migrates between fresh and salt waters.  19  Whether we (want to) recognize that or not, our lives are implicated by the patriarchal Linda Smith has discussed the difficulties of indigenous researchers who are at once partially insiders and outsiders in relation to their own communities (Decolonizing 5, 137-40). She notes that, "One of the difficult risks insider researchers take is to 'test' their own taken-for-granted views about their community" (Decolonizing 139). For me personally, looking at the Sami society from outside (yet, of course, remaining at least a partial insider) has been the most effective way to contest my taken-for-granted views on my community. 18  To those who are not familiar with the life cycle of the salmon: after being born in the river, salmon migrate to the sea, and return to spawn to the river. Most of the Pacific salmon species die soon after spawning, but the Atlantic salmon that I am most familiar with usually returns again to the sea after spawning. 19  36  global capitalism. As indigenous people, we can criticize and challenge it by having alternatives within it such as different ways of expressing and living in our cultures. Spivak has repeatedly paid attention to the complicity of academics, even those considered 'sympathetic,' 'wellmeaning' as well as 'marginalized' themselves ("Can the Subaltern Speak" 73-4). She calls for the need to look at the structure of complicity through a deconstructive investigation that allows one to see "the ways in which you are complicit with what you are so carefully and cleanly opposing" (Post-Colonial Critic 122). Even though academics are not a monolithic group, they all participate, in a way or another, in the 'business of ideological production.' Speaking of the role of academics within the institution, Spivak maintains: So long as we are interested, and we must be interested, in hiring and firing, in grants, in allocations, in budgets, in funding new job descriptions, in publishing radical texts, in fighting for tenure and recommending for jobs, we are in capitalism and we cannot avoid competition and individuation. Under these circumstances, essentializing difference, however sophisticated we might be at it, may lead to unproductive conflict among ourselves. ("Teaching for the Times" 181) 20  Ignoring the ways in which we are implicated within academic structures and assuming it is possible to remain 'uncontaminated' by any 'outside' influence despite our daily interaction in the academy only further contributes to our marginalization and construction of a monolithic understanding of ourselves or our objectives and challenges. Marcia Crosby (Tsimshian/Haida) rightly asks, "Isn't pretending that any of our pasts survived untouched by colonialism itself a dangerous thing?" (29). Recognizing the enormous importance of recording indigenous oral tradition, histories and languages, she nevertheless criticizes the implicit erasure of the inevitable gaps of the historical memory in "the production of seamless, linear Indian histories and traditions" (Crosby 28).  21  Therefore, instead of upholding notions of unadulterated indigenous theory or misleading ourselves as to an "impossible ahistorical quest for purist positions," there is a Unlike some other postcolonial scholars such as Homi Bhabha, Spivak acknowledges "the privileged middleclass position that she occupies as a postcolonial intellectual in the western academy" which is different from the experiences of many other postcolonial migrants (Morton 31). She also stresses the fact that the space she occupies " is produced by western higher educational institutions funded by multinational capitalism" (Morton 31). 20  21  See also Spivak on 'unexamined nativism' (Teaching Machine 280).  37  need to recognize that even as marginal participants of the academy, we are unavoidably negotiating with the structures of cultural imperialism (cf. Spivak, Post-Colonial 150; see also Teaching Machine 63). W e cannot remain ignorant of our own roles, positions and 22  implications if we desire to convincingly analyze the ignorance of dominant epistemic conventions. Moreover, locking ourselves in positions of binary oppositions freezes us in the same way that certain disciplines and research have frozen us into limited, stereotypical representations and modes of analyses. A s Robert A l l e n Warrior (Osage) suggests, "perhaps our greatest contribution as intellectuals is understanding our experience in wider contexts" (123). In his view, we need to rid ourselves from the "death dance of dependence between, on the one hand, abandoning ourselves to the intellectual strategies of white, European thought and, on the other hand, declaring that we need nothing outside of ourselves and our cultures in order to understand the world and our place in it" (123-4). If we free ourselves from this type of dichotomy, new possibilities of understanding emerge, including a notion of sovereignty which does not imply (the impossible task of) eradicating all 'outside influence' but claiming the right and responsibility to make decisions, both individually and collectively, about issues pertaining to ourselves (Warrior 124; see also Nakata, "Foreword" viii).  The river encourages me to seek an epistemological basis that is grounded on concepts and For Spivak, 'indigenous theory' remains suspect: "I cannot understand what indigenous theory there might be that can ignore the reality of nineteenth-century history. ... To construct indigenous theories one must ignore the last few centuries of historical involvement. I would rather use what history has written for me" (PostColonial 69). Although I generally agree widi her point, I find her encouragement to use the material left and written by history somewhat problematic, particularly when often there is not much that history would have written for me (or for the Sami people, or even for other indigenous peoples, for that matter). This view is, of course, based on a narrow (colonial) interpretation of both 'history' and 'writing' and when considered from a different (deconstructive) perspective, 'history' becomes like a 'text' - the multiple "politico-psycho-sexualsocio" contexts and organizations (cf. Spivak, Post-Colonial 25, 120) - and 'writing' is a code preexisting speech (Derrida, Of Grammatology). We then open up a radically different space for ourselves to "use what history has written for me" or us. 22  38  metaphors deriving from Sami cultural practices and circumstances while simultaneously allowing me to move to other 'waters.' Coming from the Sami scholarly discourse (in which I am implicated even when criticizing it ) which has not yet established its own epistemological 23  tradition (except the common alignment with modernity and Enlightenment ideals) is both a shortcoming and a challenge. It allows (and forces) me to exist within several different discourses, recognizing their tensions, challenges and possibilities. It is necessarily an unstable position that permits me to look at various directions and intellectual traditions without assuming full certainty in any of them. Rather than a limit(ation), the threshold or confluence of various discourses presents us with several possibilities and challenges. Whether it is due to the multigenerational existence 24  in the transmotion of confluences by the river Deatnu or the questionable claim of the Sami being "one of the most modernized indigenous peoples in the w o r l d " (Gaski, "Introduction" 24), it is easy to concur with Spivak's disinterest in 'being pure,' theoretically or otherwise (Post-Colonial 12). What is more interesting and possibly more fruitful and constructive is to find out how to negotiate with dominant academic discourses - with the purpose of interrupting and intervening - since as a marginalized group, it is something we cannot avoid doing (cf. Spivak, Post-Colonial 72). Indigenous scholarship and its multiple discourses may not be constituted by modernity or western liberalism (like many, if not most academic discourses), but they do nevertheless at least partly exist within and are influenced by the dominant academic discourses. Indigenous discourses and theories can, therefore, never be pure in the sense of being free from 'contaminations.' Even approaches that claim to draw upon and be entirely embedded in a specific indigenous oral tradition or social practice cannot avoid negotiating with the structures of cultural imperialism. This, of course, does not deny the validity or possibility of indigenous theories and approaches. Recognizing the constant and unpreventable process of negotiation can only reinforce them by making them more tenacious. Australian Aboriginal scholar Martin Or, as Navajo poet Luci Tapahonso puts it, "Just as the rivers we followed home changed from the huge, wide Missouri River to the shallow water in the San Juan riverbed, the place of my birth is the source of the writing presented here" (x). 23  Perhaps this threshold is similar to Vizenor's 'threshold of native survivance' which resists notions of tradition as a limiting, determined practice and embraces ambiguity and irony (see Postindian 60). 24  39  Nakata also recognizes the tension and need for negotiation in the intersection of western and indigenous 'domains,' calling this space a 'cultural interface' and acknowledging how the boundaries between the two domains are never clear-cut or definite ("Cultural Interface" 7). For Spivak, negotiation seeks "to change something that one is obliged to inhabit, since one is not working from the outside" (Post-Colonial 72). It recognizes the impossibility of ' a neutral communication situation of free dialogue' - a position suggested by Jurgen Habermas because the idea of neutral dialogue "denies history, denies structure, denies the position of subjects" (Spivak, Post-Colonial 72). A s indigenous discourses have (or are forced) to negotiate with dominant academic discourses, also mainstream discourses negotiate with indigenous discourses even if it is not always acknowledged or occurs in the form of appropriation. This kind of 'negative negotiation' occurs when the dominant forecloses the marginal and denies its significance as for example in phallocentrism (Spivak, Post-Colonial 147-8). With regard to indigenous people, 'negative negotiation' is manifested in eurocentrism which denies the contributions and knowledge of indigenous peoples, appropriates their knowledge or imposes its authority over them (see Smith, Decolonizing).  The river Deatnu starts at the confluence of two smaller rivers, Anarjohka and Karasjohka. While it is intriguing to place oneself in such a flow of various currents, feeling the pull of forthcoming questions and attempting to negotiate with issues that seem irrevocably incommensurable, it also presents certain challenges. One such challenge is the question of experience. In indigenous epistemologies, knowledge is primarily derived from and rooted in individual and collective experience.  25  In much of academic discourse, however, regarding  experience as knowledge is considered suspect. Relying on experience as knowledge is seen to result in mere solipsism and reactionary self-referentiality. Even feminist standpoint theories, See, for example, Battiste and Henderson (esp. pp. 35-58); Dei, Hall and Rosenberg; Deloria, The Metaphysics of Modern Existence; Goulet; and Wilson. 25  40  which stem from women's experiences of marginalization, do "not treat experience'as knowledge, but as a place to begin inquiry" (Smith, Writing the Social 96). On the other hand, 'experience' has also been used to further discriminate against marginalized groups in the academy, bell hooks contends that "racism is perpetuated when blackness is associated solely with concrete gut level experience conceived as either opposing or having no connection to abstract thinking and the production of critical theory" (Yearning 23; see also Razack, "Racialized Immigrant Women"). Poststructuralist theories are even more suspicious of knowledge being grounded on experience, considering such a view a totalizing notion of modernity which assumes a unified subject who has a direct access to 'reality.' The significance of individual or collective experiences in informing and constructing theory and analysis cannot, however, be entirely dismissed. In postcolonial and feminist theory, it is argued that rather than lapsing into expressive self-referentiality, "experience must be recounted within a broader socio-historical and cultural framework that signals the larger social organization and form which contain and shape our lives" (Bannerji, "But W h o Speaks for U s " 94). Further, the power of personal narratives and 'testimonies' as a means of 'giving voice' to painful or even shameful personal and collective histories cannot be underestimated.  26  A s Christine Overall notes, "the dangers of an uncritical, too-respectful appeal to experience do not mean that experience not be used at all, only that it must be used critically and with care" (29). Many indigenous authors, among other marginalized groups in society, cite personal experience as one of the main reasons they write. Sharing their experiences of, say, residential schooling on the page, has helped many readers to understand their own often unexpressed feelings and to realize that they are not alone with their feelings and experiences.  27  A t first, it may appear that indigenous epistemologies which lay emphasis on the personal and collective experience may have difficulties defending themselves against charges like those above. It is necessary, however, to differentiate between having a system of 26  On 'theoretical autobiography,' see Middleton. For further reading on feminist theorizing of personal  experiences, see, for example, hooks, Talking Back and Teaching to Transgress; Miller, Getting Personal and  "Public Statements, Private Lives"; Neumann and Peterson; Overall; and Smith and Watson. On feminist standpoint theory, see, for example, Harding; Hartsock; and Clough. On developing an indigenous standpoint analysis, see, for example, Murdock; and Nakata, "Anthropological Texts and Indigenous Standpoints." 27  In the Sami context, see, for instance, Vuolab (58); and Aikio (79). 41  knowledge rooted in experience and practice that has been accumulated over generations and describing one's own experiences or limiting one's inquiry to personal experience and expressive self-referentiality. Indigenous epistemologies are not based on an experience of one individual, but on what Marie Battiste (Mi'kmaq) calls ' a collective cognitive experience,' established by combining personal experiences and sharing views within a community ("Enabling"). The intergenerational accumulation and communication of knowledge is thus central in indigenous epistemologies. Within an indigenous system of knowledge, the final decision of the validity and usefulness of knowledge is made jointly based on varied experiences of the community members. In short, indigenous knowledge is constituted in response to past circumstances and shared with other members of the community through language, oral tradition and ceremonies. Further, the problematic nature of experience is recognized also in indigenous research. Linda Smith, for instance, notes that while one's personal experiences as an 'insider' cannot be disputed, it is arrogant "for a researcher to assume that their own experience is all that is required" {Decolonizing 137). M y experiences in the academy may also first appear as isolated incidents but when considered more carefully, they reflect larger questions of decolonization and emergence of criticism and methodologies that is underway among indigenous scholars and students. After completing my Master's degree and thesis on contemporary Sami literature, I was interested in continuing my studies in the field of comparative indigenous literary criticism - a field that I imagined relatively well-established in North American universities. I believed that certain openness and basic, general understanding of various, relatively recent theories challenging and undermining the legacy and ethnocentrism of the rationalist-humanist tradition of the West would also imply openness and general understanding and acceptance of indigenous epistemes and epistemologies. I could not have been more misguided in my expectations of a welcome. I had believed that even in the most mainstream academy, 'the time was right' for comparative indigenous criticism, yet it proved to be quite different. M y expectations of hospitality turned gradually into a reality of hostility, teaching a good number of lessons on the relationship between indigenous people and their epistemes and the academic discourses and structures - how at its best, this relationship is quite complicated 42  and at its worst, very agonizing (cf. Newhouse et al. 72). Eventually, these lessons made me think more closely of hegemonic and hierarchical structures of knowledge and discourse that seemed to prevail in the academic world despite the well-intended rhetoric. A s Jeannette Armstrong (Okanagan) puts it: 'There is a lot of intellectual, theoretical talk about it but very little willingness to actually engage, in terms of practice, life practice - doing things in a different w a y " ("Ones from the L a n d " 7; see also Monture-Angus " O n Being Homeless" 282). Instead of open minds, I was faced with doubtful hesitation, blank looks and gaps of silence. M y knowledge and previous studies were suspect, not worth a transfer to the doctoral program in spite of my own conviction (and several others' affirmation) that I met the requirements for a transfer. Even letters from my previous university did not assure the coordinators of the program of my research abilities; instead, they encouraged me either to consider the anthropology department, learn more of other periods of literature or at the very least, stop analyzing everything through a framework of indigenous perspective.  28  Dismayed by  the fact that it was still possible to hear such comments at the end of the twentieth century, I declined all the suggestions that I received. I concluded that only when non-indigenous students are asked to consider doing literary studies in an anthropology department and taking even one course on any indigenous literatures of any period or to stop analyzing everything through a framework and perspectives deriving from western intellectual and theoretical traditions, would I be willing to do the reverse as I was told.  29  Meanwhile, I felt that there are other, more urgent  things to do - such as dispute the validity and legitimization of such an epistemologically biased system. Besides my distress and frustration, there were also moments of self-doubt and mistrusting my knowledge and academic abilities. A s I read and talked to other indigenous students and scholars, however, I learned that it was nothing unheard of. The inhospitable if not hostile behaviour by many academics was a part of larger questions of decolonization and Interestingly enough, in her latest book, The Death of a Discipline, Spivak declares the death of comparative literature and makes an urgent call for a 'new comparative literature' within which more attention would be paid to the transformative role of literary works toward social justice. 28  Jennifer Kelly, for instance, discusses the marginal status of Aboriginal literature courses in Canadian universities where they commonly are "appended as electives to the core curriculum" (149). 29  43  recognition of non-western epistemologies, worldviews and premises in the academy and the field of research. I started to observe, in various classes, the recurring clash between indigenous and dominant, hegemonic discourses, making me occasionally wonder whether they indeed were totally incommensurate worlds never able to meet and be understood by one another (not to mention the unequal structures and discourses of power between the two). Other times, I was intrigued by the thought of finding a way to find a bridge between the two. I felt that if anything, such a bridge might assist other indigenous students avoid some of the difficulties I had to go through in a program that was not a Native Studies program. There was a question that kept coming back to me: what is it in indigenous epistemes that does not seem to fit into dominant perceptions of academic knowledge and the world in general? It became clearer that while indigenous discourse is allowed to exist in the university, it only exists either in marginal spaces or within clearly defined parameters of the dominant discourse grounded on certain views of the world, conceptions of knowledge, assumptions and values. Further, conversations with other indigenous students confirmed the commonness of not being able to adequately express yourself in the classroom outside courses within indigenous/Native/First Nations studies. Many students expressed the same frustration that I had also increasingly started to pay attention to - the difficulty of speaking from a position of indigenous episteme/epistemology, and even more so, of being understood by others in the classroom. In many cases, indigenous students (myself included) were left with two unsatisfactory options to deal with these situations: either become a teacher of indigenous perspectives for the others in the classroom, or worse, check those perspectives and understandings at the door and replace them, temporarily or permanently, by views informed by perspectives embedded in the intellectual traditions of the West (i.e., the assumed neutral framework through which I was  44  also told to undertake literary criticism).  30  Probably personally more gratifying and meaningful,  the former easily becomes a burden and in worst cases, hinders the student's own studies. The latter, though easier, often leaves students feeling badly about themselves, as they consider it a sign of co-optation and quiet acceptance of prevailing paradigms. A s I started to look more closely into the problematics of what is commonly called the 'cultural clash' in the academy, I found a few articles by indigenous scholars discussing and analyzing their own not-so-hospitable encounters in the-academic world. The relatively small amount of research on the topic viewed the issue as more of a problem of indigenous students (and less so, scholars) rather than the problem of the academy at large. Even if recommendations invariably included the need for changing attitudes and increasing of knowledge of the general body of students, faculty and administration, the focus was nevertheless on indigenous students and their special needs. Yet while recognizing the importance of attending to special needs of any marginalized group, I was increasingly assured that it was at least equally important and urgent to insist that the academy - that is, other students, faculty and administrators, the academic structures, discourses and intellectual traditions - assume their responsibilities in transforming the academy away from its "limitations, unjustices, and wastefulness of Eurocentric education on behalf of the exclusionary and/or assimilationist nation" (Battiste, Bell and Findlay 91). M y personal experiences prompted me to pay attention to and contemplate questions pertaining to the relationship between indigenous people and the academy, hospitality and the responsibility of the academy toward the other and the gift of indigenous epistemes. This inquiry, however, is not about my experiences, and I would hesitate to consider experience (mine or others') as 'truth.' Instead, my experiences have made me want to look into these concerns, to analyze them and ultimately theorize a new model of considering the inhospitality Here and also elsewhere I am talking about those indigenous students aware and cognizant of the existence and contents of (some) indigenous epistemes/epistemologies, because I do not assume that all indigenous students everywhere are aware or cognizant for a multitude of reasons ranging from the various effects of colonialism to personal interest and emphasis. There are also indigenous students who have, willy-nilly, acquired and accepted the so-called dominant western paradigm as their own. Vine Deloria, Jr. for instance, is critical of those "overeducated younger Indians who have uncritically accepted scientific folklore as fact." For him, "Nothing is more annoying than listening to an educated Indian parroting what he or she has been told in a lecture and discovering that tribal traditions have simply been thrown out the window without careful examination" (Spirit & Reason 119-20). 30  45  of the academy. A s Michael Marker (Arapaho) puts it, there is a need to "acknowledge that our experience is at the same time both personal and academic; at a certain point it becomes unnatural to try to separate them" ("Economics" 37). One of the reasons to want to do this, of course, is so that others who have experienced something similar may find some useful tools to make sense of it. The main reason, however, is call for the academy at large to recognize both the gift of indigenous epistemes and its responsibilities; in other words, to scrutinize the nature of their hospitality and openness toward the other. Despite such broad, apparently abstract themes, I believe that my inquiry is nevertheless embedded in several local circumstances and accounts. It is grounded on the metaphor of the 31  river which is also a concrete location. M y work is also grounded on being a student at the University of British Columbia which is located at the estuary of another major salmon river, the Fraser: The Pacific Coast is a lace work of streams, rivers and lakes flowing into the inlets, fjords and deltas along the ocean front of the mainland. The waters flow down from the mountains and plateaus to drain the interior spawning streams through rapid and icy cold rivers, on to the delta estuaries, in one of the richest salmon habitation sites of the world. Salmon have come home to these rivers for over an estimated one million years. A l l species of salmon - the Chinook which live longer, the red-fleshed sockeye, the coho, the silvery chum and the numerous small pinks - follow life cycles starting in the rivers, going out to the ocean and, finally, returning to the rivers to spawn. (Armstrong, "Unclean T i d e s " 181) Further, my use of certain general categories does not imply homogeneous indigenous peoples or cultures, even on this continent. When using the term 'indigenous epistemes,' for Asserting the role of the immediate, particular natural environment in shaping indigenous conceptions of the world as well as the way indigenous people relate to one another, Deloria emphasizes the locality of this experience. In other words, experience rooted in particular locations is not used to establish abstractions or universal concepts (Deloria, Spirit & Reason 224). This is also noted by Michael Marker (Arapaho) who asserts that abstractions "are not entirely sound because they neglect the distinctiveness of the local stories that contain the deep and concrete aspects of reality" (401). Generalizations are not part of traditional Sami way of thinking either (e.g., Vuolab 48). This does not, however, make indigenous (or any other) systems of thought, including language, any more 'primitive' or incapable of abstract drinking than the so-called modern languages, as is often assumed. As an example, Benson Bobrick argues the primitiveness of Khanty language and that it lacks a capacity for abstraction. This is, however, as many linguists and others have pointed out, a crude misinterpretation of the fact that speakers of a language lack words or expressions for things that are unknown or unimportant to them (e.g., Penny cook on the 'great Eskimo snow myth' in English and the Discourses of Colonialism, pp. 147-51).  31  46  instance, I refer to certain shared, common denominators, philosophical principles and cultural attributes that are characteristic of indigenous thought and worldviews. B y no means do I suggest that indigenous epistemes are everywhere the same or that the tenets and cultural assumptions embedded in them are manifested and present in all contemporary indigenous societies to the same degree, if at all. Clearly, however, aspects of various indigenous epistemes are embedded, knowingly or unknowingly, in much of contemporary indigenous thinking, the Sami included.  The river Deatnu contextualizes my work and arguments presented in this thesis by giving the readers an idea of where I come from not only physically and culturally but also intellectually. It is not, however, the topic or theme of my inquiry. It rather is a concept-metaphor which assists my thinking and analysis, allowing me to move in and out of multiple discourses and intellectual traditions. It transgresses the borders of binary dualisms, reflecting the Sami worldview in which boundaries between nature and culture, human and non-human are fluid and in a constant flux. In short, the river allows fluidity or 'transmotion' which is absolutely necessary in a venture attempting to bring multiple discourses and intellectual traditions together, even if only tentatively or temporarily. The river also allows a fusion of various theories and critical approaches without one's getting stuck in rigid categorizations or dichotomies. Moreover, the river allows a relatively unrestrained navigation - particularly in the sense of negotiation as discussed above - between and around discourses and theories. Reading Spivak has helped me understand that I can only see the value of any theory if I recognize its limits and stop asking it "to do everything for m e " (Post-Colonial 134),  32  I have learned to  focus on what various theories might have to offer and use them as stepping stones - like rocks surfacing from a river along which it might be possible to get across to something else rather The need for acknowledging limits is also noted by Graham Smith who insists on recognizing the limitations of the western academy and disengaging from its politics of distraction ("Lecture").  32  47  than treat them as the final answers. This has enabled me to combine aspects and insights from 33  various fields of theory and criticism such as indigenous discourse, deconstruction and also to some extent, critical theory. While both deconstruction and critical theory offer valuable insights and tools for analyzing indigenous issues and contexts, they both also contain problematic arguments and assumptions. Emphasizing the notion of emancipation and recognizing the need for change, critical theory acknowledges the value of visions and even Utopias as goals to be strived for. It also regards incremental victories as important in aspiring to the goals. In education in particular, critical theory has also stressed the need for analyzing educational inequalities and suggesting strategies to transform those circumstances. In this inquiry, I also acknowledge the 34  serious need to pay attention to social, power and structural inequalities. Moreover, as with any research within the framework of indigenous scholarship, this consideration emanates from and is rooted in the recognition of the urgent need for transformation. While not necessarily explicitly deriving from critical theory, both these aspects form an integral part of my inquiry. Deconstruction, on the other hand, tends to question the possibility of emancipation and notions such as false consciousness both of which have been central to much indigenous scholarship.  35  A deconstructive impulse, however, is necessary for an inquiry dealing with  questions of hospitality simply because deconstruction is hospitality. Argues Derrida: "Hospitality - this is a name or an example of deconstruction.... deconstruction is hospitality to the other, to the other than oneself, the other than 'its other,' to an other who is beyond any Not surprisingly then, the etymological roots of 'theory' are in Greek theoria, signifying 'viewing' and 'seeing,' or as Battiste and Henderson note, 'seeing for yourself (117). This is also the way in which I understand and employ the term in diis inquiry. While the notion of 'theory' has western origins, indigenous scholars have effectively appropriated the concept and created new ways of theorizing to serve their own purposes and needs (see, e.g., L Smiui, Decolonizing 38). Graham Smith also reminds indigenous scholars of "the interventionary potential of theory" ("Protecting" 214). It is important, however, to bear in mind, as noted by bell hooks, that "[fjheory is not inherendy healing, liberatory, or revolutionary. It fulfills this function only when we ask that it do so and direct our theorizing towards this end" (Teaching to Transgress 61).  33  Critical Uieory has been employed particularly by Maori scholars creating their own academic spaces and transformative theories (see, for example, G. Smith, "The Development of Kaupapa Maori").  34  Spivak, for example, notes that "there's a real problem when the critic of ideology takes a diagnostic position and forgets diat she is herself caught within structural production" (Post-Colonial 54). She is also critical of the tendency of the 'radical intellectuals' to patronize the oppressed in attempts to prescribe blueprints.of transformation.  35  48  'its other'" ("Hostipitality" 364, emphasis added). Deconstruction is, at least for Derrida, a form of hospitality, a practice of welcoming of the other, a "philosophy of 'the responsibility to the other'" (Caputo 109). Not surprisingly, then, much of the consideration on hospitality in this inquiry draws upon Derrida's arguments. In considering the institution of the university and its responsibilities, Derrida asserts the usefulness and necessity of deconstruction: Precisely because deconstruction has never been concerned with the contents alone of meaning, it must not be separable from this politico-institutional problematic, and has to require a new questioning about responsibility, an inquiry that should no longer necessarily rely on codes inherited from politics or ethics. Which is why, though too political in the eyes of some, deconstruction can seem demobilizing in the eyes of those who recognize the political only with the help of prewar road signs. Deconstruction is limited neither to a methodological reform that would reassure the given organization, nor, inversely, to a parade of irresponsible or irresponsibilizing destruction, whose surest effect would be to leave everything as is, consolidating the most immobile forces of the university. ( " M o c h l o s " 23) This lengthy quote weaves together several strands central to this inquiry. First, it suggests that deconstruction may offer a new way of challenging conventional understanding of responsibility by seeking to move beyond traditional interpretations of politics and ethics. Second, Derrida calls for subtlety and responsibility in the process of transforming the university, arguing that proceeding in any other way will eventually backfire and merely reinforce the existing structures and discourses. In a way, these points form 'guidelines' both for the readers by giving them a sense of the way I wish to employ deconstruction and for myself, reminding me particularly of responsibility - of avoiding 'irresponsibilizing destruction.' M y relationship with deconstruction, however, is somewhat different from that adopted by some of the more 'orthodox' approaches. Bringing in the work of critics who are (relatively) well-known particularly within dominant discourses and scholarly circles, to an inquiry dealing with the gift of indigenous epistemes and the academic responsibility of hospitality is a way bringing closer the two sometimes separate worlds of indigenous and non-indigenous  49  scholarship. In this way, it is possible to demonstrate the relevance of both discourses to one 36  another. It is also a strategy of calling for the attention of those scholarly circles who otherwise might dismiss considerations on indigenous issues as either irrelevant to their own fields or worse, unscholarly. Rather than seeking for the most correct interpretation or the ultimate meaning of the critics' words, I have used their approaches and considerations as a source of inspiration, as intellectual and theoretical tools by which we can further elaborate and augment our analyses. In my view, this is the very beauty of theory which links it to the idea of the river: to allow oneself to be carried away with various streams and currents. A s an element that defies containment and control, the river also allows me to be less fettered in 'correctly interpreting' theories and works by philosophers. B y relying on the river, it is possible to deem various approaches and critical practices as springboards for reflection rather than limiting myself to speculation on the 'real meaning' of a particular theory or thought. I started this chapter with a discussion on borders and how the river Deatnu is perceived, depending on one's perspective, either as a border river between the nation-states of Finland and Norway or ' a mother of all rivers' that unites and sustain families that live on each side of it. While for many Sami, the ideology embedded in state borders remains problematic and uneasy, these and other borders have nevertheless increasingly influenced our thinking and 37  ways of life. Derrida has defined three types of border limits: first, those that separate territories, countries, nations, States, languages, and cultures (and the politico-anthropological disciplines that correspond to them); second, the separations and sharings between domains of discourse ... [and] third,... the lines of separation, demarcation, or opposition between conceptual determinations, the forms of the border that separates that are called concepts or terms. {Aporias 23)  The critics that I particularly draw upon in this inquiry are Gayatri Spivak and Jacques Derrida, both of whom occupy a somewhat ambivalent position within western theory (whatever that may mean). Spivak herself thinks that she was drawn to Derrida's work in the late 1960s because she had felt that she "was resonating with someone who was not quite not French" in a similar way that she was "not quite not British." It was this kind of "insider/outsider" position that fascinated Spivak in Derrida's analysis of western metaphysics ("Transnationality" 70). Perhaps this at least partly explains why I am also drawn to their work.  36  For example, a declaration of the Sami Council, a NGO and political body representing Sami organizations from all four countries, stresses that the Sami are one people despite the state borders that split Samiland into four countries (cf. The Declaration of The Sami Conference in 1980).  37  50  A s an analysis of borders - particularly the second and third types - this inquiry is determined to strive to reach beyond them. The ambivalent nature of the river Deatnu - not only with regard to state borders but also as an element of transmotion - may help crossing all three types of borders not least because it is a gift for everybody. It keeps us in constant motion, reminding of both fluidity and equilibrium - whether it is our views and perspectives, arguments and interpretations, or life in general. It also gives us the possibility of multiple perspectives whether in the water like the salmon or on a boat looking down, or further away on the river banks. Even on the surface, the river is never the same.  51  ii. THE GIFT  There is no shortage of studies and theories of the gift. While practices of giving in 'archaic societies' has been a popular topic in anthropological research since its early days, the gift has more recently also attracted interest in ever-widening circles of philosophy, economics, theology and sociology, among others. The gift has also been presented as a challenge to the dominant paradigm of global capitalism and the exchange economy informed by patriarchal values and ideology (e.g., Vaughan; K a i l o , "From Sustainable Development" and "From ' G i v e B a c k ' " ) . It is a well-established argument that the gift functions primarily as a system of social relations, forming alliances, solidarity and communities and binding "collectives together" (Berking 35). What is often ignored, however, is that the gift in indigenous worldviews extends 1  beyond interpersonal relationships to "all my relations." Put another way, according to these 2  philosophies, giving is an active relationship between human and natural worlds based on a close interaction of sustaining and renewing the balance between them through gifts! In this chapter, I consider some of the previous theories and perspectives of the gift and address their shortcomings with regard to an understanding of the gift in indigenous thought and practices. More importantly, however, I will demonstrate why this particular notion of the 1  Besides Mauss, other early work on this theme includes Durkheim; Goffman; Levi-Strauss; and Sahlins.  The expression "All my relations" (or 'all my relatives') is commonly used as a way of concluding a prayer, speech or piece of writing by North American indigenous people, reflecting the underpinning philosophy of the interconnectedness of all life (e.g., Deloria, "If You Think" 41). In the introduction of an anthology of the same name, the editor Thomas King writes that besides reminding us of our various relationships, it is also "an encouragement for us to accept the responsibilities we have within this universal family..." ("Introduction" ix, my emphasis). Moreover, as Deloria contends, the phrase "describes the epistemology of the Indian worldview, providing the methodological basis for the gathering of information about the world" (Spirit & Reason 52). Tom Happynook refers to indigenous cultural practices and responsibilities as "unwritten tribal law" which are "direcdy tied to nature and are a product of the slow integration of cultures within their respective environment and ecosystems" ("Cultural Diversity"). This does not mean, however, that all indigenous people are environmentalists (On the sometimes conflicting discourses between indigenous peoples and environmentalists, see, for example, Bruce Braun, Intemperate Rainforest, which discusses the complex relationships between notions of nature and culture in British Columbia). Recognizing the current tendency of using it as an advertisement cliche, King notes that indigenous people are often as prone to make mistakes about the natural environment as others. The question has more to do with having "a particular sense of that physical world that is so much a part of culture and so much a part of the ceremonies and everything else" (King, 'Interview" 116). The term 'original practical ecological philosophy' is used by Spivak in reference to indigenous peoples' systems of thought (Critique 383). 2  52  gift is necessary not only to the overall argument of my dissertation but the future of the academy itself. I focus on giving to nature because it illustrates most effectively the logic of the gift - or as Spivak puts it, 'gift discourses of ethnophilosophies' ('Translation" 19) - that I seek to advance in this thesis. Moreover, I focus bn this aspect because the reciprocity with the land, or the spirits of the natural realm, is also one of the most commonly misinterpreted aspects of indigenous philosophies. I suggest that the gift is a central aspect of the land-based worldviews of many indigenous peoples. It is characterized by a sense of collective responsibility, reciprocity and reverence which in turn are informed by an understanding according to which the well-being of the entire world - the human, natural and spiritual realms - is dependent on a balance between the various realms. The gift plays a central role in forming and reinforcing a multitude of intimate relationships with the natural environment in which people live and have lived for generations. These relationships on both individual and collective levels are the foundation of many indigenous worldviews, reflected in the often shared sense of kinship and coexistence with the world. It is important to state that to discuss these relationships as part of indigenous worldviews is not romanticization. The relationships indigenous peoples have forged with their 3  environments for centuries are a consequence of the living off the land and the dependency on its abundance. They are a result of a relatively straightforward understanding that the well-being of land is also the well-being of human beings. Critical of the mystical, misty-eyed discourse of indigenous peoples and land, Linda Tuhiwai Smith points out: I believe that our survival as peoples has come from our knowledge of our contexts, our environment, not from some active beneficence of our Earth Mother. We had to know how to survive. W e had to work out ways of knowing, we had to predict, to learn and reflect, we had to preserve and protect, we had to defend and attack, we had to be mobile, we had to have social systems which enabled us to do these things. We still have to do these things.  (Decolonizing 12-3)  To avoid romanticization and reductionism, there is a need to understand both the various cultural and socio-economic aspects that have led to the worldview grounded on reciprocity with As Spivak notes, while we need to guard against romanticizing, it is nevertheless "a danger one must face, because the other side of romanticizing is censorship" ('Transnationality" 87).  3  53  and respect for the land and also the ways in which the survival of indigenous peoples and their worldviews today is linked to the questions of land rights. Without the recognition of the existing title of indigenous peoples to their territories by governments, it is increasingly difficult if not impossible for these peoples to continue to assert their identities and self-governance or to maintain their livelihoods or social and cultural practices - in short, to be who they are and have a control over their own lives and futures as a people. Various gift practices related to nature are often assigned to belonging only to traditional indigenous societies (or what anthropologists in particular but also others are inclined to call 'archaic') and thus something that does not describe current realities of indigenous peoples. A s a result, indigenous gift philosophies are usually discussed in the past tense as if they do not inform the practices and thinking of people today. A s the discussion below indicates, however, the logic of the gift is a central aspect, for instance, of contemporary indigenous research ethics and protocols. I suggest, therefore, that if we want to grasp appropriately the significance of the gift philosophy, there is a need to be able to see beyond 'traditional' gift practices and look at the ways in which the philosophy behind these practices continues to inform discursive practices of many indigenous people today. The logic of the gift as understood particularly in indigenous thought is relevant to this inquiry for two main reasons. First, the gift philosophy foregrounds notions of responsibility and relationships of reciprocity. Second, the central premise of the worldview that affirms relationships also with the natural environment is that the gifts of the land are neither taken for granted nor commodified. Rather, they have to be actively recognized and received accordingly which usually implies the observation of certain responsibilities (e.g., ceremonies, gestures of gratitude). This kind of approach - recognition informed by certain responsibilities followed by appropriate reception - is currently lacking in the academy with regard to indigenous epistemologies and more generally, worldviews. The objective of my inquiry is therefore to introduce the logic of the gift which establishes not only a different kind of relationship of reciprocity but also introduces a different way of thinking about the significance of indigenous epistemes in the academy.  54  CLASSIC GIFT THEORIES  The classic gift theories tend to view the gift as a mode of exchange imbued with the notions of obligations, countergifts, pay-backs, debts, forced reciprocity and other mandatory acts. These considerations are often grounded on an assumption according to which exchange is the primary structuring principle of society. This view is articulated particularly by Claude LeviStrauss for whom all societies are founded on various forms - kinship, economy, culture - of exchange.  4  The central thesis of Marcel Mauss's influential essay on the gift (Essai sur le don, forme archaique de I'eckange, first published in 1924) argues that the gift is constituted by three obligations: giving, receiving and paying back. Existing within distinctive social rules, the gift is both constrained and interested even if it may first appear voluntary and disinterested. For Mauss, the gift exchange represents a disguise and replacement for a deeper hostility, an alternative to war. Building on Mauss's agonistic notion of the gift exchange as a substitute for hostility, Pierre Bourdieu has analyzed the gift as symbolic violence, which, according to him, is "the most economical mode of domination" ("Selections" 218). For Bourdieu, the gift exchange ultimately leads to the accumulation of social capital of obligations and debts that are paid back, among other things, in the form of homage, respect and loyalty.  5  In this system, the  gift implies power acquired by giving: there are only two ways of getting and keeping a lasting hold over someone: debts and gifts ... or the moral obligations and emotional attachments created and maintained by the generous gift, in short, overt or symbolic violence, censored, euphemized, that is,  4  See Derrida's critique of Levi-Strauss's analysis of the gift as the logic of exchange in  Given Time  ch. 3.  Here Bourdieu agrees widi Malinowski who considered the chief of a group 'a tribal banker' who accumulates wealth "only to lavish it on others and so build up a capital of obligations and debts..." In this way, the political authority is established; economic capital is converted into symbolic capital, "which produces relations of dependence that have an economic basis but are disguised under a veil of moral relations" ("Selections" 216). Material capital thus produces symbolic capital which is actively 'misrecognized' as something else obligations, relationships, gratitude, etc. 5  55  misrecognizable, recognized violence. (Bourdieu, "Selections" 217, emphasis added)  6  For Bourdieu, gift-giving is an observation of 'moral obligations,' an active denial and misrecognition of the embedded symbolic violence. Material capital produces symbolic capital that is actively 'misrecognized' as something else such as obligations, relationships and gratitude. He suggests that "the pre-capitalist economy is the site par excellence of symbolic violence" for in this system, the only way to establish and reinforce relations of domination is through strategies the true nature of which cannot be revealed - it would destroy them - but instead must be masked, transformed and euphemized. It is interesting that Bourdieu should want to interpret a social order constituted mostly of non-adversarial relationships observed through mutual responsibilities as a site par excellence of a form of violence. While there is no need to romanticize indigenous (or 'precapitalist') communities as nostalgic examples of societies without violence, it hardly does any justice either to the complexity of the logic of the gift or the social order which largely depended on negotiation, cooperation and non-aggression to reduce one of the central structuring principles, the gift, to a form of violence, however subtle and symbolic (cf. Silko, Yellow  Woman 93, 130). Violence hardly has been absent in any society, including indigenous ones which have, like other nations, fought wars among themselves as well as alongside and against various colonizers. Traditionally, however, violence has never characterized indigenous societies in the same way as it does modern, western society, which Paula Gunn A l l e n calls a culture of death: a culture where the presence of death is evident everywhere around us ("Interview" 30, Sacred Hoop 127-35). Could it be possible then that Bourdieu's interpretation is informed by his own 7  cultural notions of adversarial, competitive and dominating relationships more than anything In a similar fashion, Georges Bataille in his The Accursed Share examines gift giving as a form of acquisition of power. 6  7 On violence in contemporary indigenous communities, see, for example, Bachman, Death and Violence on the Reservation; Mihesuah, "Colonialism and Disempovverment"; LaRocque, "Violence in Aboriginal Communities." Emma LaRocque notes: 'There are indications of violence against women in Aboriginal societies prior to European contact. ... It should not be assumed that matriarchies necessarily prevented men from exhibiting oppressive behaviour toward women. ... There is little question, however, diat European invasion exacerbated whatever die extent, nature or potential violence there was in original cultures" ("Violence" 75).  56  else, preventing him from seeing other functions and logic? Leroy Little Bear (Blackfoot) suggests that although anthropologists have described indigenous peoples' customs fairly accurately, "they have failed miserably in finding,and interpreting the meanings behind the customs" which usually focus on maintaining "the relationships that hold creation together" (81). Bourdieu's analysis of the logic of the gift ignores the giving and sharing that exist outside the restrained system of indebtedness in spite of countless examples that indicate otherwise. One such example is the Sami 'grave gifts' in which the dead person is given a gift related to her or his livelihood as well as food and tobacco. Tobacco was also "put down in 8  the earth to the departed" every time a person passed by a grave (Backman, ' T h e Dead as Helpers?" 35, 40).' The function of the gift in grave gifts is preeminently social and spiritual, ensuring the continuance of a congenial relationship between the deceased and her or his living relatives (Backman, ' T h e Dead" 36). This type of giving is often called an 'offering' to the spirit world and thereby considered separate from (or perhaps a sub-category of) the gift proper. For Mauss, one of the themes in the economy and morality of the gift is giving to gods or nature. He does not, however, advance a theory on this theme, partly because of the lack of facts in this area but also because of its "strongly marked mythological element which we do not yet fully understand" (12). Similarly, most other considerations of the gift that address the aspect of giving to the natural world at all only give meager attention to it. They also are often imbued with assumptions of primitiveness, strangeness and antiquity. One of the reasons many scholars do not give non-western systems of thought the serious and rigorous attention they do to western counterparts is the insistence, as Vine Deloria Jr. notes, that non-Western peoples represent an earlier stage of their own cultural evolution often that tribal cultures represent failed efforts to understand the natural world .... N o n Western knowledge is believed to originate from primitive efforts to explain the mysterious universe. In this view, the alleged failure of primitive/tribal man [sic] to control nature mechanically is evidence of his ignorance and his inability to conceive of 8  Hyde calls this type of gifts as 'threshold gifts' or 'gifts of passage' (40,41).  Tobacco plays an important role also among many indigenous peoples in North America. It is one of the sacred herbs and is used for making offerings in prayers and ceremonies (see, e.g., Winter).  9  57  abstract general principles and concepts. ("If Y o u T h i n k " 37) Classic gift theories are also usually characterized by serious misinterpretations simply because the analysis is informed by the paradigms and thought of modernity that are incapable of adequately grasping the deeper meanings of gift giving to the land. Instead of viewing gift giving to gods and nature as a reflection of indigenous worldviews founded on active recognition of kinship relations that extend beyond the human realm, Mauss explains it as a "theory of sacrifice" in which people have - they must make - exchange contracts with the spirits of the dead and the gods who are the real owners of the world's wealth. He gives the Toradja of the Celebes, Indonesia, as a classic example of people who believe that "one has to buy from the gods and that the gods know how to repay the price" (14). Moreover, for Mauss, "the idea of purchase from gods and spirits is universally understood" (14). This is, however, a gross misinterpretation of the Toradja (or Toraya, as some spell it) and other indigenous worldviews based on an understanding that the sociocosmic order is maintained through the stability of various relations within that order, necessarily including the natural world and the ancestors. Following the teachings of her elders, a Toraya woman explains that according to the understanding of her people, Deata ("Creator") provides the Toraya everything and that every creature has a spirit. The Toraya give gifts or "offerings" to thank Deata for everything that they have. After the harvest, for instance, the Toraya hold a ceremony to express gratitude for the season. These practices and this understanding are definitely not considered a purchase from the gods but a form of thanking and respecting the natural world (Sombolinggi). From this perspective, it is peculiar why Mauss, critical of the economic interpretations of the gift, has to resort to interpreting a practice reflecting a perception of the world that postulates a moral universe founded on respect and responsibility toward other forms of life by means of the terminology of economics (exchange contracts, purchase).  10  The inability of economic models to deal with human activity and behaviour is addressed, for example, by John Ikerd, emeritus professor of agricultural economics who notes: "Contemporary economics assume that society is nothing more than a collection of individuals.... It also assumes that these individuals naturally seek to maximize their material well-being; to acquire as much as possible while giving up as litde as possible" (qt. in Tarnoff A l 1). This is, however, a relatively new position even in economics. Ikerd points out that the idea according to which the purpose of human activity is no longer the pursuit of happiness but the pursuit of wealth has emerged only widiin the past century in economic thinking of the West. 10  58  To suggest that the gift necessarily extends beyond interpretations of exchange economy is not to deny the role of the gift also in the economic sphere of indigenous societies. There is a need, however, to question the economic bias that appears to inform the majority of interpretations of the archaic gift (Godbout 128). In this regard, Mauss's interpretation represents an exception for it recognizes how in archaic societies, the gift represents 'total 11  social phenomena' which are at once legal, economic, religious, aesthetic, morphological and so on. They are legal in that they concern individual and collective rights, organized and diffuse morality... They are at once political and domestic, being of interest both to classes and to clans and families. They are religious... They are economic, for the notions of value, utility, interest, luxury, wealth, acquisition, accumulation, consumption and liberal and sumptuous expenditure are all present, although not in their modern senses. Moreover, these institutions have an important aesthetic side ... the dances performed, the songs and shows, the dramatic representations given between camps or partners, the objects made, used, decorated, polished, amassed and transmitted with affection, received with joy, given away in triumph, the feasts in which everyone participates... (76-7) Though recognizing the gift as representing various aspects and functions in society, Mauss's interpretation on many occasions tends, however, to emphasize the gift as an exchange economy which is a predecessor of the current market system and thereby implying an evolutionary process from the primitive to more developed forms of exchange. Writes Mauss: " W e may then consider that the spirit of gift-exchange is characteristic of societies which have passed the phase of 'total prestation' ... but have not yet reached the stage of pure individual contract, the money market, sale proper, fixed price, and weighed and coined money" (45).  12  Jacques Godbout is critical of analyses of the gift that view it in terms of exchange, noting that "the gift forms a system with its own coherence, one that cannot be reduced to  The term 'archaic societies' is used by Mauss to refer to indigenous and other non-western societies that maintain a vital and active link to their social and cultural practices. To discuss the logic of the gift in indigenous societies and thought does not imply that similar values do not exist in other societies and cultures. Values of giving and sharing as well as the sense of responsibility for the other are present in many other cultures and religions, including Christianity (see, for example, Derrida's analyses in Adieu, The Gift of Death and "Hostipitality"). 11  Bataille is, however, critical of this view, demonstrating the shortcomings of mechanistic models in analyzing human existence which seek to reduce all of its aspects to classical economic balance between production and consumption (see The Accursed Share). 12  59  anything but itself, just as the market is a phenomenon sui generis, one whose nature would be violated if we tried to think of it in terms of something else" (130). He also argues that classic theories all downplay the uniqueness of the archaic gift, on the pretext that in order to understand it we must see it as an expression of constraints or motivations that are universal in themselves: economic interest, the prohibition of incest, the obligation to exchange, substitution of peace for war through social contract, the necessary subordination of the imaginary to the symbolic, or the sacrifice of a scapegoat in order to reestablish order among all members of society. (129) In spite of his valuable critique, Godbout, like many others, analyzes the underlying philosophy of the "archaic" gift only cursorily and with a somewhat condescending tone, referring to gift practices as something "strange," "curious" and "primitive" (134). While he recognizes that "the gift represents the overall complex of relationships that brings together... all the personalized powers that inhabit the primitive cosmos: human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or divine" (135), he reduces it, however, to what he calls "the strange law of alternation" which rules that in archaic societies, giving is only possible by taking turns.  13  In his view, this might  be "a primitive democratic requirement" motivated by the fear of revenge and destruction (134). Such a representation is inaccurate as it conceals the fact that giving to nature is grounded neither in "the strange law of alternation" nor in fear of revenge. This might be the case in some contexts but does not form the rule in what Godbout calls archaic societies. In worldviews characterized by gift giving to the land, the emphasis is not on apprehension or retaliation but on expressing gratitude for its gifts and kinship. The main goal of the gift to nature is to sustain the relationships which the socio-cosmic order is based upon. A s Kaarina K a i l o suggests, this kind of interpretation "consists of elements (values, structures, gender roles) which it has naturalized without heeding the animistic [sic] world's own attitudes towards life" ("From the Unbearable Bond"). His representation is also masculinist since giving to the land does "not necessarily get organized along those dichotomous, conflictual lines that [many theorists] take for granted" (Kailo, "From the Unbearable Bond"). Also Berking argues that in "archaic" societies, nobody is free to escape the duty of giving which "cannot simply be equated with the reproduction cycle of a social community," including the dead and gods (34). 13  60  T H E  L O G I C  O F  T H E  G I F T  I N  R E C I P R O C I T Y  W I T H  T H E  L A N D  Instead of viewing the gift as a form of exchange or as having only an economic function, I argue that the gift is a reflection of a particular worldview characterized by a perception of the natural environment as a living entity which gives its gifts and abundance to people if it is treated with respect and gratitude (i.e., if certain responsibilities are observed). Central to this perception is that the world as a whole is constituted of a infinite web of relationships extended to and incorporated into the entire social condition of the individual. Social ties apply to everybody and everything, including the land. People are related to their physical and natural surroundings through genealogies, oral tradition and their personal and collective experiences pertaining to certain locations. A s Elizabeth Woody (Navajo/Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama) puts it, the land "is the embodiment of our ancestors" ("Voice of the L a n d " 165). Interrelatedness is also reflected in many indigenous systems of knowledge. These systems are often explained in terms of relations and arranged in a circular format consisting mostly or solely of sets of relationships seeking to explain phenomena. In many of these systems of knowledge, concepts do not stand alone but are constituted of "the elements of other ideas to which they were related" (Deloria, Spirit & Reason 48). It is important to note that when we talk about indigenous peoples' relationship with their lands, it is not a question of whether an individual may or may not have a relationship with her or his environment. Obviously, it is important to distinguish between a philosophy or a worldview and individual thinking and behaviour which may not always reflect or comply with the former.  14  The question in this particular context is about a worldview, or as Thomas K i n g  proposes, an ethic - a specific way of knowing and being in the world which is transmitted Santa Clara Pueblo artist Roxanne Swentzell provocatively expresses her view on the current discrepancy as follows: "Most of the people here at Santa Clara don't have anything to do with the land, with the place, anymore. They go off to work from eight to five just like everybody else and they want their new car and their TV and their VCR. What they really want is to be middle-class white Americans" (217). As the discussion below indicates, however, there are many indigenous scholars, among odiers, who adhere to the values of their worldviews in their practices and daily lives. 14  through values and cultural practices. K i n g notes: While the relationship that Native people have with the land certainly has a spiritual aspect to it, it is also a practical matter that balances respect with survival. It is an ethic that can be seen in the decisions and actions of a community and that is contained in the songs that Native people sing and the stories that they tell about the nature of the world and their place in it, about the webs of responsibilities that bind all things. Or, as the Mohawk writer Beth Brant put it, " W e do not worship nature. W e are part of it." (The Truth 113-4) In indigenous worldviews that foreground the multilayered and multidimensional relationships with the land, the gift is the means by which this order is renewed and" secured. The gift is the manifestation of reciprocity with the natural environment, reflecting the bond of dependency and respect toward the natural world. From this bond, certain responsibilities emerge. In this system, one does not give primarily in order to receive but to ensure the balance of the world on which the wellbeing of the entire social order is contingent. Thanks are given in the form of gifts to the guardians of the land that sustain human beings but the gifts are also given for a continued goodwill. Because, according to this worldview, human beings represent only one aspect of the creation, their view of the world is marked by a clear sense of responsibility toward other aspects with which the socio-cosmic order is shared and inhabited. A s Deloria notes, this "view of life was grounded in the knowledge of these responsibilities.... The human ceremonial life confirmed the existence of this equality and gave it sustenance" ("Out of Chaos" 262-3).  The Sami Perception of the World  According to the traditional Sami perception of the world, like in many other indigenous worldviews, the land is a physical and spiritual entity which humans are part of. A s survival has depended on the balance and renewal of the land, the central principles in this understanding are sustainable use of and respect for the natural realm. The relationship with the land is maintained by collective and individual rituals in which the gift and giving back are integral. The intimacy and interrelatedness is reflected in the way of communicating with various aspects of the land 62  which often are addressed directly as relatives. The close connection to the natural realm is also evident in the permeable and indeterminate boundaries between the human and natural worlds. Skilled individuals can assume the form of an animal when needed and there are also stories about women marrying an animal (Porsanger 151-2). The porosity of the boundary between the human and the non-human is sometimes seen as a reflection of shamanistic worldviews. In traditional Sami society, shamans in particular noaidis who were the spiritual leaders but also healers and visionaries of the community - were in contact with the spirit world where they travelled often in an animal form. In a worldview in which survival and thus knowledge depend on the intimate connection with the world, this kind of transformation is not considered supernatural but is rather a normal part of life. The Sami noaidi communicated with the spirit and natural worlds also with the help of 15  the govadas, a drum depicting the Sami cosmos on its surface. The Sami cosmos consists of a complex, multilayered order of different realms and spheres inhabited by humans, animals, ancestors, spirits, deities and guardians, all of whom traditionally have had specific roles and functions in the Sami cosmic order. A n interesting, almost completely ignored aspect in the analyses of Sami cosmology and 'religion' is the role of the female deities in giving the gift of life (to both human beings and domestic animals, mainly reindeer) and the connection to the land. One could suggest that the Sami deity Mattarahkka with her three daughters signified the very foundation in the Sami cosmic order for they are the deities of new life who convey the soul of a child, create its body and also assist with menstruation, childbirth and protection of children (see Rank 31). Thus the most significant gift or all, a new life, was the duty of these female deities that often in ethnographic literature have been relegated to a mere status of wives of male deities (reflecting the patriarchal bias of these interpretations). Moreover, Mattarahkka could be translated as 'Earthmother' (the root word mdttdr refers to earth and also to ancestors). Initially, she could have been an individual ancestress (Rank 19). Moreover, words for 'earth' and 'mother' in the Sami language also derive from the same root (eanan and eadni respectively). The role of women and female deities in Sami cosmology and the world order of giving and relations is a As noaidis were among the most important members of the community, they were the first ones to be exterminated amongst the Sami by church and state representatives (e.g., Paltto, "One Cannot" 28). 15  63  neglected area of study but should be noted here when considering Sami notions of giving.  16  A s the physical and spiritual wellbeing of Sami society has traditionally been inseparably linked to a stable and continuous relationship between the human and natural worlds, knowledge of taking care of that relationship has been an integral part of Sami social structures and practices, including spiritual practices (cf. M u l k 127-8). In other words, what is central in this worldview is that well-being depends on knowing, not actively changing the environment (cf. Brody 117). A n important part of this knowing is the awareness of one's responsibilities and norms of behaviour. A s "[e]very geographical place was considered an entity in which the physical dimension was in balance with the spiritual one, [b]oth aspects needed to be taken into consideration when making a living" (Porsanger 153). Gifts play an important role in maintaining this balance:  W e still did not erect our lavvu" without the spirits' permission moved lavvu if it chanced to be be placed on a trail A n d when we left our winter camp we apologized if we had acted wrong and thanked the camp because it had fed us and our reindeer A n d when came to the summer camp some of us dressed in red gdktis adorned ourselves offered a libation as well to your light beautiful camp and asked it to open its embrace for protection once again (Valkeapaa, Trekways n.p.)  ;  Traditionally, one of the most important ways to maintain established relations and the socio-cosmic order has been the practice of giving to various sieidis. Sieidi, a sacred place of the gift, usually consists of a stone or a piece of wood to which the gift is given to thank certain spirits for the abundance in the past but also to ensure fishing, hunting and reindeer luck in the future. Although the several centuries' long influence of Christianity has severely eroded the Sami gift-giving to and sharing with the land by banning it as a pagan form of devil It would be worthwhile to pursue this line of thought further but it is, however, beyond the scope of this inquiry. 16  17  Lavvu is a Sami temporary dwelling that closely resembles a teepee.  64  worshipping, there is a relatively large body of evidence that the practice of sieidi gifting is still practiced (Kjellstrom; see also Juuso 137).  15  The common location for sieidis are in the vicinity of sacred places, camp grounds or fishing and hunting sites. Stone or rock sieidis are usually natural formations of unusual shapes, functioning as natural landmarks particularly in the mountains. Wooden sieidis are either trees with the lowest branches removed, carved stumps or fallen trunks. For the Sami, sieidis were considered alive although many ethnographers interpreted them merely representing inert stones and structures. Sami reindeer herder Johan Turi describes the nature of the sieidi in the early twentieth century as follows: Some sieidis were satisfied if they received antlers, and others were content with all the bones, which meant every single bone, even the the most wee ones. Fish sieidi did not demand less than a half of the catch but then it directed to the nets as much fish as people could collect. Some sieidis wanted a whole reindeer which needed to be embellished with all kinds of decorations, cloth, threads, silver and gold. (108)  19  Sieidis require regular attention and if neglected, the consequences could be drastic: a loss of subsistence luck, illness or at worst, death. It is interesting in Turi's description that the gift reindeer also had to be decorated. A s K i r a V a n Deusen suggests, for some indigenous peoples such as those in the A m u r region in Siberia, decoration and more broadly, aesthetics is a spiritual phenomenon on its own with a special function of protecting from bad spirits. Decorations of the gift reindeer could also be considered gifts of their own, not only a means of increasing the 'gift value' of the reindeer. The Sami practice of giving back to sieidis involve spirits and guardians of the elements (e.g., wind, thunder) and various spheres of the natural world (animal birth, hunting, fishing). Sieidi gifts are, particularly in ethnographic literature, almost invariably referred to as 'sacrifice,' usually defined as a gift exchange with gods and nature. A s a forfeiture of something for the sake of receiving something else, sacrifice is not voluntary but given under certain pressures or  The Sami 'religion' has drawn the attention of outsiders for centuries and it has been the subject of innumerable ethnographic, anthropological and religious studies around the world. See, for instance, Ahlback; Backman and Hultkrantz; Holmberg; Karsten; Manker; Pentikainen; Scheffer; Sommarstrom; and Vorren. 18  19  My English translation. 65  conditions. Jacques Derrida notes: 20  Sacrifice will always be distinguished from the pure gift (if there is any). The sacrifice proposes an offering but only in the form of a destruction against which it exchanges, hopes for, or counts on a benefit, namely, a surplus-value or at least an amortization, a protection, and a security. (Given Time 137) I argue that contrary to conventional interpretations, giving to sieidi cannot be completely understood through the concept of sacrifice. Even if sieidi gifts do have aspects of sacrifice, they are not and should not be regarded solely as such. They may have other dimensions that can be as significant - if not more so - as the aspect of sacrifice. Bones are given back, the catch shared and reindeer given to the gods and goddesses of hunting, fishing and reindeer luck represented by sieidi sites as an expression of gratitude for their goodwill and for ensuring abundance also in the future. In this sense, giving to sieidis appears involuntary as it is done for the protection and security of both the individual and the community. On the other hand, sieidis are considered an inseparable part of one's social order and thus it is an individual and collective responsibility to look after them. While it may appear that such a gift is an exchange and a mandatory forfeit (especially when interpreted from the framework of a foreign worldview '), I suggest that it rather is a voluntary expression of a 2  particular worldview. Reflecting the Sami worldview of respect of and intimate relationship with the land, the practice of sieidi gifts is a manifestation of circular or loose reciprocity which should not be confused with the restrained reciprocity present in systems of exchange. If analyzed through the paradigm of exchange economy, it is, of course, possible to suggest that any kind of giving is always form of exchange; that gifts are exchanged for collective well-being. Discussing the bear ceremony in which the bones of the bear are ritually returned to nature and the spirit of the animal, K a i l o notes that even if it might be "rooted in the exchange of gifts between hunters, the bear and the other actors of the bear drama  the  attitudes, mood, values and philosophical context are very different" ("From the Unbearable  20  See, for example, the discussion on gift as sacrifice in Mauss, chapter 1.  See, for example, Greg Sarris's (ch. 2) discussion how analyses through different worldviews result in different interpretations. 21  66  Bond").  22  She notes that while the ethnographic accounts on bear rituals do not explicitly  discuss the underlying paradigms the interpretations are based upon, one can observe the implicit ideology of the nineteenth century nationalism and its unexamined assumptions of 'primitive' cultures and male interpretations which stress the primacy of self-interest, guilt and aggression. In other words, these ethnographic interpretations are usually rooted in certain colonial, Eurocentric and patriarchal worldviews, ideologies and values (Kailo, personal communication).  23  F o r m s of Reciprocity  The underlying logic of the exchange paradigm is that gifts cannot be given unless the receipt of countergifts is guaranteed. Reciprocity, usually defined as giving back in kind or quantity, is considered the condition of the gift by many theorists. In Bourdieu's view, the gift can remain unreciprocated only when one gives to an 'ungrateful person' ("Selections" 190). This kind of constrained reciprocity - "a binary give-and-take" (Hyde 74) - emphasizes the movement inward and toward self, seeking to maintain the independence of the self. It requires that gifts are 'paid o f f by giving exact value back in order to remain self-contained and independent from others. For Vaughan, reciprocity is problematic for it is " a way of maintaining the selfinterest of both of the parties involved in the interaction" {For-Giving 58). In constrained reciprocity, based on the worldview of individualism and the notion of the Cartesian subject,  According to Kailo ("From the Unbearable Bond"), the bear ritual is "an effort to give back and pay tribute to the totem animal [who is] also venerated as half relative." Traditionally, the Sami have also conducted bear ceremonies. 22  Kailo also questions the often taken-for-granted view that the western assumptions of human nature, for instance, are somehow more correct and legitimate than those of indigenous peoples and that such considerations are always necessarily interpretations as humanity or human nature cannot be scientifically measured. 23  67  dependency on others is considered a burden. According to the desired norm of individualist 24  subject, dependency on other people is met with trepidation - the common attitude of 'no strings attached' or 'even steven' supports the existence of separate, self-contained individuals with minimal responsibilities toward the other (cf. Tyler 78). In its extreme form, receiving gifts in this model is considered a burden for it implies owing something of at least equal value to the given Behind every gift lurks the ulterior motive of the giver who expects a return, and it is the recipient's perception of the giver's ulterior motive that impels him to 'give as good as he gets' in order to be free of obligations or, conversely, to be locked into an ongoing relationship of reciprocal relationship of reciprocal exchanges over time. (Tyler 78) According to this thinking, dependency and responsibility are regarded as something negative an obligation and a duty external to oneself imposed by others, whether individuals or society at large. From this perspective, responsibilities are no longer seen as necessary for the well-being of an individual or community (even if they in fact are) - in other words, the connection between the self and the world has been weakened. For Helene Cixous, this view is a reflection of the 25  Here I refer to individualism as rooted particularly in Renaissance humanism and characterized by a strong emphasis on unique, self-sufficient, independent individuals whose possibilities and freedoms are viewed as limidess. Today, this individualism is manifested in the current economic ideologies with the focus on individual rights, freedom and choice which are in conflict with the recognition of collective solidarity, one of die fundamental values of indigenous peoples (Smith, "Protecting" 214). This does not imply dial die notion of individual is nonexistent in indigenous communities. LaRocque asserts that the question of collective vs. individual is more complex than generally perceived by many non-Natives and Natives alike. She argues that, "The issue of 'individual' versus 'collective' rights is a perfect example of Natives resorting to a cultural framework when boxed in by western liberal democratic tradition that are associated with individualism. Perhaps unavoidably, Native leaders have had to overemphasize collective rights to make the point that such rights are even culturally feasible. However, the fact diat native cultures were egalitarian in organization does not mean Native peoples acted on some instinct akin to a buffalo herd with no regard for the well-being of individuals!" ("Re-examining" 87). Individualism in Native cultures is also addressed by Vizenor who affirms the value of individual visions and dreams (Postindian 62). For further discussion on different concepts of individualism in indigenous and western cultures, see, for example, Bowers, Vasquez and Roaf, "Native People and the Challenge of Computers: Reservation Schools, Individualism, and Consumerism." 24  Radical exclusion and hierarchization of realms of the self and the world has a long history in the intellectual tradition of die West, starting from the Greek philosophers and furtiier articulated by Descartes. Though it is beyond the scope of my inquiry to delve into this in detail at this point, it would be good to point out that this is one of the differences between philosophical traditions of the western and indigenous worlds (cf. e.g., Silko, Yellow Woman 37 and Mander 212-24). Armstrong has also pointed out how the traditional Okanagan teachings and prophesies caution "that we are cutting ourselves off from die ability to live well by distancing ourselves from the natural world. This is what my generation has been told by our elders. We are cutting off the abilities that we previously had that gave us the best chance to be in a healthy relationship with ourselves as people and widi the rest of die world" ('The Ones from the Land" 7). 25  68  masculine economy characterized by uneasiness when confronted by generosity. A s an alternative, she suggests feminist economies which do not imply a form of exchange but affirmation of generosity and establishment of relationships ('The Laugh of the Medusa"). Hyde suggests that there are two forms of giving, reciprocal and circular, which differ from one another in several ways. Reciprocal giving is the simplest form of gift exchange while in circular giving one has to give blindly, i.e., "to someone from who I do not receive (and yet I do receive elsewhere)" (Hyde 16). For him, the condition of the gift is not constrained 26  reciprocity but circulation and keeping the gift moving: "[a] gift that cannot move loses its gift properties" (8).  27  The circulation of gifts is recognized also by Mauss who points out that "it  is something other than utility which makes goods circulate in these multifarious and fairly enlightened societies" (70). In constrained reciprocal giving, the gift is signified as. a 'loan' or 'credit' rather than a gift. Unlike limited, binary reciprocity, circular or loose reciprocation seeks to assert the bond of relationships in the world simply because according to the worldviews from which such an understanding stems, it is constitutive of our very existence. Reciprocity is commonly considered one of the central dimensions of indigenous thought. It, however, goes beyond the reductionist 'binary give-and-take' and more often takes the form of circular reciprocity and sharing and what is called 'ceremonial reciprocity' (cf. K a i l o "From the Unbearable B o n d " ; Richter 14-5). This is not to assume, however, that circulation of gifts (or goods) exists only in indigenous or 'pre-capitalist' societies. A s Rodolphe Gasche notes, modern economy is also characterized by circulation. Yet the As examples of circular giving, Hyde mentions the kula circuit of the the Trobriand Islanders in Papua New Guinea, one of the best-known circular gift practices, as well as several stories from European folklore tradition. For the kula, see Malinowski; Damon; Landa; Leach and Leach; Mauss's discussion on the kula, pp. 19-29; and Uberoi. 26  Hyde's gift analysis particularly with regard to the podatch is criticized by Christopher Bracken; who asks: "Why 'must' Hyde seek a 'truly aboriginal' essence pure of any admixtures - and how can he claim to find it in texts that he considers contaminated? Such a move serves the overriding aim of his study, which is to use a pure theory of the pure gift to inscribe a clear limit between 'art' and the marketplace of 'European capitalism'" (237). This is an invaluable reminder for all considerations of the gift, including mine, to not to assume the existence of the pure gift or a clear, fixed limit between the gift philosophy and say, western philosophical tradition. In this inquiry, I do not intend to present 'a truly indigenous essence' of the gift but instead, discuss a worldview with which some people still genuinely associate themselves and which differs from the dominant modern worldview. This is not to imply that similar values and practices to the logic of the gift in indigenous thought would not exist in the latter but as the prevalent hierarchies and gross inequalities in contemporary mainstream society manifested concretely many people's everyday realities, these principles are overlooked while other values are foregrounded and prioritized. 27  69  circulation of the modern economy "seems to be somehow deficient because a certain privilege of accumulation tends to produce absolute impoverishment. The privilege of accumulation makes closure of the circle of circulation as well as its compensatory action simply impossible" ("Heliocentric Exchange" 107). In reciprocity practiced according to indigenous thought, gifts are not given first and foremost to ensure a countergift later on, but to actively acknowledge the sense of kinship and coexistence with the world without which.survival (of human beings but also other living beings) would not be possible. The main function of circular or ceremonial reciprocity is, therefore, to affirm the myriad relationships in the world from which stems the sense of collective and individual necessity "to act responsibly toward other forms of life" (Deloria, Spirit & Reason 51). This kind of reciprocity implies response-ability; an ability to respond, to remain attuned to the world beyond self and be willing to recognize its existence by means of gifts. Such a sense of responsibility embedded in the gift is a result of living within an ecosystem and being dependent on it. A s collectivities, indigenous peoples generally continue to be culturally, socially, economically and spiritually more directly dependent on their lands and surrounding natural environments. This thinking is still a central part of indigenous philosophies while for many other peoples, this previously existed connection and relationship with the physical surroundings started to erode generations ago as a result of modernization, urbanization and other developments since the Renaissance and Enlightenment which continue today in the form of neocolonialism, capitalism, consumerism and globalization. 28  29  A n example of the ability to respond and to remain attuned to the world beyond self and willingness to recognize its existence by means of gifts is the Sohappy case which also illustrates the conflicting worldviews with regard to a person's responsibilities toward the natural world. The Sohappy case took place in Oregon at the end of the 1960s and was named after David Sohappy who fought for decades for the right to fish as part of his tribal rights and also his identity. Sandra Osawa (Makah) notes how the explanation of this extraordinary man For a discussion on neocolonialism and global indigenous issues, see, for example, Haunani Kay Trask's speech presented at a world conference of indigenous women hosted by the Sami people in Karasjohka, Samiland (Norway) in August 1990 (Trask, ch. "Neocolonialism").  28  The differences are not, of course, absolute between the different systems of thought. Many 'modern' concepts, for example, are imbricated with a Christian tradition of hospitality. 29  70  to the question why he had to keep fishing the river was never properly understood in courtrooms or by news reporters. He was not understood because he was speaking from a perspective of another worldview. "He was speaking as a man with a unique relationship with the salmon and he knew that the salmon and his people were as one. Along with this relationship came a special duty and responsibility to remain on the river" (Osawa 145). Other people were not, however, either able or willing to recognize and comprehend this relationship, stemming from his tribal traditions and with certain responsibilities that he attempted to articulate. In other words, due to ignorance of the representatives of law and many others, the salmon was not recognized as a gift that came with a relationship and responsibilities, and Sohappy ended up in prison for five years.  30  In circular reciprocity, responsibility is commonly regarded as an integral part of being human and inseparable part of one's identity. In cultures and societies that foreground reciprocity, individuals are brought up with an understanding and expectation of acting for others (Williams, "Vampires" 614, 618; also Worl 66). Jeannette Armstrong articulates this kind of understanding of responsibility in terms of her relationship to the surrounding environment: I know the mountains, and by birth, the river is my responsibility: They are part of me. I cannot be separated from my place or my land. When I introduce myself to my own people in my own language, I describe these things because it tells them what my responsibilities are and what my goal is. ("Sharing" 461) Armstrong's notion of self is not limited to her as an individual but inseparably entails the connection to a certain place toward which she has certain responsibilities for the land. A s the 31  existence and survival of indigenous peoples were largely dependent on the social and ecological stability, the central element of their worldviews was teachings of responsibility There are several other similar accounts that address die limit of understanding between two different worldviews which end up being contested in court. One of the more well-known cases is the Delgamuukw, now a landmark case of Aboriginal rights in Canada (see, for instance, Culhane; Gisday Wa and Delgam Uukw; Mills; Persky). Linda Hogan's riveting story about the clash of worldviews also culminates in the courtroom in her novel Power. 30  This responsibility belongs to everybody, as pointed out by Elizabeth Woody ("Voice" 196). She shares the comment made by her uncle which reveals a difference in perspectives on this responsibility: "We are all in this together, except we, as tribal people, will not leave or neglect our responsibility. We don't have that luxury. There is too much at stake" ("Voice" 171). 31  71  toward other beings, whether human or non-human. Responsibility is, therefore, an integral and necessary part of a person's upbringing in a different way than in a society where individual success is emphasized. B y recognizing her responsibilities, Armstrong knows her location and her role in her community; in short, she knows who she is ("Sharing" 462). This notion of responsibility emphasizes interrelatedness of all life forms - the well-being of the mountains and river is related to her personal well-being as well as to the well-being of her community. It does not separate the self from the world to an extent that it would be possible to view human beings as independent from the rest of the creation. It foregrounds an understanding "that life depends on maintaining the right kind of relationship with the natural w o r l d " (Brody 289) and that personal and collective responsibilities toward the natural environment are the necessary foundation of society. T o m Mexsis Happynook (Nuu-chah-nulth) elaborates this 32  understanding as follows: When we talk about indigenous cultural practices we are in fact talking about responsibilities that have evolved into unwritten tribal laws over millennia. These responsibilities and laws are directly tied to nature and is a product of the slow integration of cultures within their environment and the ecosystems. Thus, the environment is not a place of divisions but rather a place of relations, a place where cultural diversity and bio-diversity are not separate but in fact need each other. ("Indigenous Relationships" n.p.) As with many classic interpretations of giving to nature, analyses of responsibility in indigenous societies are often characterized by assumptions grounded on foreign worldviews and values, remaining blind to other ways of knowing and relating to the world. For instance, Bourdieu contends that the circulation of gifts is nothing more than "mechanical interlockings of obligatory practices" ("Selections" 198). While it is not incorrect to suggest that giving to nature is one of the many forms of socialization whereby an individual learns to conform certain cultural norms and rules, it is however extremely reductionistic and dismissive to interpret Happynook observes how in the colonial context, these cultural responsibilities have been forced into a framework of 'Aboriginal rights' to be defended usually "in an adversarial system of justice." These rights are, however, at their root first and foremost responsibilities (n.p.). Interestingly, also Spivak talks about the difference betweenright-basedand responsibility-based ethical systems and the "constitution of the subject in responsibility." She notes: "When so-called ethnopliilosophies describe the embedded ethico-cultural subject being formed prior to the terrain of rational decision making, they are dismissed as fatalistic" ('Translation" 18). 32  72  indigenous (or any other) gift practices as merely rules which are blindly obeyed and conformed to out of duty. Such views lack an understanding of different ethics and ways of being in the world and thus deny them also to other peoples and cultures. Instead of being mechanically observed practices, giving to nature is the basis of ethical behaviour and a concrete manifestation of worldviews which emphasize the primacy of relationships and balance in the world upon which the wellbeing of all is contingent. The logic of the gift continues to characterize indigenous people's practices in contemporary contexts. This is one of the reasons why it is misleading and inappropriate to consider and discuss the gift in 'archaic societies' by even those who are otherwise critical of the narrow interpretations of the gift as economic exchange. A l f Isak Keskitalo is critical of research of the Sami by scholars of the dominant Nordic societies because, among other things, the tendency of these 'ethno-scientists' "to fix attention on the more archaic aspects of the minority group, and thus underestimate its complexity and differentiation" (12). One could add that the focus on archaic aspects also leads to perpetuating both implicit and explicit assumptions of 'frozen' cultures and may reinforce tradition-contemporary binaries. A s Brody asserts, "[w]e are all contemporaries, whatever lands we live on and whatever heritage we rely on to do so. A l l human beings have been evolving for the same length of time" (7). A n example of the gift logic in contemporary contexts is indigenous research practices and protocols.  SCHOLARLY ' G I V E B A C K '  A central principle of indigenous philosophies, 'giving back' also forms the backbone of current research conducted by many indigenous scholars and students. It expresses a strong commitment and desire to ensure that academic knowledge, practices and research are no longer used as a tool of colonization and as a way exploiting indigenous peoples by taking (or as it is often put, stealing) their knowledge without ever giving anything back in return (cf. Smith, Decolonizing 1). After centuries of being studied, measured, categorized and represented to  73  serve various colonial interests and purposes, many indigenous peoples now require that research dealing with indigenous issues has to emanate from the needs and concerns of indigenous communities instead of those of an individual researcher or the dominant society." Indigenous research ethics assert the expectations of academics - both indigenous and nonindigenous - to 'give back,' to conduct research that has positive outcome and is relevant to indigenous peoples themselves (e.g. Smith, Decolonizing 15; Battiste, "Introduction" xx).  34  Vine Deloria, Jr. is one of the first indigenous scholars to call the attention of nonindigenous researchers to recognize the necessity of 'putting something back into the Indian community.' He even questions the need for further research of Native communities particularly by 'people from the outside' ("Research, Redskins, and Reality" 16; see also "Our New Research Society"). Other central elements of scholarly responsibilities include 35  distribution and sharing of the research results in an appropriate and meaningful way while recognizing that the process of sharing knowledge is a long-term responsibility involving more than sending the final report back to the community. Linda Smith differentiates between 'sharing knowledge' and 'sharing surface information' by pointing out the necessity of sharing "the theories and analyses which inform the way knowledge and information are constructed and represented" {Decolonizing 16). This is explicitly recognized and  The objectifying colonial research discourse characterized by the salvage paradigm and practices of categorizations and measuring indigenous peoples alongside the flora and fauna or i n zoological terms (cf. A l l e n , Off the Reservation 12; Smith, Decolonizing 8, 59) does not belong to the past. L i n d a Smith outlines ten ways how indigenous peoples continue to be colonized by research (Decolonizing, 100-3).  3 3  Beatrice M e d i c i n e , however, problematizes the common ideal of 'wanting to help our people' by asking: " W h e n we hear this utterance of benevolence, is it an echo of an often-articulated caveat of the expectations of members o f the larger society, or do we truly believe that this is the most basic motivating factor i n our l i v e s ? " (84). M e d i c i n e suggests that tiiis k i n d of benevolence might be a reflection of 'new ethnocentrism' based o n tribal chauvinism and tribal rivalry which ultimately has a detrimental effect on Native education.  3 4  D e l o r i a ' s suggestion to establish a system of 'designated Master Scholars' among various N a t i v e A m e r i c a n peoples seems, however, rather ill-informed and likely would be unable to properly address the problem at hand. In fact, his proposed model is quite surprising: as we have somewhat agreed on rejecting discourses of universalism and Master Narratives, w h y w o u l d we immediately want to rebuild them? A n d even more so, how w o u l d we do that? ( W h o w o u l d be the members of the committee? H o w w o u l d they be elected? B y tribal councils or by academics? It indeed sounds l i k e a system too susceptible o f turning into another good o l d boys' network.) Perhaps there is a good intention behind the idea w h i c h , at its present stage, sounds quite crude and i n need o f further elaboration. Indigenous communities hardly are homogeneous entities that could have single answers o n good research. H a v i n g said this, I am aware diat his suggestion may well be another sarcastic, indirect criticism of mainstream academia, not necessarily an idea to be taken literally. 3 5  74  acknowledged by Sharilyn Calliou who, in her article "Decolonizing the M i n d , " names several First Nations' scholars and considers their contributions as 'give-aways'; gifts to indigenous scholarship. The principle of giving back is also reflected by Fyre Jean Graveline (Metis): I am Obliged by my Community ethics. M y Elders Teach: Give Back to your Community A L W A Y S Do Whatever you Can for Others. ("Everyday"  74)  The principle of 'giving back' in research - whether it is reporting back, sharing the benefits, bringing back new knowledge and vital information to the community, or taking the needs and concerns of the people into account - is part of the larger process of decolonizing colonial structures and mentality and restoring indigenous societies. The ethics of relevance and giving back guide my work. For example, I consider it important that that my academic work also contributes, however indirectly, to the broader transformation and decolonization of Sami society. Further, my consideration on the relationship between indigenous epistemes and dominant academic discourses is an attempt to contribute to the decolonization of scholarly practices that continue excluding and marginalizing various groups of people and their epistemes. With my work, I hope to 'give back' to the growing body of indigenous scholarship by undertaking an issue with which quite a few indigenous people are faced today in the academic community but which has so far received relatively little scholarly attention; that is, the question of urging the academy to recognize its responsibilities toward and take seriously the gift of indigenous epistemes. The participation of the community, acknowledgment of traditional genealogical and other organizing structures, relevancy of research and culturally appropriate research practi