Indigenous Peoples and Western Civilization
In Decolonizing Methodologies, Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) discusses the notion of ‘Trading the Other,’ as it relates to indigenous populations and Western Civilization. She explains that when ‘Trading the Other’ the dominant group trades nothing with the less dominant group (marginalized) in exchange for their knowledge, culture, materials, and spiritual perspectives to fuel their commercial enterprises. Smith recognizes the fact that trade occurs typically between two parties who exchange things of value, but when ‘Trading the Other’ only the dominant party of the two benefits, leaving the non-dominant group further oppressed with without control over sacred cultural practices. Smith (1990) writes, “ ‘Trading the Other’ is a vast industry based on the positional superiority and advantages gained under imperialism” (p. 89).
Smith (1999) suggests that research and scholars have traditionally favored imperialistic ways of knowing developed primarily by Westerners. In other words, those in power, those who have colonized and marginalized other groups of people, have privileged their Ways of Knowing and constructing knowledge. Privileging the dominant group's ways of knowing promotes a lack of consideration as it relates to marginalized groups’ ways of knowing and constructing knowledge. Smith (1999) posits that proving the validity of indigenous knowledge, including “that indigenous peoples have ways of viewing the world which is unique,” is not the only challenge indigenous populations face, but also proving the authenticity and control over those forms of knowledge (p. 104).
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