De Orientalisation Of Indigenous Communities

Pratishtha Solanki
Pratishtha Solanki
Pratishtha is pursuing a history honors degree from the University of Delhi. She looks forward to a career in research and academics and is a content writer at The Indegenous.

Necessities Of Modern Day Research

The concept of Orientalism, introduced by Edward Said, has long been used to justify colonization and other forms of subjugation. This aggravates the call for the decolonization of indigenous research. This involves placing indigenous voices and epistemologies at the center of the research process. De-orientalization of research can empower indigenous communities to regain control of their knowledge.

 The concept of Orientalism, initially introduced by Edward Said, elucidates Orientalism as a Western practice of domination, restructuring, and exercising authority over the Orient. This notion is rooted in the idea that the West has historically maintained a position of power over the East, which has resulted in a distorted representation of the former. This Western style in turn has been used to justify colonization, imperialism, and other forms of subjugation.

 With the onset of colonialization, orientalism assumed a broader role. Making colonialism and Orientalism deeply interconnected. This in turn gave the West an authority on using Orientalism as a vehicle of colonialism. This has resulted in the promotion of orientalist ideologies which have been detrimental to the cultural and social well-being of the affected communities.

To counter such dichotomies of the West, there is an increasing need for the evaluation of indigenous research, in an equitable and non-oriental purview. This can be achieved by a certain decolonization of indigenous research as well as the researcher. Smith (indigenous scholar) explains the term “decolonization” for a researcher as being predominantly associated with placing indigenous voices and epistemologies in the center of the research process. It includes “Decolonization” in the sense of de-orientalizing, as a continuous process of anti-colonial struggle that honors indigenous approaches to knowing the world, recognizing indigenous land, indigenous peoples, and indigenous sovereignty- including sovereignty over the decolonization process.

Indigenous scholars like Smith, and Wilson, argue that Western research without decolonization can be referred to as ‘oppression’ towards indigenous communities. Dr. Marrie Battise ( indigenous scholar), in her CFCR 90.5 Radio program on 12 March 2017 shares that, one of the pillars of decolonization deals with the recovery from colonial impact, and restoration of indigenous peoples’ experiences.

The de-orientalization of research can empower indigenous communities to regain control of their knowledge and enable future generations of indigenous people to thrive with a sense of pride. Acknowledging conventional knowledge is crucial in empowering indigenous communities and breaking free from harmful stereotypes. In a rapidly evolving world, it is imperative to preserve their heritage, and an unbiased analysis of their knowledge is essential to achieve this goal.

To this end, it is important to recognize the significance of traditional knowledge that has been passed down through generations. By acknowledging their unique cultural heritage and understanding the value of their knowledge, indigenous communities can take pride in their identity and promote their interests with confidence. Moreover, a fair and objective assessment of their knowledge can help to dispel misconceptions and prejudices that have contributed to their marginalization. This can be achieved through a rigorous analysis of their traditional practices and beliefs, which can provide valuable insights into their way of life and worldview.

In summary, recognizing and preserving the conventional knowledge of indigenous communities is an essential step toward promoting their empowerment and addressing longstanding societal injustices.We must approach this task with the respect and diligence it deserves and work collaboratively with indigenous communities to achieve these important goals.