A Global De-colonial Praxis of Sustainability — Undoing Epistemic Violences between Indigenous peoples and those no longer Indigenous to Place

Lewis Williams, Tracey Bunda, Nick Claxton, Iain MacKinnon
  • The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, October 2017, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/jie.2017.25

Solidarity Building for Sustainable Development: Making De-colonial Pedagogy Count

What is it about?

Increasingly throughout the world, Indigenous and settler-migrant populations are attempting to build solidarities aimed at addressing the ongoing colonial processes and forms of economic development which currently threaten human and environmental well-being. Yet this work can be complex as Indigenous and settler-migrant groups have different worldviews, experiences of colonialism and everyday citizenship. Taking intergenerational resilience as its central theme, this paper reports on this work of solidarity-building at the Elders Voices' Summit, an international gathering of Indigenous and non-indigenous people over four days. It discusses the kinds of educational practices that can lead to mutual re-connection to place whilst highlighting the tensions that can arise when Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples think they hold a similar worldview and set priorities, which are subsequently 'tested' in solidarity-building work because of their divergent positionings within societal structures. This paper highlights the importance of recognizing and mapping these different experiences, priorities and positions as a part of solidarity building work.

Why is it important?

The magnitude and impact of economic extractionism and corporatization on human and environmental wellbeing requires large scale collective activism aimed at widespread cultural and societal change; firstly, through the re-centralizing of Indigenous knowledge systems and practices, and secondly the inclusion of other culturally-grounded worldviews of interconnectedness subscribed to by settler-migrant peoples. The likelihood of success of solidarity building methodologies will be increased through taking account of how Indigenous and settler-migrant populations are differently positioned within the broader political ecology and may therefore have different everyday priorities. Developing methodologies for making these visible and negotiating ways through these, is critical for sustained solidarity building required for large scale collective cultural and societal change.


Lewis Williams (Author)
University of Saskatchewan

Interested in solidarity building between Indigenous and settler-migrant peoples for sustainable development as a decolonizing practice? Here are some of the learnings emerging out of the International Resilience Network. This is humbly offered as a 'work in progress'.

Read Publication


The following have contributed to this page: Lewis Williams