The settler-colonial exclusions of yoga: Tria Blu Wakpa, ‘Decolonizing Yoga? and (Un)settling Social Justice’, Journal Race and Yoga, 3, 1, 2019


Excerpt: What are our responsibilities not only to the Indigenous peoples whose lands we occupy, but also to the Indigenous peoples and people of color whose practices we benefit from? This special cluster of Race and Yoga recognizes the need to (re)center Indigenous lands, practices, and peoples locally and globally in discussions of decolonization and yoga. Settler colonial and/or dominant yoga discourses exclude peoples who are Indigenous to the partition of Turtle Island often referred to as the U.S. as well as the Indigenous South Asian, South Asian, South Asian American, and/or South Asian diasporic peoples from whose ancestors and lands yoga broadly originated. Whereas Native American/Indigenous, South Asian, and South Asian American studies have frequently overlooked embodied practices and the ways that movement means, academic fields that center the body, embodiment, and performance studies have often omitted Indigenous peoples and their contributions. With the primary exception of Native American/Indigenous studies, fields often do not account for settler colonialism or Indigenous futurities. In the U.S., discourses around “decolonizing yoga” frequently focus on globalization and likewise do not acknowledge settler colonialism or Native American sovereignties. That is, these discourses often do not recognize the over 900 federally recognized and unrecognized tribes within the settler state boundaries are actually nations and/or that yoga is practiced on Indigenous lands that are not acknowledged as such.

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