Indigenous testimony is admitted but non-receivable (as far as settlers are concerned): Norah Bowman, ‘Here/There/Everywhere: Quantum Models for Decolonizing Canadian State Onto-Epistemology’, Foundations of Science, 2019

16Jun19

Abstract: In settler-colonial Canada, the state does not receive Indigenous testimony as credible evidence. While the state often accepts Indigenous testimony in formal hearings, the state fundamentally rejects Indigenous evidence as a description of the world as it is, as an onto-epistemology. In other words, the Indigenous worldview formation, while it functions as a knowledge system that knows and predicts life, is not admitted to regulatory discussions about effects of resource extraction projects on life. Particularly in such resource-extraction review hearings, partly for obvious reasons of ecological ethics, there is no space for Indigenous relational-ontology. I theorize that beyond racism, white supremacy, and greed, settler-colonial onto-epistemological structures are structured to systematically eliminate the potential for relational-ontologies. This exclusion is complementary to resource-extractivist and legal positivist procedures and is biased against Indigenous knowledge and knowledge-sharing procedures; it is a crisis of state integrity and is philosophically unsound. In my analysis of Canadian National Energy Board documents, I ferret out some of these structures that de facto discredit Indigenous onto-epistemologies; I propose this fundamental problem of the Canadian settler-colonial state must be recognized and changed if the calls of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation commission are to be met.



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