SAAP 2016

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Intra-American philosophy in practice: Indigenous Voice, Felt Knowledge, and Settler Denial

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The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been mandated to collect testimonies from survivors of the Indian Residential Schools system (IRS). A Native feminist evaluation of the underlying epistemological commitments assumed by the TRC emphasizes, however, how the emotional expressions of Native women has been delegitimized and pathologized. Dian Million’s felt theory has the potential to provoke a settler audience to hear experiential, subjective, and emotionally charged testimonies in unsettling ways that disrupt a sustained ignorance of the colonial past and present. That is to say, felt knowledge can incite settlers to bear ethical witness and learn to listen differently – with a decolonizing ear – to the accounts of IRS survivors. Felt theory is a philosophy of resistance (McKenna and Pratt 2015) that promotes situated knowledge that concerns itself with concrete problem-solving. In this respect, this Native feminist intervention is an example of intra-American philosophy in practice.


Anna Cook    
University of Oregon
United States


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