ANALYSIS AND REFLECTION OF DECOLONIZATION DISCOURSES IN ADVANCED INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES TEXTBOOKS-CULTURAL TOPICS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Taiwan, indigenous languages and cultures were marginalized in the education system for a long time while also being neglected in the curriculum and textbooks. Recently, to promote the teaching of indigenous languages, the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Ministry of Education commissioned the Center for Aboriginal Studies at National Chengchi University to publish the Advanced Indigenous Languages Textbooks—Cultural Topics. This set of textbooks includes a large amount of discourses on indigenous language, culture, and history. Incorporating the settler colonialism theory by Veracini (2007, 2010), this study examines whether the contents of these textbooks reveal reflections on the various settler colonization tactics utilized by mainstream society to control indigenous peoples in the past, and also depict the praxis of decolonization. Moreover, it also examines the dialectical connection between decolonization theory and praxis. Finally, this study provides reflections on the ways to overcome the obstacles of achieving decolonization praxis. Design/methodology/approach There are currently 16 officially recognized indigenous cultures in Taiwan with their own language. Of these 16 languages, some even have sublanguages, which make up a total of 42 languages. In this study, the settler colonialism theory was referenced to conduct a content analysis (Krippendorff, 2018) of the Advanced Indigenous Languages Textbooks—Cultural Topics and to interpret the textbook analysis results. To better understand the themes that indigenous peoples focus on and to investigate the frequencies of these themes in textbooks, a word cloud analysis was also conducted, and its results were compared with the results of the content analysis. Findings/results The contents of the Advanced Indigenous Languages Textbooks—Cultural Topics reveal reflections on the various settler colonization tactics used by mainstream society to control indigenous peoples in the past, which were mainly accomplished via 5 settler colonization transfer methods: transfer by assimilation, transfer by name confiscation, ethnic transfer, transfer by performance, and transfer by coerced lifestyle change. Awareness of these transfer methods sets the foundation for decolonization praxis for indigenous peoples. Furthermore, these textbooks depict the praxis of decolonization, which includes nine relevant topics: the preservation and revitalization of indigenous languages, the restoration and development of indigenous cultures, the identification of indigenous groups and restoration of indigenous surnames, the return of indigenous territory, the affirmation of political participation rights, the establishment of indigenous media, the awakening of indigenous autonomy consciousness, the designing of indigenous autonomous governments, and the establishment of holidays for indigenous seasonal rites and festivals. In these textbooks, there is a preliminary dialectical connection between the “reflections on the various settler colonization tactics used by the mainstream society to control indigenous peoples in the past” and the “praxis of decolonization.” However, the dialectics between the two are not comprehensive enough and there are still conflicts or contradictions between them. This results in obstacles to implementing the praxis of decolonization. Regarding the obstacles of implementing decolonization, this study proposes a viewpoint of the diversity of indigenous knowledge. Through the interaction of these indigenous knowledge systems with those of other communities, the former functions to generate new and innovative knowledge. This viewpoint can inspire indigenous peoples to build up their own indigenous-centered knowledge systems with confidence and can also serve as a basis for overcoming obstacles to implementing decolonization praxis. Originality/value This study reveals that the settler colonialism framework by Veracini (2007, 2010) provides an appropriate theoretical basis for analyzing indigenous decolonization discourse in indigenous language textbooks. Moreover, these textbooks are not only a teaching tool for indigenous language revitalization, but also a voice for indigenous peoples, revealing reflections on the methods whereby mainstream society has colonized the indigenous peoples in the past and presenting the praxis of decolonization. Furthermore, the preliminary dialectical connection between the theory and praxis of decolonization is also analyzed in these textbooks. Finally, these textbooks are helpful in the awareness and practice of decolonization for indigenous peoples.

Translated title of the contribution《原住民族語高級教材-文化篇》 去殖民論述之分析與省思
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-90
Number of pages46
Journal當代教育研究季刊
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Taiwan indigenous peoples
  • decolonization
  • indigenous languages textbooks
  • settler colonialism theory

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'ANALYSIS AND REFLECTION OF DECOLONIZATION DISCOURSES IN ADVANCED INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES TEXTBOOKS-CULTURAL TOPICS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this