The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of Ayaangwaamizin is to provide a forum for dialogue on Indigenous thought.


Ayaangwaamizin is a refereed academic journal devoted to the examination of Indigenous thought. Its existence is a recognition of the growing number of Indigenous scholars who are engaged in critically examining the ideas and concepts in their own cultural traditions as well as in others. The title chosen for the Journal, Ayaangwaamizin, is drawn from the Anishnabe language. Translated literally, it is usually read as "to go carefully," "to tread carefully." But beyond this superficial meaning is the idea that the actions of persons have consequences for a larger whole. The term is used in a context that assumes the meaningfulness of existence and action; ówe do not live in a "neutral" universe that exists beyond and outside ourselves. We are a part of the fabric of the universe.

Why are we doing this?

The application of philosophical research methodologies to the area of Indigenous thought is a fairly recent endeavour. Previous attempts to "interpret" or explain Indigenous thought were burdened with assumptions that prevented such application. Indigenous thought was, and in many circles still is, seen as lacking philosophical foundations. Today there are Indigenous scholars equipped with the tools to perform their own examinations and analyses, not only of their own thought but of the thought of others. There are few outlets for the work of such scholars. Attempts to clarify Indigenous ideas and practices by Indigenous thinkers face charges of "subjectivism": the claim that to truly understand one must have an "outsider's" perspective. These attempts are charged with lacking the outsider's perspective that would allow for full understanding. For Indigenous scholars this Journal breaks the "Catch 22" that often leads to excluding them from participating in the dialogue representing themselves and their cultures.

The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy

Volume 1, Number 1
Spring 1997


Statement of Purpose
Editorial: The Euro-American Philosophical Tradition and its Ability to Examine Indigenous Philosophy
Thurman Lee Hester Jr. and Dennis McPherson
Some Thoughts on Articulating a Native Philosophy
Dennis McPherson and J. Douglas Rabb
Decolonizing the Mind: White Words/Cherokee Thoughts
Jace Weaver
EcoIndian: A Response to J. Baird Callicott
V. F. Cordova
"Ungrateful Indian": Continuity of Native Values
Lorraine Brundige
Native American Thought and the Origins of Pragmatism
Scott L. Pratt
Pishukchi: One Choctaw's Examination of the Differences in English and Choctaw Language Use
Thurman Lee Hester Jr.
No Killing Ground: Aboriginal Law Governing the Killing of Wildlife Among the Cree and Ojibwa of Northern Ontario
Paul Driben, Donald J. Auger, Anthony N. Doob, and Raymond P. Auger
Notes on Contributors
Subscription Information
Guidelines for Authors

Notes on Contributors

Amoo Allen Angeconeb [cover art] is an Anishnabe artist. He has traveled and exhibited extensively in Canada and the United States, and has journeyed to Europe, North Africa, and South East Asia. Amoo studied at Lakehead University and York University, and has taught Native Studies at Dalhousie. His work has been purchased by The Art Gallery of Novia Scotia, The Canada Council Art Bank, The Canadian Museum of Civilization, and The Royal Ontario Museum.

Donald J. Auger (B.A. [Laurentian]; LL.B. [Queen's]; M.A., History [Lakehead]; of the Bar of Ontario) is an Ojibwa from the Pays Plat First Nation on the north shore of Lake Superior. Mr. Auger is presently enrolled at Osgoode Hall, York University (Faculty of Law) in the Doctor of Jurisprudence program. He teaches at Lakehead University in the Indigenous Learning Program.

Raymond P. Auger is a member of the Pays Plat First Nation in the Robinson Superior treaty area. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree (Sociology) at Laurentian University at Sudbury, Ontario in 1974. He works for the Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services as a Probation and Parole Officer out of Walkerton. Much of his experience has been with members of First Nation communities. He is presently enrolled at the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto, where he is completing work on a Masters degree in Criminology. The topic of his research paper relates to violence against women in Aboriginal communities.

Lorraine Brundige is a Cree MÈtis woman from The Pas, Manitoba. She is the first graduate of Lakehead University's new Master of Arts Degree program in Native and Canadian Philosophy. Her thesis is on "Continuity of Native Values: Cree and Ojibwa." She will continue her graduate work in philosophy at the University of Oregon in the Autumn of 1997.

V. F. Cordova, Ph.D., Philosophy, University of New Mexico; Apache.

Anthony N. Doob is Professor of Criminology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. He is one of the foremost criminologists in Canada.

Paul Driben is Professor of Anthropology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He has been learning from and writing about Ojibwa and other Aboriginal peoples for more than twenty-five years.

Thurman Lee Hester Jr. is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation. He is active in the Indian community of central Oklahoma and has served as a Board Member of the OK Choctaw Tribal Alliance. Lee has taught Indigenous Philosophy and Native American Law and Policy at universities in Canada and the United States.

Dennis McPherson is an Ojibwa and a member of the Couchiching First Nation at Fort Frances, Ontario. To better understand the issues concerning First Nations communities Mr. McPherson has earned degrees in the arts (B.A.), in social work (H.B.S.W.), in philosophy (H.B.A. - Phil) and in law (LL.B. and LL.M.). Mr. McPherson is co-director of the Native Philosophy Project at Lakehead University and co-author with Dr. Douglas Rabb of Indian from the Inside: A Study in Ethno-Metaphysics. As Chair he was instrumental in the development of the Department of Indigenous Learning within Lakehead University and the Masters Program in Native Philosophy. He is currently a professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning.

Scott L. Pratt is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA. He is a non-native philosopher whose work is in American philosophy, broadly understood, and the history of philosophy. His work in Native American philosophy includes research on the influence of Native American thought on the development of American and European philosophy. He is also currently completing a project on Haudenosaunee conceptions of power and knowledge.

Dr. Douglas Rabb is professor of philosophy and co-director of the Native Philosophy Project at Lakehead University. He is co-author with Dennis McPherson of Indian from the Inside: A Study in Ethno-Metaphysics. Thunder Bay ON.: Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, 1993.

Jace Weaver is a lawyer and a Ph.D. in religion. He is currently visiting lecturer in American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of Then to the Rock Let Me Fly: Luther Bohanon and Judicial Activism (University of Oklahoma, 1993) and the editor of Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perpectives on Environmental Justice (Orbis Books, 1996). He has two books scheduled for publication this fall: That the People Might Live: Native American Literatures and Native American Community and Native American Religious Identity in a Post-Christian Age.

Subscription Information

Ayaangwaamizin: The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy will be published semi-annually. Rates are for one volume (two issues).

Subscription form

Guidelines for Authors

Manuscripts are refereed anonymously and judged on their philosophical merits. Because Ayaangwaamizin is intended for a wide range of readers, authors should explain technical philosophical terms more fully when introducing them than may be required in many other philosophy journals.

Manuscripts may be submitted as hardcopy in triplicate, by e-mail as attached files, or by disk. Disk and attached file versions should be in WordPerfect 6.1 or earlier. Disks and manuscripts are nonreturnable. The author's name, affiliation, address (including e-mail), and phone number should appear only on a separate cover page so as to ensure anonymity during the refereeing process. Include on the cover page an abstract of the article and a four or five sentence biographical statement. All material, including notes and block quotations, should be double-spaced.

Send manuscripts to either editor óDennis McPherson or Lee Hester. Addresses are on the inside front cover.

An IBM floppy disk in WordPerfect 6.1 or earlier, or an attached e-mail file in one of those formats, must be provided with the final revised version of an accepted manuscript. Disks are nonreturnable. Keep hidden codes to a minimum. For example, do not change fonts or margin settings when introducing block quotes or footnotes. Use the paragraph indent function for block quotes, the footnote function for footnotes, and the hanging indent function for entries in the Works Cited section.


Legal citations: Proper legal citation for the cases in country of origin are to be used.

Other matters of style: Consult the MLA Handbook or a copy of this journal.

Ayaangwaamizin will depart from MLA guidelines in the following ways: (1) Either italics (which the Handbook stipulates) or single quotation marks may be used when a word is mentioned (rather than used). Example of the latter convention: The word ëword' was first used and then mentioned in this sentence. (2) Where the Handbook calls for a short version of the title of a work in an internal citation (i.e., when more than one work by the same author is cited in the paper) the date of publication is to be used instead. (3) In the Works Cited section the date of publication is placed after the author's name, and when more than one work is cited by a single author, works are arranged in order of publication dateówith the most recent publication listed firstórather than alphabetically.

Copyright on material published in Ayaangwaamizin is retained by authors.

Lakehead University
Northern and Regional Studies Committee for the Native Philosophy Project
Thunder Bay

Editorial Staff
Dennis McPherson, Editor
Indigenous Learning
Lakehead University
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, ON
Lee Hester, Editor
Department of Philosophy
Oklahoma City University
2501 North Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK
Jim Cheney and Pamm Kasper, layout and copy editing
Cover Art
"Anishnabe World View," drawing by Anishnabe artist Amoo Allen Angeconeb
Advisory Board
Leslie Armour
University of Ottawa and
Dominican College of Philosophy
and Theology

Jim Cheney
University of Wisconsin, Waukesha

Clara Sue Kidwell
University of Oklahoma

Beatrice Medicine
California State University, Northridge, Emerita

Brad Morse
University of Ottawa

J. Douglas Rabb
Lakehead University

Beth J. Singer
Brooklyn College, Emerita

Georges E. Sioui
Saskatchewan Indian Federated College

Anne Waters
T-VI Community College,Albuquerque

Jace Weaver
Yale University

Robert A. Williams Jr.
University of Arizona

Copyright on material published in Ayaangwaamizin is retained by authors. Views expressed in this Journal are those of the individual authors, not necessarily those of the Editorial Staff, the Advisory Board, or the Lakehead University Northern and Regional Studies Committee.

Ayaangwaamizin: The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy (ISSN 1206-8683) is a publication of the Lakehead University Northern and Regional Studies Committee, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5E1.

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