Archaeology for the Seventh Generation

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2006


University of Nebraska Press


Angela Cavender Wilson's 2004 essay "Reclaiming Our Humanity: Decolonization and the Recovery of Indigenous Knowledge" provides a useful starting point for considering the role of decolonization in both the academy and in our everyday lives.1 Wilson, as an Indigenous scholar, muses, "For what had I been continually seeking an education if not to transform the world around me and create a place where justice for Indigenous people is more than an illusion?"2 For Wilson, the writings of Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire concerning respectively decolonization and praxis provided, as she says, "the language to articulate [her] own struggle."3 Decolonization as Wilson applies it refers to the process of reversing the colonial structures inherent in both the institutions of colonialism and in the minds of the colonized. In relation to the decolonization of Indigenous peoples, Wilson stresses that Indigenous communities must return to their traditions, reassert these traditional cultural and social values and worldviews into their everyday lives, and begin to rebuild their communities accordingly. But it is through praxis, theoretically informed action, that people are able to decolonize themselves and the structures around them. The concept of praxis situates the power of people, as thinking and knowing individuals, to reflect upon their lives and change them through their actions.