"I can think of a lot of stories.": Shared knowledges, Indigenous methodology and purposeful conversations with sixteen Native women in Seattle

Bushnell, J. M. (2009). “I can think of a lot of stories.” : shared knowledges, indigenous methodology and purposeful conversations with sixteen native women in Seattle. University of Washington.

 This project engaged indigenous women in conversations about knowledge. American Indian and Alaska Native women asked me to initiate it. The women involved represented a range of situated and partial knowledges in a variety of communities. The question we considered was: What should be in a book by and about American Indian women? Conversations touched on epistemology, identities, colonialism, survivance, politics, spirituality, sovereignty, violence, oppressions, discounted knowledges and poverty.

Methods were collaborative and largely driven by the women who initiated a desire to participate and wanted an opportunity to discuss issues pertinent to their lives bringing together knowledges from both indigenous and westernized scholarship. This life history project is interdisciplinary as seen through the westernized academy and its categorization of knowledge. From the perspective of the collaborators it is indigenous research that articulates indigenous knowledges. The conversations were interactive. They built on prior conversations and direct future conversation.

The goal of this project was to elicit, articulate and record indigenous women's knowledges. Women involved with this project have given thought to scholarship from both colonizer and indigenous knowledge systems. They were lawyers, social workers, educators, journalists, and activists with legacies from indigenous knowledge systems such as the Mide' of the Anishinaabe, the Winter House of Salish peoples, or the Longhouse of the Haudenosaunee.

It is a telling of lives from a perspective that is largely unavailable within the westernized academy and has one goal of countering misinformation about American Indian women that infuses all levels of our society and educational systems. The women have directed the product of these conversations, also. They want a product that can be shared with other indigenous women that will describe their knowledges and theories. They also want a product that can be used in educational settings so that students have access to their knowledges.

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