published on April 27, 2016
On Becoming Human in Lingít Aaní
Encountering Levinas through Indigenous Inspirations
Calls for taking up wisdom in its place risk re-inscribing coloniality at the level of signification if attempts to resituate intelligibility in the specificity of place are not enacted through a careful translation of experience between victims and perpetrators of colonial violence. At some level, decolonization ought to be conceived as a kind of translation. Emmanuel Levinas’ project to “translate” Judaism into Greek is one way of staging such decolonial translation by providing us an internal critique of coloniality while remaining receptive to indigenous inspirations that enrich eco-phenomenological ways of encountering place. In the final instance, however, this paper calls for encountering place through the indigenous languages that make place ethically legible.