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Ñuu Savi Sini Ñu'un Tiatyi: a renewal of Mixteco epistemology of Mother Earth
Rhi, Iliana Yunuen
This thesis shows how the Mixteco epistemology of Mother Nature (Ñuu Savi Sini Ñu'un Tiatyi) is continued and renewed in the Mixteco (Ñuu Savi) community of San Diego, particularly through the teachings of Don Erasto Camacena, a Mixteco elder. Due to the way Indigenous knowledge has been undermined by the colonial relations established in the American continents, it has been a challenge to Indigenous scholars to legitimate Indigenous philosophies in the academy, which is based on the Western tradition of thought of the colonizers. As a result, my work seeks to decolonize my academic approach to the studies of Indigenous migrant communities through the adaptation of an Indigenous Paradigm in my writing. Two important questions will be addressed in this thesis. First of all, how does the Ñuu Savi Sini Ñu'un Tiatyi create knowledge about the self and the world? And secondly, how do I respond to a fragmented system of Western knowledge in a United States research setting through the Ñuu Savi Sini Ñu'un Tiatyi? Subsequent questions that emerge are: How can the use of an Indigenous paradigm serve collaborators who work with Indigenous communities to account for the orally transmitted knowledge of their elders in a research project? How can I use interpretive methodologies to create a space for the practice and results of my collaboration with Don Erasto? I will use an auto-ethnographic approach coupled with Indigenous storywork in order to reveal how the Ñuu Savi Sini Ñu'un Tiatyi operates within myself and how it has in this way encountered Western knowledge. In chapter one I will discuss culture loss and how it connects to my personal challenge of finding an adequate means to responsibly account for the teachings of elders. Chapter two will elaborate on the way Indigenous knowledge has been undermined by Western knowledge and how the Indigenous paradigm has emerged as a means to reincorporate these epistemologies into current academic work on Indigenous peoples. Chapter three will focus on how interpretive methodologies championed by third and fourth world scholars are useful in framing my personal narrative. In Chapter four I will discuss the role of the border in understanding the limitations imposed on Indigenous epistemologies. Chapter five will narrate my experience with the Ñuu Savi community in San Diego and my progressive change in consciousness away from a fragmented way of knowing. Chapter six will conclude this thesis.
Latin American Studies
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2011
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