How it is: The Native American Philosophy of V.F. Cordova

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University of Arizona Press, 2007 - Social Science - 245 pages
Viola Cordova was the first Native American woman to receive a PhD in philosophy. Even as she became an expert on canonical works of traditional Western philosophy, she devoted herself to defining a Native American philosophy. Although she passed away before she could complete her life’s work, some of her colleagues have organized her pioneering contributions into this provocative book.

In three parts, Cordova sets out a complete Native American philosophy. First she explains her own understanding of the nature of reality itself—the origins of the world, the relation of matter and spirit, the nature of time, and the roles of culture and language in understanding all of these. She then turns to our role as residents of the Earth, arguing that we become human as we deepen our relation to our people and to our places, and as we understand the responsibilities that grow from those relationships. In the final section, she calls for a new reverence in a world where there is no distinction between the sacred and the mundane.

Cordova clearly contrasts Native American beliefs with the traditions of the Enlightenment and Christianized Europeans (what she calls “Euroman” philosophy). By doing so, she leads her readers into a deeper understanding of both traditions and encourages us to question any view that claims a singular truth. From these essays—which are lucid, insightful, frequently funny, and occasionally angry—we receive a powerful new vision of how we can live with respect, reciprocity, and joy.
 

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Contents

Why Native American Philosophy?
1
The Bridge over Romero Creek
11
Taos Bridge
19
The Bridge to America
30
America
40
WINDOWS
47
Windows on Native American Philosophy
54
A Context for Thought
61
A Poem
127
An Exploration of Identity
133
What Is It to Be Human in a Native American Worldview?
145
This I Believe
151
Becoming Human
166
A Story
177
What Is the Role of a Human Being?
183
The Human Factor
201

A Search for Fundamental Concepts
67
Language as Window
76
WHAT IS THE WORLD?
83
What Is the World?
100
The Unidentifiable Is
107
Mother Earth
113
Time and the Universe
117
A New Reverence
208
Preparing for the Seventh Generation
215
Native Americans in the New Millennium
221
The Dream
228
Works Cited
241
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Kurt Peters is Director of the Native American Collaborative Institute and Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at Oregon State University. Ted Jojola is Regents Professor at the University of New Mexico in the Community and Regional Planning Amber Lacy is a graduate student at Oregon State University.

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