Indigenous Existentialism and the Body

Brendan Hokowhitu


Abstract

This article begins a discussion on indigenous existentialism. The theme developed as a result of engagement at the intersection between Indigenous Studies and Cultural Studies, and the realisation that cultural concepts often canonised within Indigenous Studies departments, such as tradition and authenticity (when exclusive), detract from the conception of indigenous culture as part of the immediate material reality of indigenous lives. In turn, when indigenous culture is too often defined only in relation to an imagined authentic past, indigenous existentialism is inhibited because indigenous people lack a conscious awareness of cultural immediacy. There is nothing more immediate than the body and, thus, I began to theorise indigenous existentialism through an analyses of the indigenous body, its genealogy, and its immediacy. To help me process this theorisation I engage with current Cultural Studies debates surrounding the analyses of the body. I conclude that an indigenous existentialism will recognise that the power of the body is still unknown.

Keywords

Indigenous existentialism; body; immediacy; indigenous culture

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