Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit
Author Lynn Gehl, Algonquin Anishinaabe-Kwe

“Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit
published with the University of Regina Press is rooted in my
need to understand Indigenous knowledge (IK) in an
intellectual sense as well as in a heartfull way. Foremost it
offers my journey deeper into IK and the articulation of the
location of the human spirit.
The book is organized in four parts with several chapters in
each. Some chapters are long and some short. Throughout
there are glyph drawings that will serve the thinking and
learning journey. In the first part I talk about myself. I do
this because in the Anishinaabe tradition it is valued that
knowledge is subjective and personal. In short, we, or
ourselves, are the frameworks of what we come to know as
The second part requires conceptual thinking and in this way
reading Claiming Anishinaabe is more of a journey rather
than the reader being a passive vessel adding to their stock of
knowledge. It offers three theories: the location of the
human spirit; how IK differs from Western laboratory science;
and the debwewin journey methodology of coming to truth. In offering my thoughts I rely on ancient Anishinaabe scroll knowledge. I also talk about the difference between Indigenist and feminist
paradigms where again conceptual thought on the part of the reader is required.
The third part offers what I call traditional stories in that they are rooted in Anishinaabe beliefs. Some are my reflections on stories that I have been fortunate to learn, hear, and read. Some are my own
stories written after spiritual animating experiences, where others are my deep thoughts on something that I pondered for a long time. Collectively they represent the knowledge I moved into when seeking
out IK and thinking about the location of the human spirit. The chapters in this part are important but the reader will only understand this once they take the time and ponder the concepts in the first half of
the book.
The fourth part offers my anti-colonial work rooted in the IK and the Indigenist tradition. I discuss the destruction of Chaudière Falls and the Islands where Creator placed the First Sacred Pipe, my work
challenging the sex discrimination in the Indian Act, and Indigenous citizenship issues.
It is hoped that this work inspires people to appreciate their IK as it is our ancient knowledge traditions that make us the humans Creator intended us to be. We are all Indigenous to the Earth and we all
need to ask ourselves, ‘What is my Indigenous knowledge?’ because nation state knowledge will not sustain us in terms of Mother Earth and the gifts She provides.”
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