Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Philosophy

The IU Bloomington Libraries' Philosophy collection supports research and teaching in all branches of philosophy.

Introduction

The field of philosophy is often (mis)perceived as an anglo- and eurocentric discipline, dominated by certain voices and a distinctively Western perspective. Indigenous forms of knowledge, methodologies, and worldviews, in all their diversity and complexity, however, have existed for millennia, thriving outside the academy and other institutional spaces and engaging with life, experience, and the nature of reality in unexpected and exciting ways. These tributaries of thought, flowing within and across Native communities, subvert dominant paradigms and ideals of philosophical thought and challenge us to consider other ways of knowing and understanding the world.

In this guide, and in recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, we have attempted to outline and highlight the many books, articles, and individuals that comprise and who have contributed to Indigenous philosophy and thought across time.

Further Resources & Reading
Indigenous Philosophies (Philosophy Now)
Native American Philosophy (Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy)
Newsletter on Native American and Indigenous Philosophy (American Philosophical Association)
Indigenous Research and Professional Philosophy in the U.S. (Political Philosopher Blog)

Next Steps
If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration of Indigenous communities and identity, we've created a guide with list of resources, as well as a playlist featuring Indigenous musicians, on the Media Studies Research Guide. There is also an introduction to Two-Spirit identity and the LGBTQIA Indigenous experience on the Gender Studies Research Guide.

For more information about the Indigenous communities with ongoing and traditional ties to this land, and how to support Indigenous groups and movements, take a look at our Land Acknowledgment and Local Indigenous Resources guide.

Prominent Indigenous Philosophers

A selection of Native American/First Nations philosophers, primarily from Turtle Island, along with a summary of their research areas and interests:

  • Kyle Whyte (Potawatomi Nation), Michigan State University - environmental justice, climate policy and indigenous people, indigenous perspectives on food sovereignty and the anthropocene
  • Anne Waters (Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Chickasaw heritage), State University of New York - indigenous thought, indigenous feminism, native american studies, experiences of native people in the justice system
  • Brian Y. Burkhat (Cherokee Nation), University of Oklahoma - native american philosophy, philosphy of race, latinx philosophy
  • Andrea Sullivan-Clarke (Muskogee Nation), University of Washington - philosophy of science, social dimensions of knowledge creation, indigenous identity and sovereignty, mixed race identity and knowledge production
  • Taiaiake Alfred (Mohawk (Kanien’kehá:ka)) - native nationalism, indigenous sovereignty and liberation
  • Glen Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene (T'atsaot'ine)), University of British Columbia - native/indigenous studies, political theory, indigenous self-determination, critical indigenous philosophy
  • Lee Hester (Choctaw Nation), University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma - native american epistemologies, political theory, indigenous sovereignty
  • Jeannette Armstrong (Sylix Okanagan), University of British Columbia - indigenous knowledge and philosophy, oral histories and thought traditions, indigenous rights, indigenous language preservation and fluencies
  • Shay Welch (Cherokee), Spelman College - embodied critical inquiry, native american epistemologies, feminist ethics, dance, systemic oppression, indigenous philosophy
  • David Martinez (Akimel O'odham/Hia Ced O'odham/Mexican), Arizona State University - indigenous intellectual history, o'odham culture and politics, transborder indigenous nations, indigenous art history and aesthetics
  • Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner (Luiseño (La Jolla), Cupeño), Georgetown University - indigenous philosophy, philosophy of language, feminist epistemology, philosophy of race
  • Wayne Wapeemukwa (Métis), Pennsylvania State University - Social and Political Philosophy (esp. Marxism and Critical Theory), Indigenous and Decolonial Theories, 19th - 20th century Continental Philosophy, Decolonizing Pedagogy 

Featured Interviews

Kyle Whyte on Climate Justice and Decolonizing Climate Science

Taiaiake Alfred on Indigenous Governance

Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner on Ancestors, Archives, and Intergenerational Knowledge Transmission

Wayne Wapeemukwa on Stories of Scrip

Books

Selected Scholarly Articles