Ways of Being in the World
An Introduction to Indigenous Philosophies of Turtle Island
  • Publication Date: September 14, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781554815715 / 1554815711
  • 234 pages; 6" x 9"

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Ways of Being in the World

An Introduction to Indigenous Philosophies of Turtle Island

  • Publication Date: September 14, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781554815715 / 1554815711
  • 234 pages; 6" x 9"

Ways of Being in the World is an anthology of the Indigenous philosophical thought of communities across Turtle Island, offering readings on a variety of topics spanning many times and geographic locations. It was created especially to meet the needs of instructors who want to add Indigenous philosophy to their courses but are unsure where to begin—as well as for students, Indigenous or otherwise, who wish to broaden their horizons with materials not found in the typical philosophy course. This collection is an invitation to embark on a relationship with Indigenous peoples through the introduction of their unique philosophies.


Ways of Being in the World meets an essential need for first-hand sources on Indigenous philosophies of Turtle Island. This anthology wonderfully balances historical and contemporary material that is highly relevant to the present moment. One of my favorite features is the section on how to use the text, which contains very useful tips for teaching and learning. I am usgasdanelv (excited) for the world to get to read it!” — Brian Burkhart (ᏣᎳᎩ Cherokee), University of Oklahoma

“Readers interested in getting a glimpse of the marvelous breadth and depth of Indigenous philosophies need look no further. Andrea Sullivan-Clarke brings together a well-considered collection of classic and contemporary essays of the highest scholarly quality. Ways of Being in the World is a joy to explore.” — Andrew Frederick Smith, Drexel University

“A welcome addition to the field. This book provides a range of Native voices and perspectives to consider in a time when we sorely need them. Both scholars and the general public should appreciate this volume.” — Eric P. Anderson (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Haskell Indian Nations University

Ways of Being in the World provides an array of introductory readings on the Indigenous philosophies of North and Central America. Generously, editor Andrea Sullivan-Clarke offers a set of moral-pedagogical guidelines for professors to follow to ensure that they respectfully engage with the worldviews of colonized peoples. This book is thoroughly diverse and substantial enough for an introductory course in non-Western philosophy. It could also be used alongside canonical texts as a means of decolonizing and resisting implicit biases towards Western philosophy in the academy.” — Shay Welch, Spelman College




  • Beginning the Right Way
  • What’s in a Name?
  • How to Use This Book
  • Cokv Kerretv Heret Os

Part I: The Indigenous Philosophies of Turtle Island

  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Vine Deloria Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux) and Daniel R. Wildcat (Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma) Power and Place: Indian Education in America, Chapter 3, “Power and Place Equal Personality”
  • 1.2 Donald L. Fixico (Shawnee, Sac and Fox, Muscogee, Seminole) The American Indian Mind in a Linear World, Chapter 3, “American Indian Circular Philosophy”
  • 1.3 Alejandro Santana (Mexican American) “Did the Aztecs Do Philosophy?”

Part II: Philosophy of Religion

  • Introduction
  • 2.1 Assorted Responses to Christianity: Speeches and Letters
    • 2.1 a 1567 Letter of Francisco de Montejo Xiu
    • 2.1 b SHAKÓYE:WA:THAˀ, Red Jacket (Seneca) 1805 Speech on Religion
    • 2.1 c Ma-chú-nu-zhe, Standing Bear (Ponca) 1879 Landmark Civil Rights Case Testimony.
  • 2.2 Vine Deloria Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux) God Is Red, Chapter 5, “The Problem of Creation”
  • 2.3 Winona LaDuke (Ojibwe) “In the Time of the Sacred Places” (excerpt)

Part III: Metaphysics

  • Introduction
  • 3.1 Viola Cordova (Jicarilla Apache) How It Is, “Coda: Living in a Sacred Universe”
  • 3.2 Robin Wall Kimmerer (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) Braiding Sweetgrass, “Skywoman Falling”
  • 3.3 Hilary N. Weaver (Lakota) “Indigenous Identity: What Is It, and Who Really Has It?”
  • 3.4 Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg) As We Have Always Done, “Endlessly Creating Our Indigenous Selves”
  • 3.5 Kurtis Boyer (Métis) “Where Does Agency Come From? Exploring Indigenous Models of Mind”

Part IV: Epistemology

  • Introduction
  • 4.1 Kyle Powys Whyte (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) “On the Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge as a Collaborative Concept: A Philosophical Study”
  • 4.2 Joel Alvarez (Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian) “Native American Epistemology through Dreams”
  • 4.3 Paul Simard Smith (Métis) “The Epistemology of Deep Disagreement and Indigenous Oral Histories”

Part V: Ethics

  • Introduction
  • 5.1 Joseph Len Miller (Muscogee) “What Do We Need to Know to Live in Harmony with Our Surroundings?”
  • 5.2 Jo-Ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem (Stó:lō/Soowahlie First Nation) “Indigenous Storytelling”
  • 5.3 Peter Irniq, Piita Taqtu Irniq (Inuit) “Healthy Community”


Permissions Acknowledgements

About the Editor

About the Artist

Andrea Sullivan-Clarke (Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and President’s Indigenous Peoples Scholar at the University of Windsor.

  • Broad yet Concise: Nineteen carefully-selected readings are provided, four of which are original to this anthology. These readings cover a range of topics in religion, epistemology, metaphysics and ethics.
  • Indigenous Authorship: The editor of this book, and all of the included authors, are Indigenous, representing a diverse variety of communities and cultures.
  • Original Artwork: The art used on the cover and interior is original to this book, created by Portia “Po” Chapman (Anishinaabe – Haudenosaunee).
  • Guidance for Readers: The editor provides a general introduction to each topic, as well as biographical information on the authors, lists of key terms, questions for critical reflection, and recommendations for further research (including artwork, books, articles, poems, and films).
  • Guidance for Instructors: Though the book’s readings and ideas are presented on their own terms and not translated to fit Western concepts, the book is structured so as to make evident the connections and distinctions between Western and Indigenous thought. The editor also provides guidance on how to engage respectfully with Indigenous ideas.

A free companion website provides additional resources, including films, artworks, and links to further readings that engage with the book’s subject matter.

Read a sample selection of Part II: Philosophy of Religion from Ways of Being in the World. (Opens as a PDF.)