Yoruba Indigenous Knowledges in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power and the Politics of Indigenous Spirituality

By Temitope Adefarakan, Elizabeth | Journal of Pan African Studies, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Yoruba Indigenous Knowledges in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power and the Politics of Indigenous Spirituality


Temitope Adefarakan, Elizabeth, Journal of Pan African Studies


This study investigates how Yoruba migrants make meaning of Yoruba Indigenous knowledges in the African Diaspora, specifically within the geopolitical space of dominant Canadian culture. This research is informed by the lived experiences of 16 Africans of Yoruba descent now living in Toronto, Canada, and explores how these first and second generation migrants construct the spiritual and linguistic dimensions of Yoruba Indigenous identities in their everyday lives. While Canada is often imagined as a sanctuary for progressive politics, it nonetheless is also a hegemonic space where inequities continue to shape the social engagements of everyday life. Hence, this dissertation situates the historical and contemporary realities of colonialism and imperialism, by beginning with the premise that people in diasporic Yoruba communities are continuously affected by the complicated interplay of various forms of oppression such as racism, and inequities based on language, gender and religion. This study is situated within a socio-historical and cosmological context to effectively examine colonialism's impact on Yoruba Indigenous knowledges. Yet, inversely, this study also involves discussion of how these knowledges are utilized as decolonizing tools of navigation, subversion and resistance. The central focus of this research is the articulation of colonial oppression and how it has reconfigured Yoruba Indigenous identities even within a purportedly 'multicultural' space. …

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