Indigenous decolonization

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Indigenous decolonization is a process that indigenous people whose communities were grossly affected by colonial expansion, genocide and cultural assimilation may go through by reframing with other indigenous frameworks of thought, in understanding the history of their colonization and rediscovering their ancestral traditions and cultural values while considering the future simultaneously (Tuhiwai Smith, 1999). A contemporary concept in indigenous health and healing studies, decolonization (indigenous) is that of a healing journey that may involve grief, anger, rage, growth and empowerment. It is related to post-traumatic stress syndrome and shares counseling tools that may help with movement on the journey, such as art therapy. There is also an intergenerational component as trauma may have been accumulating in indigenous families over the decades or centuries of intense struggle against assimilation or extinction.

An example of a tool for personal decolonization is the medicine wheel healing concept derived from a Pan-Indian religious symbol, used in more ancient times by nations of the North American Plains. This concept helps people whose will has been damaged by colonization to balance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of their self. By creating balance in all these areas of the self a person can find movement on the journey of decolonization and healing from intergenerational trauma. This tool links to the sacred medicine wheel circles created by the aboriginal inhabitants of Western North America.

Indigenous decolonization, however, is not merely psychological accommodation to occupation or colonialism. It may also incorporate a realization or consciousness that bondage still exists today. Although a nation-states' political independence from a European state may have played itself out on a limited "battlefield," so-to-speak, true independence from foreign occupation has not yet occurred. Prime examples of this are the settler societies of the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Here direct control by British and Iberian nations respectively have ceased, yet the Anglo and Iberian descendants' political, social, moral, economic, and even racist taxonomy still exist and dominates over the true indigenous populations. Indigenous Decolonization in real-time physical terms would also mean either an expulsion or exodus of the continuing forces that occupy the indigenous territory or a complete and total elimination of the bondage that exists.

Thus indigenous decolonization must incorporate physical, psychological, and emotional and spiritual strategies since the body, the mind and the soul are affected directly by colonialism. True decolonization can be achieved only when all of these components have been addressed or met in some way.

The 2009 Constitution of Bolivia establishes that the country is, "founded in decolonization, without discrimination or exploitation..."

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