Applying Deloria’s Challenge: Indigenous and Mass Society’s Conceptions of Indian Self-determination

Richard Wheelock

Abstract


In his 1979 book Metaphysics of Modern Existence, Vine Deloria Jr. posed a  significant challenge to those of us who are willing to continue the search for meaning in our lives and in the universe.  In the book’s introduction, he points out that “… the fundamental factor that keeps Indians and non-Indians from communicating is that they are speaking about two entirely different perceptions of the world.”  In this paper, the author will focus the broad challenge of intercultural communications by bringing some of the key assumptions about the “Indian Self-Determination” policy into scrutiny, as both indigenous and non-indigenous policy-makers have perceived it, given their disparate understandings of the human endeavor.  The intention is to find bridges between what some indigenous community members and outside policy-makers mean when they use the term self-determination in the hope that people of good will may find solutions to pressing problems. 


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