Anthropocentrism's Antidote: Reclaiming Our Indigenous Orientation to Non-human Teachers


  • Four Arrows Four Arrows Fielding Graduate University
  • Jessica London Jacobs
  • Sage Ryan



Indigenous World View, Indigenous Education, Anthropocentrism, Student-Centered Learning, Diversity, Animal Studies, Plants, Critical Pedagogy, Indigenous Cultures




This semi-dialogic essay argues that the traditional wisdom of Indigenous Peoples must supplant the reification of human centeredness currently existing in Western education; if we are to restore social and ecological balance in the world. Our father-daughter-grandson reflections may help to illuminate the epistemology of our assertions and research conclusions. Such authorship represents the multi-generational approach to teaching and learning typical in traditional Indigenous cultures. We begin by attempting to explain how and why dominant rhetoric regarding diversity is delusional and dangerous. We then offer specific ideas for how Western schooling can move toward a more authentic understanding that is the basis for indigenous education; one that embraces a non-hierarchical philosophy about sharing, connecting to and learning from the non-human ecology that surrounds us.


Author Biography

Four Arrows Four Arrows, Fielding Graduate University

Former Dean of Education at Oglala Lakota College and tenured professor at Northern Arizona University, Four Arrows currently is faculty at Fielding Graduate University. He is the author of 17 books, including Unlearning the Language of Conquest (University of Texas Press), The Authentic Dissertation (Routeledge) and Critical Neurophilosophy and Indigenous Wisdom (Sense). Four Arrows is of Cherokee/Creek and Scots/Irish ancestry, and Sun Dances with the Oglala.