on the personal in decolonization

I’ve been thinking lately about the way that our personal experience impacts our understanding of decolonization. It’s necessary for me. As an academic who studies decoloniality (and tries, sometimes haltingly, to integrate it into his work), I admit that I can’t understand it without my own position as Chicano, already a messy identity consisting of Western and Indigenous backgrounds, some of which remain unidentified to this day (and why DNA tests are a colonial play at blood quantum that aren’t even helpful in identifying tribal links is another story for another day).

Part of this reading, as I write a critical essay to accompany a game I’ve been working on, has been Gabriela Raquel Rio’s piece in Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story on Nahua Rhetorics. Like my own essay, it too starts from the personal. And the two together act as a reminder that Indigenous research methodology is steeped in this. And a reminder that Western emphasis on objectivity and on stripping away connection within research acts as a gatekeeping function that keeps out non-Eurocentric knowledge.

But more than just the personal, decoloniality, and survivance, function of the logic of story. Part of my own growth in this area has been a begrudging willingness (as I try to break free of Western-centric training) is a larger reliance on story and personal experience than I might have been comfortable with before.

There’s no larger point here. But it’s an intriguing, rewarding research trail that I intend to keep following.