The title words of these two books express the subjects as no others can.
“Africentricity” refers to daily lives centred on traditional black culture — a mixture of what has been inherited from Africentricity and what has been adapted from people of European descent. For example, Christianity in any of its forms has been adapted by groups of black people in many ways, all aimed to express worship according to how they believe it should be carried out. “Aboriginal Knowledge”, on the other hand, covers the whole vast field of knowledge as handed down over the generations both formally and informally. Now much of it is in danger of being lost.
Aboriginal Knowledge for Economic Development, edited by David Newhouse, Jeff Orr and the Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program (Fernwood) is the fairly small book that speaks to this large subject. Its subject — or group of related subjects — makes of it a book that everyone might profit by reading. The first part consists of two studies of successful immersion projects, one in Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia and the other in Maliseet in New Brun-swick. These projects aim to turn the tide of losing one’s ancestral language by having young children experience it in song, reading, story-telling and, most importantly, outside the classroom.
As a result, the children's attitudes became more positive in every situation and they learned to use English as quickly and well as Mi'kmaq or Maliseet. This book's findings can be transferred to any other minority language, such as Gaelic or Acadian French. It’s highly recommended.
Theorizing Africentricity in Action, subtitled Who We Are Is What We See (edited by Delvina E. Bernard and Susan M. Brigham, Fernwood) is six essays by nine African-Nova Scotian scholars on various aspects of Africentricity and being black in a white world. The book repays careful reading by white people as well as black. After all, the latter have been demanding full equality for many years now.
Theorizing Africentricity makes clearer what this would amount to in practice. It is a way of life with the goal to recover African freedom and creativity. It is thus similar to what we find in Aboriginal Knowledge.
Some titles are African Spirituality and Black Vibes and Africentric Schools.
Elizabeth Cran is a freelance writer. To comment or to send her books to review, write her at her new address: 95 Orange St., Apt. 101, Saint John N.B., E2L 1M5, or call her at 506-693-5498.