Professor Li is the professor that introduced me to in our introductory level course in logic, which I failed with great success and where I birthed the question that is still burning in my heart and brain "WTF does Logic have to do with Philosophy?"  Kidding.  

I asked Puqun to help me out in thinking about the idea of "indigeneity" in the context of China; it is a concept that is not a easy fit as "Indigenous" is a concept that really was born out of the North American context by virtue of the historical fact that the English (British) needed the military support of the Indigenous peoples in what is now known as Canada.  I think from there it became a legal concept; but what about the "nature" of the concept of "indigenous" and "thoughts"  Is that not a question that differs from the historical, legal or mulit-disciplinary approach of academics?

Li says: What counts as "indigenous thoughts" in China's context may be different from the North America's context. Confucianism is an indigenous thought, Taoism (both as a philosophy and as a religion) is also an indigenous thought, so are many other schools of thought (Chinese Legalism, for example). Buddhism was not indigenous; nor needless to say was Marxism. But Zen Buddhism (Chan Buddhism) is seen as a Sinicized Buddhism. There isn't a particular group of people in China that is called "indigenous" as in contrast with "new comers from outside" China. China has long been a mixed bag in terms of its people (though Han people as a race has been dominating since ancient time) and in terms of philosophy (thought Confucianism has been the dominant thread). In China's context, right now we have 56 ethnic groups, and most of the small groups may have been heavily influenced by the Han people's culture (Confucianism) and somewhat influenced by Buddhism, and except Tibet and Inner Mongolia where they have Tibetan Buddhism as their philosophy, other small groups may have rich mythology sources and traditions, but I don't know if they have systematic philosophies. They may have, but I have read anything about them. Or due to Han people's dominance, their philosophies may have been naturally (actually politically--cf. Foucault) marginalized. So if we are looking for "indigenous thoughts" in China, we are looking for one thing---all schools of thoughts (Confucianism, Taoist, Legalism, etc.----you can find a history of Chinese philosophy book); but if we are looking for folk religions (both among Han people or among other ethnic groups in China) or for mythology, then we are looking for another thing. (Puqun Li, Personal e-mail from January 23, 2017).

So Puqun differentiates between an anthropological conceptualization of "Indigenous people" and I am influenced very much by ethnography as a former student of anthropology, but THOUGHT itself can be thought of as indigenous.  The idea that "thought" can be categorized as "indigenous" is fascinating, I never thought about it before; I have always connected indigenous to land.  Yet, "ideas" and "thoughts" are created geographically from one place (i.e. the four religions of India - Hinduism, Sikh, Jainism and Buddhism).  

So in my undergraduate philosophy student "hat" I am thinking that the idea of "indigenous" itself in China's context invites a deeper consideration to what I would call a North American conceptual category of Aboriginal Canadians and Native Americans as thought as developed on the global scale by the UN and ideas included within the UN's Declaration on Indigenous Peoples.  I think in my case, the fact that I belong to a band of Algonquins whose people who occupied a certain amount of territory in what is now southwestern Quebec, southeastern Ontario and New York State before contactt is a view that we from North America is replicated the world over.  The Hebrew peoples, those who developed membership in the Hindi faith for examples were groups of mixed ethnicity who shared the same land, connected socially and economically and through time a commonly held cultural entity evolved.  So what is "indigenous" if we want to talk about it on a global scale.  

"Thoughts" AS a word I used earned me some commentary by philosopher John Schellenberg, so your Puqun's comments in context with Schellenberg are awesome foundational considerations of what I originally understood as "Indigenous Thoughts".  I guess that if I am promoting a global dialogue between groups of indigenous philosophers and western or eastern philosophy; a conversation between cultures, then we ought to start by establishing a common and global understanding of "indigenous" and "thoughts"; mean in a common language to have a common conversation. 

Another challenge to my own thinking I am beginning to try and form a question and some thoughts around the discussion of "indigenous" and "indigenous thoughts" in the Chinese context, I am wondering if long-established ethnic groups can be identified as Indigenous by virtue of long attachment to a piece of territory, not from day one of universal existence, but in terms of the contemporary context?  The idea that we can attach the ideas of being the "first" peoples on a given piece of land, as the basis in defining indigenous to me is somewhat problematic as even in North America we have many groups that no longer exist; other than the archeological record.  So the thinking, reflection and absorption in my quest continues.  


When reflecting on the issue of Asian and Indigenous peoples two main areas come to mind; (1) Asian indigenous peoples and (2) Asian peoples relation to indigenous peoples all over the world.   My experience is the relationships as they are expressed in Canada probably since the 1980s.

Coast Salish and peoples from Oceania.  There are stories from the west coast of British Columbia that tell stories about peoples arriving on the shores from Oceania, places like the Polynesian Islands on their canoes.  Thor Heyerdahl is known for the idea that proved that long voyages in boats like the Kon Tiki could happen, so this can be seen a basis for an Asian or Oceanic presence in the west coast people in Canada (Coast Salish, Kwakuitl, Nuu-chah-nutlh, Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Tshimshain and Haidas).

Chinese Labour and Building the Railways - both in the United States and Canada, Chinese labourers were misused in the construction of the railroads.  I have heard the stories in places like BC's Interior Salish area that many Chinese labourers married into local indigenous communities and contributed to the cultural development of those communities as well.  

Global Indigenous Issues as shown in the attached You Tubes begin to tell this North American about the great diversity of Asian indigeneity.

This page will connect to both Asian Indigenous Thought as well as mainstream Asian philosophy and in particular how North American Indian world views are in conversation with non--western philosophy.  

Puqun Li, Ph.D. I view philosophy as a personal struggle in becoming a decent human being, rather than as a list of free-floating theories. My teaching slogan is: "If you can not give an example of what you are talking about, you don't actually know what you are talking about." My areas of specialization and interests are Wittgenstein, Asian Philosophy, and Comparative Philosophy. My publications include A Guide to Asian Philosophy Classics, 2012 Broadview, Canada, and Wittgenstein on Non-significant Propositions, 2010, VDM Verlag, Germany. I enjoy watching figure skating and hockey, and I enjoy reading Alice Munro's short stories. (I also teach an East and West Comparative Philosophy online course for Athabasca University).

EducationB.A. (Zhengzhou), M.A. (Renmin), M.A. (Car.), Ph.D. (Ott.)

Psychological Study on How Eastern and Western cultures influence thinking


People living in China are known as Chinese, and those in Taiwan are known as Taiwanese. Ethnically, Chinese and Taiwanese are considered to be the same. Though Chinese and Taiwanese have many similarities in their culture, language, politics and lifestyle, they differ in many ways. Since 1949, Chinese and Taiwanese are in conflict with each other.

China is known as the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan is known as the Republic of China. When talking about the demography, Taiwan is smaller compared to China.


The Concept of Indigenous in the Chinese Mainland Context


An Excellent Background in the Diversity of Asian Indigenous peoples and what they are facing. 





​Where the Rivers Meet (WTRM) Website