2015 AAA Invited Session: INDIGENOUS ANTHROPOLOGY


– Hello everyone, thank you for coming to
this indigenous anthropology emergent praxis against anthropological deliriums roundtable. We want to invite you
all to come up front, this room is a tad bit larger
than what we had expected. So please do join us up in the front because we, after having
our panelists respond, want to invite everyone to
be apart of the dialogue. And at that point when we do
open up that discussion time, we ask also that you go to the microphone. This session is being videotaped, just for your awareness, so if you don’t want to be videotaped, you might not wanna go
up to that microphone. But in any case, thank you all for coming. First off, my name is Ty Kawika Tengan. I’m a associate professor in anthropology and ethnic studies at
the University of Hawaii, and co-organizer with
Bernard or Bernie Perley from the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee. First we wanna acknowledge the Cheyenne, Arapaho, O-Kiowa, and Ute Peoples in territories of Colorado. And also acknowledge the
welcome that we received by John Emhoolah Jr. a Kiowa and Arapahoe elder and leader, who honored us with a
song in prar-ent Kiowa at the opening of this conference. And in a very moving way, saying how, doing so in that language
was one that showed his ability to survive the
experience of boarding school. And to be able to share
the spirit and language that persisted despite the efforts of erasing his identity and culture, which are essential themes
for what we are dealing with. And when we’re thinking about
in indigenous anthropology emergent against the colonial deliriums that have created notions
of disappearing natives or the assumption that the
erasure of political sovereignty was something that could be accomplished. These and other stories and relationships are one’s that we hope will only grow as the triple A begins to
develop new protocols and procedures for
honoring indigenous peoples and territories and all
their future meetings. With regards to this session, just taking some of the
points from our abstract. There’s something strangely familiar in the current tension between indigenous praxis and its critics. In the second decade of the 21st century indigeneity is simultaneously celebrated it as quote “engaged practices
of self determination “against daily traumas
of colonial domination.” And also denigrated, as relying on quote, “an obsolete
anthropological notion, “and on a romantic and
false ethnographic vision.” We see in these latter comments, the lasting effect of colonial deliriums as western domination and dispossession of indigenous peoples. Participants in this roundtable
engage the implications of colonial deliriums in anthropology and the emergence of
indigenous anthropology. Our roundtable follows
up on a great dialogue initiated yesterday by graduate students. In the strange affinities of anthropology ultra natives and and
ethnographic refusal session. In it, Claudia Serrato
spoke of unlearning, relearning and shapeshifting. Indeed, shapeshifting
is the reality we live. At once, shifting our
own shapes and response to the various contexts
we engage, but also, shifting the shape of the
discipline at the same time. For our panelists today, we sent the following questions to ponder. One, what does the practice of indigeneity in the field of anthropology look like, based on your experiences? Two, what frames and language do or should we use to articulate
understandings of indigenous worlds in the context of healing
colonial deliriums? And three, how do we stage
alternative conversations that lead to a decolonial
indigenous anthropology? Each participant will
offer a brief provocation in response to these questions, followed by responses and
cross-talk between each of them. And ending with an open
dialogue with all of you. So first, I’d like to
invite up my co-organizer and the first presenter on this panel, Bernie Perley, associate
professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. (audience applause) – (Speaking in Maliseet) Okay, this is where you say, mege-de-besk-win. (light audience chatter) – [Voiceover] Up-chich – Up-chich (speaker laughing) Okay, and then you say, deng-gok-nagil, (audience chatter) and I’ll say neel-namij. Okay, so what I did was just ask you, good morning, how are you, and that’s in Maliseet. And you said, well, you
said you’re doing fine, and then you asked me how I’m doing, And I said, I am also doing fine. Well, when, one of the things that, in this particular greeting, if you translate it
literally into English, it’s, you know it is,
you know, “how are you.” But the response it,
more, “still the one,” or, “just the same.” And so this is where, you
know, the kind of translation from an indigenous language into English becomes problematic, and, something, is always lost in translation. And so, one of the
things we have to do is, when we’re engaging in these
kinds of conversations, is to recognize that
there’s always going to be some kind of slippage. And so, for me, the other
reason why I introduced with, you know, using Maliseet,
is to, give you the, I don’t want to give
you the false impression that I am a fluent speaker of Maliseet. I am a learner of Maliseet. And one of the things
that I wanted to point out is when we’re dealing with,
you know, colonial deliriums, especially in anthropology, we have to be able to recognize that, there is a lot more going on underneath, than is, you know, on the surface. Okay, so, the fact that I
used Maliseet at the beginning does not suggest I am a fluent speaker. I am relearning the language. That’s one of the critical
conditions of indigeneity that we all have to deal with. The second aspect is, well, my very first language when
I was born was Maliseet. And when I went to school, the decision was made that
I had to learn English, at the expense of Maliseet. So now that I’m adult, an adult, I have to relearn the language. And again, that is one of the
conditions of indigeneity. Now, the reason why I point this out, is, also to indicate for
this particular panel, the kind of ideas that we’re dealing with, is to also suggest that, the kind of, let’s say, reclamation, or repatriation of our indigenous cultures, our languages, our modes of being, is something
that we’re all exercising in our very different and diverse ways. And I’m really excited about
the kinds of conversations that we’re going to hear in the next hour. Now, getting back to anthropology, what does indigenous
anthropology look like? Well let me start with a story. Imagine sometime in the mid-19th century, you got these two anthropologists,
colonial anthropologists charging through woods
or forests or rainforests or any other kinds of hostile environment. And they come in to a clearing, and they come across
an indigenous village. Okay, so, the first anthropologist smiles and looks at the other and he says, “look, we’ve discovered Noble.” And the other one frowns,
and shakes his head, “no, we’ve discovered Savage.” And, in the meantime,
the indians are there, and the chief tells his community, “uh-oh, “it looks like we’ve
discovered anthropology.” (audience chuckles) Now the reason why I bring this up is to also indicate that when we
think about anthropology and our discipline, we’re
starting to recognize, and as Ty was suggesting
and quoting Adam Cooper, our indigenous, let’s
say, self-determination, from his perspective, is somehow flawed. That somehow the way we
conceive of ourselves as indigenous peoples is really based on outmoded anthropological concepts and some kind of romantic vision of a, a savage or noble savage past. And one of the questions
that I wanted to raise in the provocation is,
well, how do we begin to untangle that kind of irony? So, when Ty and I were talking about this, you know, one of the things
that we wanted to highlight was the idea of emergent praxis. Okay, I deliberately did
not use the word, practice, and because, that has its own kind of cultural
baggage in anthropology. Well praxis has its own baggage as well. And a lot of people are
going to kind of point to the kind of a Marxist
analysis, and so they say, well okay there’s a way
we can begin to understand that praxis and practice
are two different things. And that praxis somehow
alerts us to a broader sort of phenomenon that’s
inherent in a particular, a, let’s say, a anticipatory and a, a articulation of space and being in a particular imaginary. Now, one of the things I wanna highlight is while praxis for me
is also a failed attempt, and so we have to be
able to use these words in order to be able to
begin to question them. So for me, it’s every day
resistance against these kind of colonial dominations
and the kind of traumas that really alert us to the
kind of practice, or praxis that we’re engaging. And so my question then
is, is praxis an idiom that can be translatable that colonial modes of
understanding can begin to engage. Can we contaminate colonial categories? The second part of this
is a colonial deliriums. So, Cooper makes the argument that we as indigenous peoples, we’re doomed to be ventriloquists for colonial ideologies. And so, going along with that, then indigenous articulations are merely the reinvention of the primitive. And so again, Cooper is not
stepping back to understand, you know, what his particular position is. That’s another form of
colonial domination. A kind of devoicing of
indigenous experience. And so what I’d like to do
in this particular panel, is call on the panelists to
really interrogate these issues. And so, is this attempt at
articulating an emergent praxis an inversion process? And I would say that yes, it
is a inverting the categories but more importantly it’s
also a conversion process. And so what it does is,
it allows both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to be able to begin to
entertain the possibility of epistemic slippage. And through epistemic slippage, what we’re doing is, we’re
shifting our boundaries of our knowledge and
experience, in order to be able to better understand the other. Unfortunately, Adam Cooper and
like-minded anthropologists refuse that epistemic slippage. And I am delighted that
I have these colleagues that are going to really push that agenda, so that we can all begin
to understand one another. Thank you. (audience applause) – Thanks Bernie. Next up we have Mato Mamuto
Lanning, research fellow at the James Henare Research Center at the University of Auckland. (audience applause) – (speaking in Maori) I’d like to acknowledge the Paiute, the Arapaho, the Cheyenne and the Kiowa people, who, are the home people of this territory. So, I’d just like to acknowledge
that I’m here as a guest and I will be going home
after the conference. Last night at our conference group dinner, Bernie and Ty asked us to think about the concept shapeshifter, and to translate it into our own language. And, the word for
shapeshifter where I’m from in the Waikato New Zealand, and, the Waikato is
also a tribe or an iwi, we use the term, the term taniwha. So a taniwha is the type of shapeshifter that is prominent where I’m from. And taniwha are creatures that live in rivers and water bodies, and they can transform and turn into logs, they can tell you when danger is coming, they can be omens of, they can, they can tell you about
good things about to happen. So, for where I’m from in
the Waikato boonie-and-tie the word is taniwha. The other thing I need to acknowledge is my colleague, Merata, who is the fifth speaker
on the panel here, so we’re both from the James
Henare Maori Research Center at the University of Auckland. So I think I’ve thanked everybody now, the birds and the bees
the flowers the trees. Oh, and Ty and Bernie,
thank you for inviting me. So now I’m going to read
this very brief paper about the trajectory of
indigenous anthropology, so. To discuss the trajectory of an indigenous anthropology, it is vital to recognize that all indigenous knowledge is embedded in groups of people who
inhabit specific places. And that the significance
of indigenous knowledge, or mar-toh-dung-ah, as
Maori referred to it, is the relationships that local knowledge
negotiate between people. Now it’s impossible for me to talk about the realization of an
indigenous anthropology without reflecting on our
discipline’s imperialist history and its current challenges. Because anthropology is understood and practiced differently
around the globe, I will confine my
discussion to New Zealand. The origins of anthropology in New Zealand go back to when Maori and Europeans first began asking questions of eachother over 200 years ago. The dialogue between Maori
and British intellectuals continued through the
19th and 20th centuries. This homegrown anthropology was influenced by the emerging British
model of social anthropology. And it was to Britain that aspiring New Zealand anthropologists of Maori and non-Maori descent, of which Merata’s father was one of them, went to professionalize themselves. It was not until the mid-20th century that anthropology became established in New Zealand’s university system. Mostly in departments
combined with Maori studies and various combinations
of the British Social, or the Melenoscian, and the
American four field approach, or the bo, bo, bo-asian,
how do you say it? Bo, bo-eesian? – [Voiceover] (mumbling) – Boasian, approach. However, since then the world has changed, and anthropology has changed too. Though, for those of us who
belong to indigenous communities the discipline probably
hasn’t changed as much as we would’ve liked it to. In the 21st century, holistic anthropological community studies have now given way to more thematically
focused investigations. Including categories such
as identity, globalization, public policy and cosmopolitanism. Categories such as, oh,
or specializations such as medical anthropology or
environmental anthropology legal anthropology,
and legal anthropology. The discipline also
analyzes and makes space for concrete issues such as HIV Aids, emerging elderly
populations, climate change, militarization and war. In my experience of anthropology, indigenous anthropology as a
disciplinary specialization has the potential to
transform power relations for those of us who are indigenous stakeholders
in the discipline. In the face of anthropology, at home, Maori communities and scholars have asserted themselves
politically and culturally and, radically influenced New
Zealand’s academic mainstream. One glaring example in New Zealand, is that now, our most
prestigious research grants, and remember I’m a research fellow, so I don’t teach like a lot of you, I actually don’t do any teaching; it’s a luxury job. Most prestigious research grants require applicant researchers
that want to conduct research in Maori communities, or on topics that Maori have interest in, to write a vision
mah-toh-dung-uh statement. So, a vision mah-toh-dung-uh statement, is a special piece in the
application where you have to say, you know, “this is how it’s
going to effect Maori.” This statement must explain
the research project’s capacity and contribution to Maori
people and Maori knowledge. While vision mah-toh-dung-uh, while vision mah-toh-dung-uh compliance is sometimes considered to be lip-service and tokenism. It forces research applicants into a space where they must articulate
the ethical benefits of our, of the research to Maori New Zealander’s. Graham McCray, who heeds Massey’s Albany
Anthropology program, explains that in a recent
work, that in the late 1980’s and 90’s, Maori-trained anthropologists, critiqued intellectual
colonization and Maori studies and anthropology parted ways. He raises the idea for the upcoming New Zealand
anthropology conference next week that today, Maori studies
anthropology remained like former lovers
wondering what has been lost and what has been gained,
and how best to maintain or hopefully rebuild our
fawn-o, or family relationship. I think this is an
amiable way of describing the deep tensions that
exist between anthropology, anthropologists, Maori scholars and Maori communities in New Zealand. The neoliberalization that has reached every corner of the
globe and people’s lives, has flavored much of our
contemporary anthropology. Last year, before the
University of Auckland re-schooled its arts faculty, Maori studies was directed
to realign with anthropology. The Maori studies staff
response to this proposition was along the lines of, hell will free, let hell freeze over first. Some of the anthropologists,
unobtrusively, but backed with, “whoo,
that was a narrow escape, “thank goodness for that.” At my University, we have moved
from a world of departments understood in anthropological terms as semi-autonomous chiefdoms. That were ruled by chairs, to programs that have been disempowered
within multidisciplinary schools or academic units. Retired anthropologist, Harry Ellen, commented on the effects of
re-schoolin, re-schooling on anthropology and put it this way, “the heart of anthropology
has been ripped out, “yet, on the other side of the
coin, there are those critics “who think the anthropologists
have got what they deserve. “They never humbled themselves
to the emerging disciplines. “They ignored them, and remained devout “to a purely objective and
academic anthropology.” Back in 1998, Paul Selitto warned, “anthropologists need to pay attention, “or other disciplines will supplant it. “Already the agricultural economists, “and human geographers, even foresters “and plant pathologists are stealing our disciplinary clothes.” I work in one of the
University of Auckland’s independent research centers. We do not sit within a particular, particular University faculty. As a Maori environmental anthropologist at the James Henare Maori Research Center, my research is informed
and enriched by my position within two distinct cultures. Firstly, I am often a
inside, I am often an insider of the culture I am studying, and my research by its very nature, is Maori-related research. My research projects often
reflect the key principles of Kaupapa Maori research,
talked about by Linda Smith, yep. Which is dependent on my being Maori, is underpinned by Maori
philosophy and principles, takes for granted the
validity and the legitimacy of a Maori world view. And is fundamentally concerned with the struggle for
autonomy over Maori wellbeing. However, my research also draws
on anthropological methods and theory, which enables me to offer new angles of vision and
depths of understanding to existing anthropological scholarship that has often privileged
western knowledge in its examination of other cultures. As an anthropologist, I have been exposed to
many western theories which I have begun to extend
and apply in Maori context. And brief this blending
of knowledge and ideas has provided me with a more sphisticated way of thinking, of understanding Maori. And I also work with
Mapuche and Mohawk as well. So, those ones as well,
those peoples as well. Relationships to land and resources. So I wonder, might these
experiences that I have contribute to establishing and delineating an indigenous anthropology. Kia ora. (audience applause) – Thanks Maroma. Next, we have Darren Ranco, Chair of Native American Programs at the University of Maine. (audience applause) – Alright, good morning. Thank you to the organizers of this panel for including me. Thanks for all, for coming. I was, I did, I was I missed it, but thanks to the indigenous leaders who welcome us to the territory. And, that’s a really
important step forward for the anthropology conference to do. So, I’m, I’ll try to keep this, I’m gonna cut out all my jokes, I swear. (chuckling) And I will get to this in seven minutes. The overall thrust of this
panel is one not just focused on the possibility of an
indigenous-oriented anthropology, but one in which we try to
use anthropology for healing. Or as my favorite Maliseet anthropologist, Bernie Perley, writes,
“to engage practices “of self-determination against “daily traumas of colonial domination.” I, like many of my colleagues here today, see anthropology, like
the concept of culture, to be a somewhat flexible
and competed for domain of interests and networks. Thus, our ability to indigenize it, whether through praxis epistemology or some other means, you know, completely under erasure. Require a keen understanding in disruption of power relationships. As part of this discussion, as the roundtable description points out, an element that hangs over our heads is the perception that we as
indigenous anthropologists are somewhat involved
with our communities, families and indigenous activists, in the misrepresentation
of indigenous cultures through strategic essentialisms. People have mentioned
the critiques by Cooper, there have been a whole host of them. I always like it when an
anthropologist comes to me and says, “well that’s
strategic essentialism, “and I don’t wanna play devils advocate, “but, you know.” (audience chuckling) It’s like, I’m not a racist, but. I love devil advocate people. That’s a real, great thing. Sorry, frowny face, I’m
gonna skip through a things. In 2006 I pointed to the ways in which an indigenous anthropology disrupts anthropological narratives, which I referred to
metaphorically as hunting stories. And asked what kind of
narrative, be it contingent, open for discussion, in
critical, this would lead to. I also carved out a space for
an indigenous anthropology that can further the
ethical and moral standards of all anthropological practice. Both through narrative and
a series of relationships. I still believe in this project. Now, after working six miles
from by indigenous nation for six years, I would say, nine years after writing this paper, this is really about me, and sort of my intellectual development. (audience chuckling) I doubled down on the
potential of indigenous framing of anthropological questions, that seek new areas of inquiry and mobilizations of knowledge and mutually beneficial
collaborations and controls. Other forms of inquiry, and, and controls other forms of inquiry
based on tribal declarations of sovereignty and nation building. I also recognize, that often urgent need for forms of cultural modeling that addressed tribal cultural and historic preservation projects. And these possibly
reflect older or outdated forms of anthropological practice. The discussions around
indigenous nation building, which should be by and large happening within our tribal nations, should keep us focused and not let us ray-ify concepts such as community. And, other frowny face for me, is that, moving home, and I would
make a joke about this, but, community is the both the love and bane of my existence, as someone working at a university. What it is ultimately the critical discussion around nationhood. So how to think about, or act, or process, an indigenous anthropology. So much of what I do in my current job, and, involves a way of saying yes to activities or scholarship that enhances indigenous nation building. This involves a lot of
brokering, building relationships and finding common ground
between the university, the state, federal administrative agencies and tribal communities. I believe, this is where
I say I’m a sellout. Sorry. I believe indigenous anthropology includes this brokering, to achieve things like cooperative agreements between
universities and tribal IRBs, collections and so forth. As well as MOUs between
tribal governments, federal and state forestry agencies seeking to control invasive
pests that are threatening critical cultural natural
resources in my state. And these are just two of the projects that I’m currently involved in that are brokering really important issues for the communities. That said, strategic
discussions have taken place within the Penobscot Nation
that I’ve been a part of, reflect a sophistication that
fully understands the ways in which we are sometimes forced to use, old anthropological models, to fight for, and
preserve, our sovereignty. That, it is strategic, so, the
idea that it is bad or wrong, that there’s strategic
essentialisms, is also, part of the slippage Bernie talks about. And, and lastly, as much
as I love to critique the colonial and settlor
imaginaries that served to sever us further from our ancestors and historical experiences. I love that. An indigenous anthropology
seeks so much more than critique, heal and reflects
collective responsibility that is so critical to
indigenous nation building and orients us toward
action that respects process and maintains and expands relationships. Thank you. (audience applause) – Next up, we have Kehaulani Kauanui Associate Professor of American
Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University. (audience applause) – Aloha kakahiaka. Good morning everyone, thank you for attending our session. Mahalo to the organizers and also to all the co-participants. I’m really excited to be here and to be a part of this gathering. I want to just, I want to say a few things and then I’d like to around the category of indigeneity and also the concept of indigenous anthropology. And then I’ll just shift
briefly to talk about some of the work that I’ve been doing and what I’ve encountered in terms of that kind of engagement between an independent media radio show, a service learning
course and a book project that I’m just wrapping up, at least in terms of the
initial drafting of it. I think for me what’s been really surreal, twilight zone, about dipping back in to the different series of Cooper debates that have come and gone over the last decade plus, is that it reminds me so much
of the early 90’s debates between Roger Keesing, Hounani-Kay Trask, Jocelyn Linnekin and
eventually Margaret Jolly. In terms of the invention of tradition, and the notion of charging people engaged in political battle
and forms of nationalism of inventing the past, and to being, charges of being instrumentalist
and essentialist. And so, you know, to kinda
revisit all the debates in preparation for this, I felt like I was sort of being transported back in time to my undergraduate days. I also just want to cop
to my own ambivalence around engaging the discipline. I, I teach in anthropology,
I have a joint appointment in that department at Wesleyan University as well as American Studies. But I have doctorates in neither. And I’m thoroughly undisciplined. I started at community
college in the 80’s, and I transferred to Berkley
as a philosophy student and quickly fled to women’s
studies and ethnic studies. And then did a year and
a half in Maori studies at Auckland University,
for a year and a half at the masters level. And then earned my doctorate
in history of consciousness. And, you know, so, I, I don’t
say sort of emphatically I am an anthropologist. I don’t identify that as such even though I identify with the discipline at times. It’s not necessary a part
of my professional identity, and so, when I was
invited on to this session I really started to think about what that ambivalence means for me and thinking about the
legacy of anthropology in Hawaiian even as an undergraduate. You know, I kinda dipped in, I took a course from Aihwa Ong and there was an amazing
group of scholars there as there are now, although
there are some differences. And anthropology was, and
in many ways, still is just a dirty word in Hawaii. And I really felt that
as an undergraduate. So much so that I didn’t feel like I could actually even major in it, as an undergrad to be honest. And I, I think Ty Kawika Tengan being the first Kanaka Maoli doctorate in anthropology at UH. – [Ty] kay-howa-bod – Kay-howa-bod was the first then Ty Kawika Tengan. The first two Kanaka Maoli PhD students in the University of Hawaii, says a lot, but also that they are really doing that kind of important cutting edge work to
transform what that means and what that can mean
in terms of possibility intellectually and politically. I think too about the importance of indigenous revitalization
in those charges in the epistemological slip
that you mentioned Bernie. I was also reflecting on the ways in which Jocelyn Linnekin’s work was used by the military in the court case over the bombing of Kahoolawe Island. In which she had cited
in some of her early work that the concept of aloha
aina, love of the land was an invented tradition in the 70’s and it wasn’t until
really two decades later that we find through the work of Kanaka Maoli political
scientist Noenoe Silva who uncovers sort of a hidden genealogy of nationalist resistence
at the turn of the century that one of the most
prominent nationalist groups fighting U.S. annexation,
was called Hui Aloha Aina. Right, and that group
falls out of public memory, the myths still are pervasive if you go to the McKinley statute in Honolulu under his arm it says,
“treaty of annexation,” and yet, it was Hui Aloha
Aina and Hui Kalaiaina that actually defeated
the Treaty of Annexation in the U.S. Senate in 1897. So again, those kinds of erasures are things that I think
indigenous anthropology attends to and must, in
terms of the importance of indigenous revitalization. In other words, it was
through Noenoe Silva’s adult training in Hawaiian language that enabled her to do
this incredibly important primary research to even uncover the work of these nationalist organizations. That had literally been
relegated to footnotes. And so, in a sense we don’t even know what we don’t know, right. And there are just literally over 70 Hawaiian-language newspapers at the time of the U.S. overthrow. And its indigenous scholars primarily who have been learning
Hawaiian language as adults who are actually getting into the archives because our ancestors left
an amazing archive for us. For those that are
fortunate enough to learn and be able to access. In terms of the kind of work that I think qualifies as indigenous anthropology, I was thinking about an
independent media show. That I did for seven years
at the campus station WESU in Middletown, Connecticut. And that is indigenous politics from
native New England and beyond. And I served as a sole
producer and host of the show. And I put that forth because
I wasn’t sort of bound by the sort of framework
of being a journalist because I’m not. But it was definitely an
explicitly advocacy project. Applied anthropology if you will. And one that I felt was
important as a Kanaka Maoli woman living in native america. To be attentive, to what was going on. And what’s still is going on, actually. Especially the anti-indian movements emanating from New England. And so thinking about that in
terms of ethical obligations, radical realationality of
dealing with what it means to live on someone else’s homeland. And educating the broader public around the political struggles that
tribes have been dealing with. And, it was that show
that actually led me to do a service learning course
that I’m engaged in right now, called Decolonizing Indigenous Middletown. And part of that was my
quest to try to learn about the Wangunk indian people, who have been completely
written out of history. They were said to have, you know, been vanished by the time
of the American Revolution. And even finding out the name of the people whose land I was on was very challenging
and took quite a while once I moved to Middletown, also known as Mattabesset, the traditional name, 15 plus years ago. And, I have connected
with an extended family and the tribal genealogist
of the line that never left. And so, I’m working with students at the Middlesex County Historical Society to uncover the early settlor documents on Wangunk indian to address, not just the erasure of their history, but the history of their erasure. I want to shift gears really quickly in terms of what little time I have left, to kind of mark how I’m thinking about indigenous anthropology and some of the contradictions
that might arise. I’m right now, completing a book monograph called Thy Kingdom Come,
with a question mark. Paradoxes of Hawaiian sovereignty that is a critical engagement with Hawaiian statist nationalism. A particular branch of the
Hawaiian Independence Movement. And looking at some of the
contradictory political claims that arise when indigenous peoples are still subordinated under
international law to states. And the rule, of Westphalian sovereignty, that’s, you know, that’s
promulgated and premised on the doctrine of Christian discovery. And I’m thinking here
of Steven Newcomb’s work in particular, that really, you know, refuses to even call it
the doctrine of discovery. But, insists that it is the
doctrine of Christian discovery. And it’s a form of on, on going Zionism into the 21st century. That states continue,
especially the United States, but not exclusively,
continue to actually rely on midieval Christian law to
dictate the, the social location of political status of indigenous peoples. And of course, that’s not
just in U.S. federal policy but that’s also, totally
enshrined still today in international law that
purports to be secular. And so thinking about the, you know, the ways in which the enduring
concept of the savage heathen is completely codified, and rules. And so, you know, when I
think about the Cooper debate, you know I’m thinking, whose
really living in the past? Right? Delirium indeed. You’ve got forms of Zionism that I think demand a
critique of the state. And this is where sort of my, anarchist queer sensibilities come in, in terms of looking at the role of indigenous resurgence and revitalization that we can’t wait for the state. And also looking at what
Hawaiian elites had to forfeit in the early 19th century to
secure independent state status that is the Hawaiian
Kingdom in relation to land, gender and sexuality,
and what that means today in contemporary kingdom
nationalist claims. And, this is all happening in the face of a federally and state
driven push to contain Hawaiian national claims
under international law within U.S. federal policy. Some of you may be familiar
with the Akaka Bill or the Native Hawaiian
Government Reorganization Act that was before Congress for twelve years and was defeated by Republicans. And so what’s happened
is you have state actors actually now making an end run around the legislative process and going through the Department of the Interior that just announced, two months ago, that they’re going to make a special rule just for Hawaiians, to
get federally recognized. And yet I’m living in New England, where tribes haven’t
even been able to meet, even when they’ve met the threshold, they’ve been denied federal recognition. And here you’ve got
state actors driving it. And so, you, you know, these are really, there’s some strict confinement, in terms of what one can do. Whether it’s the state
model of federal recognition like tribal entities, or, you know, the prospect of calling
on international law for an independent Hawaiian state claim. And so, I’m, I’m really
critical of both of those, but also the idea that we
can’t wait for any state. And to think through the
resurgence of indigenous knowledge and different forms of ontologies that can deal with that healing and address inter-generational trauma as well as confront sort
of the internalized racism of dealing with our
savage pasts, if you will. Thank you. (audience applause) – Professor Ah-joo-meh Wingle, who was on the schedule wasn’t able, unable to join us, today. But we keeping him in our thoughts. Next up, we have Dr. Merata Kawharu, Associate Professor at the Te Tumu School of Maori Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago. And also Director of the
James Henare Research Center at the University of Auckland. (audience applause) – (speaking native Maori) Thanks very much for
coming to this massive room with so many lights. (audience chuckles) I don’t think I’ve ever
spoken in a room this big with so many lights and almost feel I should do a haka or
something like that, so. Apologies, not going to. I’d also just like to
acknowledge Ty and Bernie for bringing us together, I mean, I think I can count on one
hand, the number of times indigenous anthropologists
have come together. So, it’s a real honor
for me, so, thank you. I’d also like to acknowledge
the tengata whenua, the local people, Cheyenne,
Arapaho and Kiowa. (speaking in native Maori) And being a typical
indigenous anthropologist, I’d like to acknowledge
Professor Por-tep-so and Henare Tun-ee. We debated and discussed these ideas over the last few days about what I’m going to say this morning. So, indigenous not doing
things by themselves as an individual, but as a group. Okay, so just a stat. Some general comments here. As humans are to civilization, we are hard wired to form groups. To organize ourselves, and, to be social. So when we talk about
indigenous, or indigeneity. Inter-gen and those kinds of terms, we might be interested in understanding uniquely indigenous
value systems, patterns, world views, et cetera that, you know, define, shape or mold our social groups. Or rather, our communities. And of course, one community’s reality is going to be unique, to themselves, in terms of their world
view, and how those views or values are going to be applied. A unique pointer difference of indigenous anthropologists then. Is going to be something like perhaps, to interpret, to understand
and to communicate this reality, reflexively. As an insider who operates with an, an implicit understanding
of the checks and balances of the kinship system of
which she or he is part. And as a co-creator of
community knowledge. Broadly you could call this an indigenous anthropological line. Now, does this notion, indigenous anthropological
lines, really work? And the kinds of ways I’ve just outlined. I just want to diverge for a moment and briefly comment on
the notion indigenous and actually I just want
to acknowledge everything that has been said is,
everything that has been said is actually covered in
what I’m about to say, really, really well. It’s really refreshing to hear these sort of views all in one morning. I think it has taken about
twenty years for me to hear these sorts of things in one go. So, thank you. Indigenous is a macro,
broad or mega-category. It is a bit of a, as we
would say a catchall. It is an approximation and it is abstract. It is not at least in New Zealand used by community people,
our people, Maori. In day to day affairs or in communication. And those of us who are
Maori, and anthropologists don’t really, I suppose,
run around too often calling ourselves
indigenous anthropologists. Except perhaps and these
international kind of contexts. Where it really matters. But for this international
interethnic context and manner it does so only when
we are clear about how an indigenous anthropological lines works on the ground. Of course there is no
singular approach in practice. And there never will be. But there are some key important elements that I think are relevant, and which stand out to
one extent or another. These are concerned
with the kinds of things that I sort of started off with. Of course there are many others. But is just opening comments and for this mornings brief discussion I just want to summarize three key areas again, some of the things
I have already touched on. And so, for me, at least
our small part of the world in New Zealand, it’s
important to use these things to be reflexive. But more importantly, it’s
important to be accountable when we’re doing anthropology, to be accountable to serve
our local communities at the same time and yea, I heard your comments about oh my goodness, being indigenous, being an anthropologist and
being part of a community. It’s more than a seven day a week job. And so you’re serving
your local communities at the same time as
being an anthropologist within this relationship,
within a relationship matrix between ourselves, our communities. And you know, there are
other kinds of relationships as well between the living,
our tup-an ancestors, those that have passed on and so on. So that’s sort of a broad context. Of relationships. The second, is to extend the practice of co-creation of knowledge
analysis and outcomes. And you know, of course,
this isn’t necessarily any different to what some anthropologists might already be doing. But the point here is
that it is a critical and central practice at
least in the Maori community and the Maori world that I live in. This is co-creation, it
is not as us coming in as anthropologists into the communities and in defining what that
information or knowledge or analysis is. It is a co-creative,
collaborative exercise of knowledge creation. And a third indigenous
anthropological approach or perhaps contribution to anthropology more broadly. As a counter also I say
to anthropological frames is our own development of our own theory and our own theories. Ones that help to interpret
what’s happening on the ground what is, what has happened on the ground, and what could or should
happen on the ground as well. And so back in New Zealand, in
our small part of the world, this is a direct response
to the problematic of healing anthropological deliriums. We are developing our own so
called indigenous theories. And so in simple terms,
this theory is for us a stretching or of the human immaterial
and nonmaterial realms. It explains and centralizes relationships and I’ve just tried to
emphasize that point a moment ago, between the living, the past, and the future. It’s a cross-generational kind
of way of looking at things. And it’s also about
looking at and emphasizing relationships of other kinds. Social, political, economic, environmental lectures and so on. This framework also in this context of these multiple relationships and lows, provides that context for
looking at those constraints and opportunities for
relationships to sustain, to develop and so on. Briefly, we would call
this whakapapa theory. Is where we start when
we want to quote, get at, or understand the realities of our people, and their quote, social groups. It works as a frame for
investigating issues like, language revitalization, and the constraints and
opportunities for it. And also for economic
innovation and development. All sorts of things. And I just want to throw
this in as a final comment. It is something else that
we are kind of interested in New Zealand, we like to do
things a little differently. In terms of indigenous
social anthropology. It is pretty simply this, we’re interested in integrating waste in anthropological theory
approaches or thought into our own theory I’ve
just briefly outlined during the kinds of approaches or theories that we have in mind. It is a kind of anthropological
reversal if you like. I.e., it’s us, indigenous
people looking outward studying the other or the western. And bringing those ideas into our world on our terms in ways that make sense and that are going to be useful. Kia-ora-matata (audience applause) – And finally we have Lisa Uperesa from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the departments of
ethic studies and sociology. (audience applause) – I’m gonna put this up a little bit more. Talofa. Thank you all for joining
us at this session. And I also wanted to thank,
especially Ty and Bernie for organizing and
bringing us all together. My final, fellow panelists
for all the wonderful knowledge that they’ve
shared with us so far. So I’ve a, a short piece that
I wanna share with you all and it comes, in part from, my position having been trained in anthropology, but being appointed in
ethnic studies and sociology for the past four and a half years at the University of Hawaii Manoa. And then using two
examples to think through some of the larger issues that
we are talking about today. Over the past few decades scholars have posed serious challenges to politics of knowledge
production and anthropology and the academy more widely. In the wake of critiques of
orientalism and representation, the articulation of
indigenous methodologies and the exploration of
indigenous epistemologies, not to mention critiques of
whiteness and white privilege. We might assume a new more inclusive time
in anthropology has begun. Drawing on a recent collaboration and over a decade of
experience as a member, including four years as a board member and one as chair of an
international anthropological scholarliest organization. I explore here the continuing dynamics of objectification and marginalization of indigenous pacific
scholars in and through the claiming of scholarship
and scholarly organizations as white public space. And so here, I’m drawing on
Broadkin, Hutchinson and Morgan. The fist example I describe
briefly and generally which was, had to do with
the writing collaboration with a senior colleague
that I had to pull out of earlier this year after
finally facing some misgivings that I’d had for a
while about the project. And I thought through
them when I was at home in the field this summer. The misgivings centered on recognizing our differential
positioning and the way that has not only shaped our research process, access to interlocutors and analysis, but also the way it would
likely shape reception of our respective projects,
our research agendas when they’re published. In short and, bluntly, I’ve
realized that even though I had begun my research earlier with the community that
I still consider home, collaborating with the
senior white professor would likely position
this person as my mentor and authority on the topic
we were both researching. As a white western academic the reception of the researcher in Samoa fell into a longer history
of according expertise and status to the learned
foreigner racialized as white. As I reflected on my
misgivings, I understood that the researcher was not
bound by cultural protocols of respect, acknowledgment of hierarchy and gendered expectations
that I had struggled with throughout my graduate training,
research and continue to. The researcher was also not
bound by community expectations and eventual opinion not only shaping how the work would be
communicated to the public but in future expectations of service to the whiter community from the position within the University. As I wrote about earlier
in our 2010 collaboration with Ty and others, while
doing my graduate research. This weight of expectation
can be particularly fraught for our junior researchers. And this has been confirmed to me by many, many conversations with
junior pacific scholars and graduate students over
the past, I don’t know, five to seven years both in my institution and in many other institutions. Okay, so in short, the
researcher was not bound by the community in any way shape or form but what I wanted to
think through here is, not just that particular relationship but our location in the academy, ideas, sort of racialized
ideas about expertise and sort of access and reception. And I actually, personally,
really like this person but I wanted to think through how we’re positioned differently. So at, my time at the University of Hawaii has taught me many things about being a pacific academic
trained in anthropology. Living, working and researching
in our linked communities and I think like Kehaulani,
I entered anthropology as a graduate student already ambivalent about the legacy of anthropology in the Pacific but also
in Samoa in particular. And it was a dirty word, and probably still remains a dirty
word in our community, so, we can talk about that later. In particular, my time at
UH has reinforced to me the importance of positionality and the way it shapes our
research process and writing. And this was already evident
by some of early drafting and sort of talks I had
I had seen in terms of the other analysis that
was being developed. So in term of disciplinary dynamics, I think anthropology, probably in part because of the reflexive
turn and because of the calls for, calls for accountability by scholars within and outside of the discipline at least has a growing strain
of awareness on these points, and as engage in these
points, I mean, in the fact that we’re up here today
in this very large room I think engaging it in a
way that other disciplines are not necessarily
doing, and it’s not even actually on the radar. And that I’m happy to discuss
a little bit more later but here I’m also
referring to the compulsion to be legible and to
privilege a more conventional mainstream appraoach to scholarship which are named as a norm but which also constitute a legacy of largely white western thought. Okay, in the second example, it came from an e-mail on a listserv and I, I chose it because
both of these examples are not kind of isolated
but they are exemplary of the things that I
have seen and observed in our subfield Pacific
anthropology but also more widely being involved
in the discipline. So in the e-mail a scholar was preparing to do a talk in a Pacific island country and anticipated being asked, why is it always you studying us? Noting that one, one dimension
of the issue pertains to Pacific Islanders
taking up anthropology. This person was asking
the group to furnish them with names of scholars
of Pacific ancestry who do or have done field research
outside their home countries or outside the Pacific Islands in general. I had actually missed this
e-mail first time around because I just tend to avoid the listserv, a lot of listservs is
just too much e-mail. But I had been alerted
to this particular thread partly because mine had
been forwarded and others as part of the 24 e-mail
responses in the chain. And so when I looked at the thread I was, I think, appalled
is probably the right word. Not only was it obviously participating in the objectification of
scholars of Pacific ancestry. The thread was oblivious
to the kinds of critiques that would generate the
hypothetical question in the first place. So its therefore revealing
that in a later response the original writer of the e-mail noted, you know, basically thanking everybody for their continuing thoughts and information on Pacific Islander anthropologists and that, that information
would be very useful should a question arise
about who studies whom. So it was revealing in
the first place that the person was not familiar with some of the scholarship that was being suggested but moreover the solicitation it seemed was made not out of a genuine desire to learn more about the scholarship of indigenous Pacific
anthropologists, but rather, the request was made in
preparation to deflect a question that, at its
heart is about privilege and power relations in the
production of knowledge. The unwillingness to prepare
to engage this question in a thoughtful manner strikes
at the central dividing issue I see in the subfield
of Pacific anthropology and that unwillingness at this moment must be named as white academic privilege. So these, as I said, these two examples are not isolated, but
are rather, exemplary. And in preparation for
coming to the meeting I was following a lot
of the emergence of the anti-racist campus activism and the reactions to that, all of
that, all over the news has been occupying for
the last couple of weeks. And one of the things I saw written by Eduardo Bonilla-Seeva, Silva, who writes about color racism , and the, color blind racism in the U.S. And one of his comments was talking about historically white
colleges and universities and the ways in which admitting
racialized minority students and faculty didn’t fundamentally
shift the structure of the institution, its
curriculum, its cannon et cetera. And so, these faculty and
students were coming as guests who were expected to kind of,
not only behave themselves but to adapt to the institution
that they were entering. So this struck me as
connected to the, this, this difficulty, and I’m,
I’m discussing, right, this continuing disconnecting anthropology and particularly in our subfield where the challenge of racialized minority and indigenous scholars,
indigenous knowledge and control over knowledge
production is strong. Anthropology was not only
built on studying the native, and in that study claiming expert status that requires the subject
to remain subjected. It is part of the wider world
of academia that remains a site of systemic white
privilege and advantage from Boards of Regents, to
donors, to administrators, faculty, curriculum,
norms, values, et cetera. So, without a commitment
to anti-racist practice and engaging these questions of power and power relations, it will remain so. And we will continue to
have these erruptions when systemic racism is called out. So, by way of closing, I wanted to pick up on one of the prompts of this roundtable. Can this discussion provide
the critical catalyst for the emergence of an
indigenous anthropology, that signals the end of
imperial anthropology? And I think that there are
some very promising practices. I have taken a lot of inspiration
for example from Ty’s work especially in terms of
thinking about reading indigenous idioms with and
against western imaginaries of epistemology and ontology, which is something I do in my own work, thinking through both the cultural framing and capitalist framework of
football in Samoa for example. And so, I hope in the,
the discussion and Q and A we get a chance to talk a
little bit more about this. But I do want to say that the pressure to render understandings
of indigenous worlds or worlds framed by radical difference within the constraints
of western culture theory is still present, it’s
intense, and that pressure is framed by dynamics, which continue to produce anthropology as white public space. Fa’afetai lava. (audience applause) – Alright at this time, I’ll invite our panelists to move a little bit closer to the table. We’re going to engage in some cross-talk and dialogue here in
response to the various provocations and ideas
that were offered up in this first round. And then shortly after
that we’ll open it up to other comments and
questions from the audience. – [Bernie] Is this on? Hello? Can you hear me? Okay. Is that good? (mumbling) As I think about what
the panelists have shared with all of us. One of the themes that keep coming up is a tension between the discipline and our experiences. And this was echoed, well it was, also a part of the conversation yesterday with the student panel. And it’s so often that you hear when our experience going into anthropology is not really a comfortable
and welcoming experience. So, imagine sometime in the second decade of the 21st century,
two indigenous students are making their way across the kind of bureaucratic forrest of a university. And they come into this clearing, and it’s the anthropology
department, okay. (audience chuckles) And so, this first indigenous student, (Bernie laughs) this first indigenous student says, “look we found science,” and the second one says, “no, we found, culture.” And then Adam Cooper
comes around the corner and says, “no, you found
truth and knowledge.” Okay, now, I highlight that because one of the things that,
a, a lot of the students and a lot of our experiences have been as we go through this
process we call anthropology we are being disciplined. And, I promise you, this is a true story. When I was contesting a
grade in my graduate career, the graduate advisor says,
“Bernie, anthropology “is a discipline, and you
are being disciplined.” And I think this is something that we have to continue to grapple with today. Adam Cooper is still out there. And this is where we have
to keep pushing back. And I think some of the
comments that, you know, have been shared here,
really kinda highlight that ongoing tension. And this is why I wanted
to focus on this idea of this kind of emergent praxis
because in these conversations we’re starting that, you
know, larger, reformation of not only how we perceive anthropology, but also how we can adjust the discipline. Not to be just, you know,
a what do you call it, giving us the opportunity and space, again, it’s a white
privilege that they have, oh, well we can entertain
the indigenous voices. Is it possible? And I’d like the panelists
to talk about this, is it possible, really, really? To shapeshift, to discipline from our particular experiences? – Yes. (laughter) I, I try to be the most
pollyanna of the group. It, just, to question what
you’re asking, Bernie, are you saying that, I mean, without some sort of
radical power, you know, revolution kind of thing,
I think that as we, I mean self consciously, as we exist, as indigenous anthropologists, you know, on a fringe, right, self consciously. The fact that we, I think, the idea that we would code switch, or, or do, some sort of strategic use of
anthropology for particular, you know, indigenous nation and should not be a surprise I think, you know, trying to then fashion a
space or create the slippage that you talked about,
I think, I one of the, you know, it’s a challenge
that needs allies, it’s a challenge that
needs, you know, some, something more than, you know, a paternalistic like pat on the head, which, as being someone who
went to grad school with you. That’s not even the worse
story, we could possibly say, about what they told
Bernie in grad school. It’s always good to have Bernie
as a space clearer, in the. Yea, so that would be my response,
I think I’ll (inaudible). – Yes. (audience chuckles) As well. I think so and that’s a
very important question for the wider discipline, for, not just us as the boxed anthropological, no, the indigenous
anthropologists here on stage. But it’s for a discussion
for everybody, I think. And that’s one approach. But, for us, I think
too, and I think these are the kind of ideas that
we’ve all been talking about in some way or another. Is just to go along and do our own thing, and not necessarily call it anthropology. And we, we were just talking a moment ago, about, isn’t it funny we can call ourselves
indigenous anthropologists. Isn’t that a bit of an
oxymoron in a way as well. So, therefore, isn’t a good
idea to perhaps, you know, just do our own thing, And that’s what Merata
and I are doing now. Own indigenous research school, or, whatever it is. And we look up to to the
anthropology department on the eighth floor. Kia ora, hello up there. We’re just getting on with it, you know, kia ora, Cooper, gosh, it’s actually been really good to really think about
Cooper in the last few days, here-exes, yea, brought
me back twenty years. But I read the first
few pages of his book, as you know, my core
text, and put it down. Went to my father whose an anthropologist and said, what the hecks
he talkin about, dad, makes no sense whatsoever. And he said, “never mind, you just read “one or two chapters and
come up with your own ideas.” So, kia ora. – I too will say yes, but I
feel like there are a couple of different sort of
sites, and sort of scales, if we think about shifting
that shape of anthropology. And so, in the subfields and in the organization
that I was talking about, one of the things that we’ve been doing, and, I feel like the comments that I made should be hash tagged, like
not all anthropologists. In a sense that shifting
a shape is possible, it requires allies, it
requires a lot of work and a lot of strategy, right. So, from thinking about
a changing, the kind of structure or culture of
meeting, sort of making small interventions to
make spaces like that open and more welcoming to
non-white scholars, right. So, at the very basic level. But then also, keeping in
mind that just the presence in the room at the table also shifts the shape of conversations. And so, in terms of
like, the ripple effect, on the wider discipline, I don’t know. Probably take a lot longer
than I’ve even been in the discipline to see from, kind of, looking back perspective,
but, I definitely have hope. (inaudible chatter) – I would just say yes as well. And I say yes because
I’m coming from a place of having head of post doc at
an anthropology department. Where I was really disciplined,
I got disciplined to death. After the post doc, I felt really, as student I was actually
nurtured, but as a, as a staff member of a department, it wasn’t a very nice experience for me. And so, the option that
my university gave me was to go and work in
the Maori research center because they didn’t
know what to do with me. And I thought, oh God I
don’t want to go down there with all the Maori’s. And it freaked me out. Well, being down there
with all the Maori’s was the best thing that ever happened to me. So I got disciplined by anthropology and they taught me some wonderful skills and I’m going to be very honest, that some of my closest friends are still in their anthropology department. Some of my closest international friends come from anthropology and they’ve been extremely supportive and
they haven’t been indigenous. So I think that anthropology
itself is a very complex thing. And, it’s one of those
disciplines were you often act as an idividual. And so individuals have their own agendas and so it’s not purely just
this, oh, they’re racist. I don’t think it’s that at all, I think, there are all sorts of personal agendas that people have, some
people can be very generous some people are extremely competitive and don’t want to see you pass them because you’re indigenous and they think that you have this step ahead of them. Some people are, like
to hold on to territory and only like to work with
people that are just like them. And so my, and there’s
also a subtle class thing that runs through anthropology. So, I’m not going to sit here and say that anthropologists are racists, because I don’t think they are, I think it is far more complex than that. However, going to the
Maori research center was extremely liberating. I found my colleagues there, we knew the boundaries
of what was appropriate. You, know, we had the tribal connections but we were also doing our own thing. We don’t tend to butt our nose
into one another’s business. We just let one another get on with it. And so my experience
now, where I don’t teach which is a bit of a shame, because I’m actually a good teacher, but doing pure research
has been liberating for me. And I actually think I’m in the very best anthropological space. I’m in the best Maori space,
I’m in the best anthro space, I get to do environmental anthropology, and so I think Merata
and I are cutting out a new way of being an anthropologist. Moving away from, you know,
departments and units, but actually finding our own sovereignty our own tina-wora-tia-tanga. So we, I think, we’re
actually pushing boundaries that have not been pushed before. – Kia ora. I would just, I wanted
to kind of riff it off of what you said, Lisa, in terms of thinking through
multiple interventions. And this sort of dovetails with your point around the Henare Research Center. Just thinking in terms of not necessarily in relation to the
discipline in that grand way, but thinking through
project-based interventions I think, for me, is part
of where it’s at, right. And I think so much of it
is about thinking through the, the, the issues around
enduring white supremacy and, and colonialism in the discipline. In terms of who’s seen as a, you know, can be more than a native informant in terms of the authoritative piece. But also that community
accountability that you mentioned is so important. I do want to say a couple
other quick things. I mean, for, for the
grad students out there, you know, I always tell people, that I’m talking to at other institutions, ’cause I’m with undergrads at Wesleyan. You know you’re there to
get trained, not tamed. And there is a difference. And I think it’s really
important for people to follow you know, in Hawaiian we talk
about the na’au, the gut. And that’s that, that intuition
and they say you know, follow your intellectual intuition. But also I do wanna
acknowledge that were I am actually has some really
nice kind of differences in terms of anthropology at Wesleyan. When I first was on the market, and applied for the job
in American studies, owned the line, owns the
line that I actually, occupy, for the lack of a better
word, at Wesleyan. And, American studies
wasn’t yet a department so they were compelled
to actually shop around with the department. And at that time, only
disciplines were departments. So, anthropology actually was a good fit, but that had more to do with the work that people were doing inside that already was friendly to interdisciplinarity, so, this is when Susan Hirsch was still there and does, you know,
amazing legal anthropology. Elizabeth Traube whose
done some incredible work. And Anise Tamor had already started doing also cultural studies and media studies and so there was an opening. In the year after I came in Anu Sharma, Gina Ulysse were hired and all
of us had joint appointments. So Gina at that time was jointly appointed with African American studies, Anu Sharma with then women’s studies, which later was renamed to feminist gender and sexuality studies, and then myself if American studies. So I do wanna acknowledge that I feel that I’m in a, a really
supportive particular department in terms of collegiality
and intellectual rapport. But the other piece around
the shapeshifting question, I think there’s so much baseline when, when we hear these questions
about the e-mail exchange or, the, the senior scholar
that you’re working with. And when I think about the ongoing battle for NACRA compliance allover the world, but, in this country, where
anthropology departments have often used, you
know, loopholes to try and withhold the return of human remains, items of cultural patrimony
and sacred objects. And, I’m, you know, when I
was in undergrad at Berkley the Native American Graves
Protection Repatriation Act had just passed. And the first federal test case as many of you hopefully know, was the native Hawaiian
case at Cal Berkley. And, that happened while I was there, and thinking through the
political economy of it, when the head of archaeology was married to the head of the
cultural resource agency. And there was literally a direct link in terms of holding on to collections. And every time Cal Trans
would go in to build a road, you know, the protocol was
the cultural resource agency would go in and collect the remains and then, you know, there was just this, this incredible linkage, it’s
classic, follow the money. So to speak. And then the archeology
students at Berkley that were then doing contract
archeology in Hawaii, to make way for hotels. And so, just thinking through that, I mean there’s so much work to
be done on the base level around NACRA compliance. I learned about the
holdings at Wesleyan in 2003 and was on, you know, the rampage, to try and get a NACRA
compliance officer in there. And, you know, fortunately
had unanimous support in anthropology, american
studies and archeology. But it took us until 2014
to get someone in there that would do it. So this kind of work, I
think, the shapeshifting, it’s more, I wanna know what colleagues in anthropology besides,
you know, the theoretical sort of decolonization, being open to different methodologies, or, you know, kind of
rethinking, you know, different particular methods, you know, thinking through the institutional power and the really enduring colonial legacies. So I will just say that for now. – Alright, at this time,
we’d like to open it up before comments from the floor and any other questions as well. So if you are interested
in offering a comment or, or, giving a question to the panel, please approach the microphone, one of the microphones, so that your voice and
your question can be heard. Thank you. – [Voiceover] Hello, my
name Kah-jeen-dra Not-or-aya I come from India. This, this question is
to Professor Kavanui. I, would like to ask
you, you said something very interesting about ancestral archives and how this could be used for both the indigenous people’s
rights and political movements and so on. Especially, I would like
to know little more detail, because, I also work with
indigenous peoples in India, and many of them, like they
talk about racism in the U.S. they are prone to
something called casteism, caste, caste-based humiliation. And disposition and so on. So, I’m trying to, I work with them, I theorize about their movement and so on. I learn a lot about
African American movement, terrorization and
indigenous people’s modes. I, I think there is a connection,
big deal of connection, which is not explored
yet, which has to be done. Between indigenous people in India, who are fighting against
the casteism and racism, colonialism and so on, as
well as the other groups. So, in that sense, those communities, many of them are, I’m trying
to dig up the world archives, what could be, it could be the folksong, it could be some petition
to the British government a couple of centuries ago, and, and, and and their own elders order-lo
observations and so on. So, in that sense, what
do you exactly mean by ancestral archives and
what other potential it has for, for people like us
who like to have this cross-fertilization of ideas and exchanges for indigenous peoples like us. Thank you. – Hello, is it on? Okay. Thank you so much for your question. I wanna acknowledge too, there, there are a lot more
native Hawaiian scholars who have learned Hawaiian language and of course, learning
how to read 19th century Hawaiian language archives. I’m not among them, you know, I have taken some Hawaiian language. But in terms of actually being
able to delve in the archives I think of also, Lelani
Basham and other scholars along side Noenoe Silva. The thing that I’ve learned from that work and, and Kawika, I’m
sure you have much to say because Kawika is a fluent speaker whose also looked at the archives. But that, you know, Hawaiians really took to the, the the press. And one of the things that’s unique about the Hawaiian situation, even though the people who, you know, formed to overthrow Queen
Liluokalani in 1893. And then subsequently
formed their own government called the Republic of Hawaii. They banned Hawaiian language as a medium of instruction. And once the U.S. annexed
Hawaii unilaterally through a joint Congressional resolution, not a treaty, those
laws stayed on the books until the 1980s. And it’s the activists
who largely drew from Maori activism, from Kohanga Reo that formed Punana Leo in Hawaii the language nests. That really challenged that line. At the same time Hawaii had a, a double language as Hawaiian
as the official language by the late 70’s. But in terms of a medium of instruction those law were on the
books until the 1980s. So that’s just context
for people who don’t may not know that slice of history. The missionaries are credited, you know, with bringing the word
and the word, right, the written scribe and the word of God. Already what falls out of
there is that you had dozens actually of Kanaka Maoli in Connecticut that inspired or is said to have inspired the mission to Hawaii. And they were there
before the missionaries ever stepped foot in the island. So there’s a, there’s an erasure of the, the role of Hawaiian male youth in terms of teaching certain missionaries Hawaiian language before
they even got on the boat. And I’m interested in sort
of the grammar of that and the, and the written
Hawaiian grammar around that but also the colonial
grammar of that erasure. Just to get to the bottom
line of your question, it’s just hard to talk
about Hawaii without some of that, that historical context. There were missionary
controlled newspapers and then there were Hawaiian nationalist
controlled newspapers. And, I hope I’m not
getting the years wrong, but if you look at Noenoe
Silva’s book Aloha Betrayed, it really talks about the
role of Hawaiian print media in terms of Hawaiian
nationalist resistance through cultural production. And the, you know, the battle of the pens or the dueling out. And one of the things that she tracks is that when American, Americans, and missionary descendants
are pushing hardest against Kanaka Maoli,
against native Hawaiians. Hawaiians are responding by
printing traditional stories often focused on Hawaiian women’s power but like serial stories
that are really lengthy that are really traditional
and sort of, you know, she suggests that there
might be an allegory there in terms of that kind of resistance. So why is it that you
get the story of Pele, the fire deity and her sister coming up at those critical times
that Hawaiian, men, some of the Hawaiian men
that she’s been researching are the ones actually
publishing those stories. But there’s this quote in her book from one of the newspapers. It literally, I believe is from 1847, them, they say, we have
to write our stories down so that our descendants in
2010 will be able to read us. That’s ancestral archives to me. – [Voiceover] Hi, wasn’t
thinking of saying this, but I have to respond to that. In 1986, I was in Britain, because I was about to go to the International Archeology Congress, which resulted in spinning off WAC. The radical, politically
aware archeologists. But just before the Congress,
I spent a week in Whales with a Welsh nationalist
woman, a retired journalism. And, she told me that Welsh nationalism gained considerable power
by demanding that the BBC have a Welsh language TV channel. And the BBC said everybody
in Whales speaks English. What’s the point. There was a nationalist leader
who went on a hunger strike and as he was about to
die from starvation, the BBC agreed to have a three-month trial TV channel in Welsh. And my friend, told me that this was a critical turning point. It turned out that very
large number of families had the Welsh language channel on, even if the parents
actually didn’t speak Welsh. It was a gesture of
nationalism and rebellion to have the language in their home. And it made a very considerable difference to building a power base
for Welsh nationalism. And you know, this is relatively recent. I have tried and tried to
persuade my Pekuni friends hi-ah-scapi Pekuni friends
to have the commentary on the Browning Indian’s the high school, basketball and football games on the local community TV channel have the commentary entirely in Blackfoot. And nobody seems to get the point. So, but what, this actually
brings what I was gonna say, I don’t think shapeshifting
is the best term, I think it’s code
switching, code switching as a bilingual or trilingual. And I think that using
that term dict-ures better. The strength of yourself as
a citizen of your nation. And you can be bilingual, trilingual but you’re not changing who you are. And I think that’s this business of adhering to the discipline. One of the thing I wanted to bring up was that when Virginia . . . . – I’m sorry but if you could
try to get to the question because we only have a few minutes left and if we want a response to come in . . . – [Voiceover] Right, right, right. – then we’ll actually need
the question, thank you. – [Voiceover] Yep, but
I wanted to point out that Virginia Dominguez in
her presidential address to triple-A, this was in Montreal, what three, four years ago. She specifically spoke to, and
these are the words she used, the blatant racism within
anthropology departments. Her call to combat this
so far as I have seen has been completely futile,
I have not been aware of any anthropology
departments that have responded to the blatant racism,
certainly not in Milwaukee. And I think that this is
something that calls for indigenous anthropologists
to continue to ban together the way you are banning together, getting strength in
numbers in order to be, to, to support one another against, that’s what it is, blatant racism. – Thank you. If the, those that are standing just want to offer questions
rather than comments, we’ll try to get to them
in a, set of responses. – [Voiceover] A question
on a different topic for indigenous anthropology. My name is Gerald Cider, I
have worked in native rights, native issues now for
the past fifty years. Over these, everything
from federal recognition, to land claims, to domestic
violence, child suicide, substance abuse et cetera. The most significant development in both Canadian and North
American native communities over the past fifty years, has been the massive increase
in internal inequality in these communities. And in my sense of what’s happeining, much as we may celebrate the
success of the native elites. The vulnerable in these
native communities, the poor, women, children,
are in vastly worse situation now that they were fifty years ago when the community was more unified. Even though they were
unified over poverty. As a, domestic violence has increased, substance abuse has increased, child rape, I mean I’m
talking about very heavy diff, consequences of differentiation. As a white anthropologist,
much as I have been able to try to do with the
oppressions of the Canadian and American state
against these communities, I have been completely helpless to touch the inequality within these communities. And to be blunt about it,
the role of tribal elites in either ignoring or
perpetuating the suffering of the poor and the vulnerable. So I wanted to ask, the wonderful people here, what you see as your possible
role if any in that context. Thank you. – Alright, with apologies
to those who are standing we just are at the end of the time. So we can just take a
couple one minute responses. We’re just at, we’re at 11:45 already. I think, I don’t even think, I’m sorry to those who are standing, but, we’re actually at the end of the time, so (mumbles) want to give you at least
this chance to respond to either of the, the two questions that were put out there. And, offer any closing
thoughts at, at the same time. – Okay, I’ll work with tribal elites. I’m not saying I’ll work with them, but as an anthropologist
I have recently been able to critique, umm. In New Zealand at the moment
we have claims to water, tribal elites have joined
together and have decided that it would be very good for Maori-dom to own water. I have been commissioned
by another group of tribes who are perhaps not at that same level, as far as power is
concerned, to create a group and create an identity for this group that will have a counterclaim to water that is more helpful
to the ordinary people. So, as an anthropologist, I’m
actually representing those, creating new identities
for people without power. And that’s where I sit socially. And I think that is a
contribution that I can make as part to play around
with, not play around but, but with create new spaces for people that don’t have power. In New Zealand, some Maori
tribes have a lot of power some don’t, it’s all to
do with whether they’ve settled their treaty claim or not, and what sorts of natural
resources they have in their territory. But as an anthropologist I’m quite happy to be commissioned to do work or work with those tribes that want
to be part of the action, to uplift people inside their tribes. – Sorry we’re getting the,
you need to get out of here signal already. But I do hope that the
provocations offered here are, what? – (mumbles) – Oh, it’s at twelve, oh okay, sorry. Why, why did I think that we were done, I’m so sorry. I’m the worst timekeeper ever. (chuckling) Let’s pass this on, I
thought we were done already. – So I kept my comments
brief on the first round thinking that for once
I would be the person that afterwards people
would want to talk to. (laughing) Joking, it, it is a lonely space. (laughing) So, out, out there, are
these issues of both racism within the context of anthropology and also the role of I think both native and non-native anthropologists
in the exacerbation of violence and poverty and, and the things within our communities. And I, and I think a lot
of the work that I see it’s very helpful. It, it goes beyond, you
know, the mere publication of such, you know, instances,
that it actually is, you know, on the ground. Very active, setting up institutions, that the role of anthropologists
who are witnessing such things means that
it’s not just at the level of a theory anymore that you’re building a series of relationships with people who really need help. And I think as an ethical
responsibility, just, again, the witnessing requires
a set of relationships and responsibilities that as a practice, when I think about
working within, you know, my own community in terms of having a PhD and relative forms of privilege
and all sorts of ways. I think, just, you know,
that doesn’t guilt me up, you know, it actually is empowering to say that I actually have access to resources and things that can actually help people. So I think, that’s it. And I, I did mention, I did
compare the invention of, you know, strategic
essentialisms and devil advocate. People said that’s a racism, but I, I wasn’t calling anthropologists
racists necessarily. Although. When I think of, it’s only because I couldn’t compare
them to Nazi’s or slaveowners. So, the, the, my ability
to have the politics of, you know, I should be
running for office obviously. So, the, I, I do think that
calling out there is these you know, again, it’s about ally building and the, and the ability
to call out and really work in collaboration. I, I think one of the hopeful
things in anthropology in the way its practiced
at the University of Maine is, a lot of us are engaged
on environmental issues and I think we’re seeking
to work collaboratively with each other as well. And I think indigenous and
non-indigenous anthropologists working together creates a really powerful set of learning experiences that I see actually are students imitating, and, and that’s extremely hopeful. It wasn’t, if I just
think, that, that the fact that I’m even in the
anthropology department at the University of
Maine I would have said, you know, twenty years ago, when I was, or maybe even fifteen years ago when I was leaving graduate school that there’s no way they would have me. I’m too, you know, weird, or whatever. I just don’t fit, but the idea that the, now we have this, you know, we can do practice in anthropology there that is not, you know, so vested in vestiges of colonial imaginaries. I think is really, really hopeful. – I don’t think that
question can really be properly answered in just a few moments. So I’ll, just gonna restrict
my thoughts to just one idea. For me, I suppose our role,
is to critically support our indigenous, our leaders
as drivers of change. That’s where the change needs to happen is at that level of their leadership as opposed to us, fighting necessarily. Unless they ask us to on their behalf of their communities. – [Voiceover] Hi, I just wanted to quickly thank you, thank you all for your talk. And also the panel from yesterday, the grad students,
indigenous grad students. I wanted a, um, basically ask you guys about the marginalization
of indigenous studies in anthropology, as somebody, I’m Tibetan, and I come from a colonized place. And it was actually indigenous scholarship that I’m most related to in terms of talking about Tibet as far
as the modernizing projects, the civilizing projects in the form of capitalist economies, especially in China. And for me, that’s the most
important area of studies that is useful for me and Tibetans also don’t identify themselves
as indigenous because they don’t understand what it means. So I do think the terminology
in the international realm is really important as far
as solidarity is concerned. And I was at, I was gonna ask you, as far as wha, what do
you think is the reason for why indigenous studies
is so marginalized? For me, it was really hard to
find indigenous scholarship especially in anthropology. So if you could have some words on that. – Should we hear the other question too, since we’re short on time? (inaudible chatter) – I’m sorry, we’ll take
the second question as well so we can try to answer both. – [Voiceover] Okay,it’s, it’s a completely
different kind of question. Hi, I’m Frances Morphy, I’m from the Australian National
University in Australia. I was really interested
in the phra, the question, can we contaminate colonial categories. And, categories are
something that I work on and think about a lot. And the question that occurred to me, is, all of you are having
to speak to each other and to us through English, and that’s an inevitable
kind of consequence of the way the world is today. My question really is, the extent to which that is a complicating
factor in this discourse and how you deal with it. – Well thank you for the qwa, ah, both of the questions, and I think
they’re not necessarily . . . . – Speak into the (inaudible) – They’re, the questions are
not necessarily separate. And thank you Alice for your conversation and question as well. And language is an important part of this and one of the things that
we’ve been talking about the last couple of days is we are in this awkward position of having to deal with western concepts, western philosophies. And we’ve been disciplined
in various forms and practices. And, but one of the
things that is uniting us is that common experience, and, if you want to call it a
lingua-franka, indigeneity. You know, let’s just put that out there you know, as a conceptual tool. Okay, so the lingua-franka of indigeneity does not preclude, and this is why, Barbara shared the
translation of shapeshifter. And this is the next step, how do we, from our respective
positions, our cultures, our languages, reinterpret
these english terms in such a way that we
can then calibrate across our conversations to reform and reimagine what these categories are. What is possible in terms of indigeneity? And because if we can do that, then we can also bring
other english scholars into the conversation. And again, I use the
term epistemic slippage. And we’re all in this
because we’re engaging in this epistemic slippage. Can our own basis of knowledge begin to move towards an understanding where we may not understand completely but we can become closer
in sharing those ideas. And I think this is where the larger global discourse of
indigeneity can be useful for other communities who recognize that they have similar experiences. So the lingua-franka of indigeneity is an invitation for this conversation. And once the conversation takes place, then the specificities and the experiences is something that enriches the experience rather than confuses the experience. I mean that’s, that’s my take. Anybody else? – In my work as an anthropologist. One thing that I’ve really focused on is, is using some western theories like Frederick Bathe and Michelle Flu-co and others that have
written about discourse and knowledge and tried to think about ways in which Maori concepts,
fundamental Maori concepts things like, fara-nowa family,
fanong-a toa relationships or kai-te-aki tena which
Merata has written about a lot. How those Maori concepts
can be used and understood in my work and so I’ve
also, in order to do that, I really go right back to where I’m from in the waikato where we have our, our own concepts that we privilege. I’m from the kingy-tung-a which is a, a different type of Maori group. Were we have a, a real
hierarchy where I’m from. And so some of the things
that we do in my tribe are a little different to what Merata would do in her tribe. So the way that I’ve pushed
forward as an anthropologist is to really know my own
people’s fundamental concepts. Then apply Michelle Flu-co,
apply Frederick Bathe. And try and, and explain environment, bringing the two together. I mean, if I had a whole lot of graphs I could show you how it works, but, I think I’ve, translation
is really important. We’re at the very beginning
stages in this group here, but I think the key to a
lot of indigenous studies is access to knowledge and being able to really understand
how those concepts work on the ground at home with
the indigenous communities. So, that’s my answer. – I just have a couple
really quick points. I think the question
around indigenous studies, marginalized within anthropology. One of the things that comes to mind is Lee Baker’s book, Anthropology and the
Racial Politics of Culture. That really grapples with the
roots of American anthropology and also the split of how it
is sociology as a discipline comes to, to work on black americans and how it is that
anthropology gets the indians. And so I think that’s one of the, the genealogies think
I would take a look at. You know, I’m a cofounder of the Native American and
Indigenous Studies Association. So I’d say come on over to nice-a, our next meeting is in May in Honolulu. The other thing is that this question around identifying as indigenous and not understanding what it is. I wanted to give kind
of the flip side of that because in the book that I’m finishing now on kingdom nationalists. I’m looking at indigenous
Hawaiian nationalists who are focused on restoring
the Hawaiian kingdom. And they know exactly what indigenous is but they have dis-identified
they disavowed them they disavow the indigeneity
of their own selves precisely because they know that it is a category of political subordination. Not just under U.S. federal law, but under international law. And so, that’s just one
of those kinds of things, I mean, how do we deal with the cul, the cultural contradictions around that. And so, that’s where it gets
a little bit complicated and the last point I wanted
to make around indigeneity and why it bugs people out. You know, we, people know
that it’s socially constructed people talk about race, gender, sexuality. And other categories of
difference as social constructs. But for some reason the
burden on indigenous scholars to try and justify indigeneity
as a category of analysis or one’s indigenous subjecthood
is just really over the top. And I think that’s
about settlor anxieties. And I also think that that’s something we really have to tackle. I think it’s really
still obscene actually. And people will be like,
but it’s so complicated, and it’s like, it might be complicated when you’re trying to compare
all these different nations. But within our own context, it’s actually not that complicated. Hawaiian version for
example, is bilateral. You, you get your
Hawaiian-ness any way you can that doesn’t mean that
we don’t have eliteism, it doesn’t mean we don’t
have class politics, it doesn’t mean we don’t have colorism, it doesn’t mean we don’t
have internalized racism. But the indigenous piece is
not complicated actually, it’s genealogical, it’s very simple. It might be very different in Penobscot, it might be very different at Maliseet, Maoridom does it differently. So, just wanted to put that out there. (inaudible chatter) – So just responding
to the first question. I think partly why it’s
difficult to locate those sources is they leave anthropology early. Or at least that’s what I’ve seen. With Pacific scholars
trained in anthropology they go to ethnic studies,
they go to gender studies they go to Pacific studies,
they go to indigenous studies. And the one’s that stay in anthropology have to kind of survive the battle. Right. The pre-tenure and then into kind of their life as associate
and full professors. And so, just thinking in terms of the work that I’ve done has been not
necessarily to translate but to think about intersections. Where you have different sort of indigenous Samoan concepts Shaping agendas, action, right, values. And the way it intersects with things like American capitalism, U.S. empire, global sporting industries, right. How do we see those coming together, or, you know, what are the places where they diverge? And so that’s one of the things that I’ve been thinking through, but, in terms of the, the
kind of Samoan research. I haven’t necessarily
looked to anthropology. In fact, I’ve looked to our philosophers, our theorists, our oral historians, to really bring that material together. And then of course I ha, I also have to talk about the anthropology
of Samoa as well. Which, you know, I have done. But it, it wasn’t my, sort of primary, wasn’t the first place I went. – Okay, now we are at the end of time. I also want to acknowledge Aaron glass, who was also a key
collaborator interlocutor in, in helping to organize this and trying to give me the
right time, here (inaudible). I kept on misreading. But, really I want to
extend great appreciation to all of our panelists
who joined us today to those in the audience
who offered your questions. We hope to continue this
dialogue beyond this. And so thank you for
coming and joining us. Mahalo. – Thank you. (audience applause) (inaudible chatter)