With two more days left of the 2011-12 and the third year of my program officially ending, I must share this last month has been incredibly challenging. Needless to say, I’ve tweeted about a statistics course that has kicked me in the kahookee like you wouldn’t believe. It’s been over 13 years since I’ve had any kind of math class and man is it humbling. Did any one ever tell you that statistics was necessary to succeed? If they didn’t they should’ve, especially if you are going to do some quantitative research.
Pretty much I’ve decided that I will no longer vacillate on this subject and am declaring, I will be conducting qualitative research and that’s that! Quantitative research involves statistics, formulas, p-values, estimates, percentages, and a lot of data! Word to the wise, if you are heavy into Indigenous Knowledge Systems or Ancestral Ways of Knowing, it would be interesting to do a study on how many Natives use quantitative research in their work. Just saying this is a challenge I did not expect.
Having said that, I’ll briefly share the end of my spring semester and the so-called “break” I had in between if that is what it can be called. Between May 4-6 I think I had a break? I don’t know because Summer Session 1 started on May 7 and as my Pops likes to say when he’s surprised, “Shit oh dear” where the hell did time go?!
In any event, I finished up two courses that were phenomenal. Both were challenging in their own unique way as far as content and rationality to being an Indigenous woman. I do believe they were parallel in the sociological factors as far critical race theory is concerned. Throughout the semester I found myself in quiet observation as the classroom dynamics played itself out. I have come to the conclusion that white privilege is prominent in higher education institutions. Faculty have their research agenda’s and tenure responsibilities which may or may not isolate them in the ivory tower and students believe their enlightenment is one of shared knowledge. The white privilege I was subjected to and had to endure was often times too much to sit quietly so I’d clear my throat or sneeze bullshit and interject with some wild Rez story to throw them off and share that colonialism was alive and kicking or that Indian men really didn’t like their women to chew Skoal. Just saying, higher education from an Indigenous perspective is one that could use less dense reading and more interactive learning.
For both my classes I want to share a quick highlight
1.)Colonization, Decolonization, and Globalization: The course that helped me see the value in listening to white people’s logic in how they believe society should decolonize… seriously, it’s interesting. I wrote my final paper on what decolonization would “look” like from an Indigenous perspective. I don’t know if it’s publishable, but I earned an A in that class and felt like I did a pretty good job too. My favorite course readings from the class was Wasase written by Taiaiake Alfred.
2.) Feminist Theory. Who knew there was such a thing as Indigenous Feminism? I certainly did not and post class I have found a new place that opened up doors to healing and pretty much shed more light for me on what dominant male discourse is and what a warrior truly means to me as an Indigenous woman. My scholar inspiration for this, Gloria Anzaldua. It was through Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza where I experienced a self-discovery of strengths and weaknesses.
I found myself going back to where I started in Fall 2009, when I believed I would not be returning after the spring semester, my scholar inspiration from that time Manulani Meyer who stated “All dissertations are healing…” Pretty much each of my final projects for the classes I have taken have helped me look back on where I’ve come from, what I’ve endured, buried, hidden, and denied. As a healing I’ve seen how I have (in Chief Dan George’s voice) “Endeavored to persevere.” Despite the overwhelming responsibilities with work, family, and program requirements I had to continue to work through them to complete this year. It’s been one the toughest challenges since my first year and definitely one worth noting, this is where people either throw in the towel or persevere.
During this last month, I also practiced a #28DaysOfGratitude and learned in that time I am most thankful for my family and dearest friends who have been there for me. Each day is a new day to begin anew and I want to live each day with no regrets. As a mother, I see the value in bettering my life for them and pray they will see the same value. As a sister, I hope my family will see that if I can do this, anyone can, after all, I shouldn’t be here, but I am. As a daughter, I am living proof that as children, we don’t ask to be brought into this world, we are born into it, how we take care of it and choose to live is our choice.
I choose to believe life is a beautiful journey. Some days are more challenging than others and some days are like that cool breeze on a hot summer day. I’m bidding farewell to my third year and welcome the next phase in my educational journey. This summer I’ll travel a little more and will kick it off with a visit back east to the NAISA annual conference then trek out on a mini vacay with friends on the east coast. The summer promises to be busy with business, personal, and family getaways and I look forward to sharing with you all the wonderful opportunities and experiences I have coming up. A quick peek into the next month, working with tribal youth on Water Resources Management (STEM fields are coming out real strong) and research in three local Indigenous communities in health, education, and wellness. I will be busy, but blessed with work and thankful to the creator because I could always use a lil sumn-sumn for the pedi’s I enjoy.