Indigenous intelligentsia


this weeks inspiration has been one that was set off by my children and elders.

a lot of the introspection has been coming through critical self reflections and the question “who am i?” has never been more provocative.

for a professional development training i had to reread Indigenous Research Methodologies by Begele Chillisa. it’s interesting to reread research and articles post my doctoral journey and how much more meaning can be made.

one of my colleagues, a senior faculty with a shared East Asian cultural perspective, asked of us a deeper question, “what is my purpose?”

not only did that challenge me and my colleagues to rethink how we approach our work, it helped me to redethink my entire methodology. as faculty at a tribal college, i am reminded of when i left my Rez in 2002, and now that i have returned, i can see my purpose.

i am also thinking of JoAnn Archibald’s Indigenous Storywork as Methodology and the storying of Indigenous lived experiences. it is absolute and definitive for this new way of thinking and Age of Enlightenment that my elder says is needed for the collective.

collectively, we are currently awakening into a critical Indigenous consciousness and not everyone is able to comprehend. it may be moving too fast for some. however, the elevation and leveling up is necessary if we are to grow beyond survival mode, and move on up and into owning the vibrant and thriving communities that we are.

i can see (and even believe) how we are more than statistics and more than the pejorative tropes that settler colonialism has portrayed us to be.

we are more than Rezilience, we are our ancestors dreams come true.

in essence, the collective has to level on up to the what the ancestors were. it’s in our blood. it is in our DNA, epigenetics prove it to be true, and historically, we can read about what our ancestors were like. the ancestral bad assery is exactly why we must all level up in order to grasp and truly ascend.

for instance, there are enough Indigenous people who have accomplished more than the settler colonial project intended. many have gone before me and i imagine, when their research journey started, they had different mindsets. today, we are collectively rewriting what Indigenous research, history, education, business, and science to name a few “looks” like.

i encourage any and all relatives who are considering the PhD journey to find faculty, both Indigenous and non Indigenous, who will help guide and challenge you to think, write, and create critical works especially when it comes to your lived experience.

personally, as i look back, i became a doctor because i knew i wanted to become a professor. i may not always seem approachable and can get stuck in my head a lot, but as an intellectual, believe me when i share that my job and the actual work i do doesn’t fully begin to describe what i go through on a daily basis, let alone on the weekly or monthly process.

i no longer allow settler colonial standards to define who i am which makes it difficult for those who follow settler colonial frameworks. it’s too conceptual for some and can lead to misunderstandings. if i can add, being misunderstood in the academy or in life truly is a blessing. in other words, let people misunderstand who you are and let your work speak for itself.

cuz we have ppl walking around using settler models of thinking and behaving who slap a feather on research and work calling it Native or Indigenous. meanwhile, these same people in real time are not practitioners or involved in a community.

this mornings blog thoughts out loud are brought to y’all because i spent this last week with one of my elders and the critical self reflections have been many.

at 90 years old, he has seen a lot and has shared what has come around and gone around the block three times in our community. he wishes for more. their power is diminished and yet they have controlled too much for too long. he shared when people have power in numbers, there is no mind for the people, just a greed for power.

i am making meaning of it all and see how the powers that be like to keep their power in tact, just like the settler colonial project intended.

it has been refreshing to hear his perspective and wisdom. as we talked story about life, i listened and heard him state we would gain a lot if we taught our youth to sit down with elders more than they are encouraged to play sports.

it is a fine line to draw in my opinion because keeping youth active in this day can be challenging. albeit, i think the answers can be found out on the land with Mother Earth and communing under Father sky

all this to say, i have so much to grow and learn from. this last week was a beautiful time shared with my elder. i felt like i was able to time travel as he shared his first hand experiences in meeting and knowing the last great chief of the Columbia, Chief Tommy Thompson.

i know my elder wouldn’t say this or accept it, but he was mentored and taught by a true chief and through his life story it shows. i am privileged to say my elder can recall this time and in my heart, i believe he is a chief himself. humble, kind, patient, compassionate, generous, and respectful of all life.

as he shared details of the times he spent there it was fascinating to hear how much simpler life and times were for Indigenous people.

as i continue to reflect on our conversations, i am reminded, this is for all the people, namely, our youth.

Hozho nahasglii

Hozho nahasglii

Hozho nahasglii

Hozho nahasglii

Yox kalo

Categories Indigenous

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