Tag Archives: indigenous

Transformation through art

I am at the AERA conference but decided to use my time learning at the Holocaust Museum and making my way through some of the Smithsonian galleries that I have not visited before until I got to the Native American museum for a late lunch.  At the Sackler Museum of Asian art, there was an instillation called Turquoise Mountain about transforming Murad Khani in Afghanistan (transformation of place and people through art). You were encouraged to touch the woodwork, but I was most drawn to the text and what I could learn from these artists.

I need to do more research around art as methodology but also art as catharsis for cultural trauma.

I donʻt know how I am going to use it, but on entering, there was a video playing and it is about how they were taught to build with concrete, but after the war, the concrete was destroyed; it did not hold up as well as their traditional methods of building with mud and wood. The concrete was poorly made, it was ugly.

Hedayatullah Ahmadzai, head of engineering at Turquoise Mountain says,

When I was a refugee in Pakistan I got a job working on the conservation of historic buildings. It was there that I received my first experience of traditional building design and building techniques. On returning to Afghanistan, I worked in many areas of the country, where people still built their homes using these traditional techniques.

These experiences made me realize what mud and timber can teach us. The people of this land built in mud and timber for thousands of years. The buildings are cool in summer, warm in winter. They are cheaper to build, easy to look after, and beautiful. Why are we forgetting the lessons of our ancestors?

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Poetry as Note Taking – He Manawa Whenua

The He Manawa Whenua Indignous Education Conference was my first experience in participating in a conference with translation. I think it’s a really interesting concept and I noticed that my notes looked more like poetry as a way to make sense of translations that were then re-translated, ear to brain to hand.

One of the keynotes, Professor Pon Teinara spoke only in Maori and he shared his mo’olelo of growing up in the bush. I found him to be so profound,  and I wish I could have understood him in his own language. Lost in translation.

hale He showed us a picture of his parents, beautiful, young rebels who set out to live a different lifestyle. To move away from the city and live out in the bush. This is not them. This is a hale from the Bishop Museum, but it gets the point across.

Wisdom is the daughter of experience (Da Vinci)

The house is telling us stories

of the old world.

Some may think it’s a picture of poverty

Of lack

and want

but it is a search for knowledge

in a world of silence

not noise.

We went to the bush to be free

How free do you wish to be?

What are you willing to do for this freedom?

What can you give up?

Do not ask senseless questions.

Sometimes the academic mind can trouble you.

I will give you everything I know

but the world waits for you

there is new knowledge out there

come out of the mist

come into the light

do not stay in the past

great knowledge has come from there

but you cannot stay

create new knowledge

to live in the world of now.


Who will fill your shoes?

Why would I want to wear someone’s old shoes?

You get the knowledge

but you may also inherit the unpleasant smells

Let us not sit in the shadows of our teachers.

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Day 16: Buried Thoughts Emerge

“Don’t whistle in the house!”
Insisted John, our friend and host,
graduate of Iolani, graduate of college,
detective with the city.

I chuckled.
The last time I heard that,
is when my grandmother Luʻukia
lived in the 1930s.
She said to whistle in the house,
was to call the Tiapolō.

My husband stopped whistling,
shocked over the irrationality of it all.
I understood.
I had grandparents like John’s.

Grandma Luʻukia’s thoughts emerged
when John spoke.
She did not die completely–
She is very much a part of me.

–Cecilia Kapua Lindo

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Day 3: Roots

The wind blew hard again today,
tried to blow away my poems,
but to no avail,
for they had sunk their roots
deep into the hillside,
deep into the stones, the grass,
the trees, the songs of birds,
the light on land and sea
that never dies,
the light in your eyes.
Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

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