native intelligence

Oscar Hokeah's blog banner. Reproduced with permission. Use underlined text in blog to teleport.

I’ve recently discovered, and have skim read, Oscar Hokeah‘s blog. It’s headed “Oscar Hokeah
~ A Blog for Intellectually Excitable Readers!”
And it is.

He writes about finding a way to develop Native Theory, chats about Foucault, ponders about power/knowledge and ruminates on what it is to be a Native American. I enjoy it immensely and although I am not his target audience I find a similarity between what he talks about and what some of my friends talk about.

It reminds me of my friend Bella Graham who died 4 years ago. She was a committed Focauldian and wrote about Maori identity. In particular Ngati Hako identity.

Her last presentation was about the ways Maori are identified and colonised through images of tourism. It’s a topical idea still, as we as New Zealanders host the, somewhat overhyped, Rugby World Cup. A friend commented that it was painful to see the hype of the opening ceremony and the money that was spent using people from South Auckland (mostly Maori and Pasifika) who despite our famous cries of “it’s all right here” belong to the poor and often disenfranchised of our country.
But that then too is an oversimplification because we also need and want to show and appreciate Maori. And many Maori are in fact middle class, so I’ve just perpetuated a myth. Well, no, it’s not a myth. Is it? And besides who are we to say what they should choose to do?

It’s tough. And on that note I am hoping to get along to the Tainui show at Te Papa which I gather celebrates the Tainui story as told by Tainiu (perhaps with some interpretation alas by Te Papa). And that’s what Bells was about. Telling her stories her way.

More Bells:

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