Day 6 Sacred Reading: Conscientization - Resistance - Transformation

Smith, G.H. (2003, October). Indigenous struggle for the transformation of education and schooling. Keynote presented to the Alaskan Federation of Natives Convention, Anchorage, AK.

What is Sacred:
This keynote talks about Kaupapa Maori and how that led and continues to lead to transformation in education and schooling in Aotearoa. I have heard Professor Smith speak several times, both in Aotearoa and in the United States. He is like Manu Meyer for the Maori. They both have truly profound words to share that are like church to me so like a good sermon, I found myself taking lots of notes and highlighting like an amateur. There is a lot of sacredness so Iʻm just putting it out there with some notes to myself. The source is above.

The revolution [in New Zealand] was not so much about the stunning language revitalization initiatives. . .these were merely the outward visible signs of a much more profound revolution. The ʻrealʻ revolution of the 1980ʻs was a shift in mindset of large numbers of Maori people - a shift away from waiting for things to be done to them to doing things for themselves: a shift away from an emphasis on reactive politics to an emphasis on being more proactive; a shift from negative motivation to positive motivation.

These shifts can be described as a move away from talking simplistically about ʻde-colonizationʻ (which puts the colonizer at the center of attention) to talking about ʻconscientizationʻ or ʻconsciousness-raisingʻ (which puts Maori at the center). These ways of thinking illustrate a reawakening of the Maori imagination that had been stifled and diminished by colonization processes. Amen!

ʻPolitics of distractionʻ - the colonizing process of being kept busy by the colonizer, of always being on the ʻback-footʻ, ʻrespondingʻ, ʻengagingʻ, ʻaccountingʻ, ʻfollowingʻ and ʻexplainingʻ. I have my own story of just this. I put my story in my AERA 2016 paper and want to re-work it for He Manawa Whenua

Antonio Gramsci (1971) - Hegemony is a way of thinking - it occurs when oppressed groups take on dominant group thinking and ideas uncritically and as ʻcommon-senseʻ, even though those ideas may in fact be contributing to forming their own oppression. (Steph - my non eye contact).  - woven in? Read! This is the best synopsis of hegemony. I know that I need to own this word and I finally understand it. I call this my eye contact Stephanie story. 

a critical element in the "revolution" has to be the struggle for our minds -- the freeing of the indigenous mind from the grip of dominant hegemony. Again, I need this for the paper. It is a yes, that is exactly what I have been trying to say moment. I think we need to acknowledge our own role in the colonization of each other. 

The term ʻdecolonizationʻ is a reactive notion; it immediately puts the colonizer and the history of colonization back at the ʻcentre.ʻ In moving to transformative politics we need to understand the history of colonization but the bulk of our work and focus must be on what it is that we want, what [is that] we are about and to imagine our future. Amen

transformation has to be won on at least two broad fronts; a confrontation with the colonizer and a confrontation with ʻourselvesʻ. This is what I have labeled as the ʻinside - outʻ model of transformation - in this sense, as Paulo Freire (1971) has reminded us, ʻfirst free ourselves before we can free othersʻ. Amen
Connections to current/future work:

Some of these ideas need to be woven in the papers I'm working on now, specifically the reworked AERA paper for the special issue about creating third space sanctuaries within the university, as well as the term politics of distraction and the transformational reminder that we must first free ourselves before we can free others.

For the special chapter I'm working on with the Mana Wahine about our dissertation journey, using the figure 2 of conscientization - resistance- transformation as well as the idea that the critical element in our revolution - the power of the dissertation in practice "has to be the struggle for our minds -- the freeing of the indigenous mind from the grip of dominant hegemony. "

Finally, he leaves me with questions that I want to explore more:

the need to focus on the process of ʻtransformingʻ, and on the transformative outcomes - What is it? How can it be achieved? Do indigenous people's needs and aspirations require different schooling approaches? Who benefits? Such critical questions, which relate to the task of teachers being change agents, must not only inform our teacher education approaches, they must also ensure the ʻbuy inʻ from the communities they are purporting to serve.

Kia mau ki te Kaupapa! (Hold fast to the Vision)
Note to self: stored in Evernote highlighted articles


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