Day 8: Mana Full

Waitere, H. & Johnston, P. (2009). Echoed silences: In abstentia: Mana wahine in institutional contexts. Women’s Studies Journal, 23(2), 14-31.

I am labeling this article as source material and at this point, at this time, this article is here for a purpose, as source material for me to contemplate, to cite and to write in response to. The notes therefore, look crazy. I am breaking protocol and revealing my true writing process that is messy and disorganized. I am not an outline person. I always felt that English teachers who made me write outlines first were just being mean and trying to punish me for writing and collecting source material like this. It's a good thing I outwitted them by writing my outline last to comply while still doing things my own way.

What is Sacred AND Connection to Current and Future Work:

“Putting the onus on indigenous peoples to speak, then, without a concurrent focus on the social conditions that afford a hearing, in effect, renders the speaker mute.” (14)

“We would argue, therefore, that the ability to hear is significantly effected by shared spaces that traverse socio-political histories, linguistic, cultural and yes -- theoretical, epistemological and ontological airwaves which connote levels of resonance or dissonance in the auditory range of the listener.”

Puanani Burgess’ “Choosing my name” as a way to mark the struggle over the power to name, claim, define and theorize our lives (Smith, 1999) - Smith, L. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Dunedin: University of Otago Press.
Burgess, P. (1998). Choosing my name. Reprinted in E. Chock (Ed.). Growing up local: An anthology of poetry and prose from Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bamboo Ridge. The poem as a demonstration of the ways in which we see and describe ourselves and how others see and describe us. The bifurcated gaze results in a myriad of positions that at times collide, sometimes complement, and at times muddy what might otherwise form neat distinctions and boundaries. (I would say that the borderlands - Anzaldua, my own work to define kuahuokala - the sanctuaries within the institution as our own borderland concept - that we are able to traverse through comes from the naming of ourselves which results in a way for us to mark the struggle over the power to name, claim, define and theorise our lives (Smith, 1999).

Writer notes: (being conscious and transparent about the coming organization)
We move on to look at what mana wahine means to us before locating it within the broader Maori positions being articulated in academia. We then turn to outline our focus on absenteeism before returning, in the style of cyclic reflexivity, to consider the centering of mana wahine before drawing the paper to a close with a canonical refrain. (perhaps I need to get better at mapping destination within a paper, and create enough ahu along the way to keep readers - and me - from wandering off as I am like to do)

How the authors read the poem and incorporate it p. 16 “While the poem serves the purpose of reflecting on our childhood in institutional contexts it also helps us identify other forces at play in the ‘naming’ of Christabelle, Yoshie and Puanani. These names mirror the ‘dead ends,’ ‘cul de sacs,’ crescents and avenues that this paper explores in terms of Maori women and their positions within institutional settings. Christabelle signals a ‘dead end’ - to know one’s self as the colonised other, to bear witness from a position of relative safety, the cultural genocide of our view of the world, subjugated to the political and imperial filters of another - to bear witness to the demise of the mana of wahine Maori in institutional contexts. Historically Christabelle and Yoshie have represented the forces of supplication and domestication (names drawn from dominant vernaculars) that discriminate. We have come to know such forces as colonisation, imperialism, assimilation, racism, subjugation and dependency.
(My thoughts: so it is the power of the naming of ourselves, of choosing mana wahine and the implication of that self-naming, the donning of our shield and gear as a way that we were going to navigate in this institution together, Hui Manako as a conversation in naming, in capturing for ourselves all of our chosen armor. - not sure if we are in battle, but perhaps we are in a battle to be heard, not just be present- ho'olohe with you whole body as Uncle Moke Kim says.)

Highlighted quotes:
It is not uncommon for many Maori women in institutional contexts to continue to struggle against the precepts of colonisation, to find the spaces in which they are able to pose questions, write and theorise without the constant pressure of assimiliation working under the weight of institutional norms that remind us of our ‘abnormalities’. (17) - I think this is more for the David paper than the Makalapua paper

Mana wahine is a connective highway. The question of our presence and our absences is thus predicated not only on our physical presence but also on the structures and processes that constrain our very ways of knowing and engaging with the world [as Wahine Maori].
(Makalapua paper - again 17)

Find a way of acknowledging the mana of others in ways that do not denigrate my or our own because clearly that is unacceptable (18) - David paper - the hoihi - why it is important to acknowledge the sacred in others

For Makalapua paper: In whatever context, mana wahine is not, nor has it ever been, about changing the sex of the winning team. Mana wahine is much more complex than that; it is about recognising the dignity and authority of women, and yes, often that means engaging in political work to ensure that the same dignity is recognised by others. (18)

Mana is thus recognised as an integral component of encounter between people, and in the relationships that link cosmological, spiritual, human and physical elements. The origin of mana emerges from the earliest cosmological narratives and extends beyond simply human interaction. Increased mana is a collective exercise in which individuals and/or collectives elevate their mana by collecting recognition of significant acts or enabling processes rather than by self-ascription. Mana embodied in self and other is as much about authority as it is about power.  (Right there, that is the sacred and usable - Increased mana is a collective exercise. . .)

For David paper - Physical presence does not equate to being included, nor does it contribute to a secure identity (20) from 19 - Often, however, we are absent in the forums that attempt to give us a voice to resolve our dilemmas. Where we are physically present, we are often vocally absent, while in the spaces where we are vocal, the forces of the already powerful act to deny our physical presence (19) Back to 20 - Durie (M. Durie, 1997) in advancing a Maori-centered approach, explicitly argues that biological survival alone will not ensure our cultural presence. Durie maintains that other factors need to be present, what he refers to as three principles of underpinning a Maori centered approach i)whakapikitanga - enablement ii) whakatuia - integration, and iii) Mana Maori - Maori control, drawing on the concept of tino rangatiratanga - Maori self determination.

In regards to enablement - In the context of research, the first principle posits activities that “should aim to enhance people so that either their position improves as a result of the research or they are better equipped to take control of their own futures (Durie, 1997, p. 10). The second principle recognizes holistic Maori views linking well-being, culture, economics and social standing into a matrix that takes account of the individual, the collective and the complex interactions between past and present.

From whose centre does the word emerge, who has the right to speak and most significantly, who will be heard? - Is this the question that I want to answer?

What would mark our attendance - thus removing us from the list of absentees - where women can say their names, imagine their significance, their history, and their connectedness to wider events and circumstances. Simply turning up, taking up our right to be present marks movement toward the realisation of mana wahine (the dignity of being an Indigenous woman) in institutions that have historically shut us out. My words - the power of Mana wahine - We seek to know that we are not alone, to seek support of other Indigenous women, to challenge them also about their own beliefs and practices that might contribute to our own denigration (not this line - I don't want to talk about hegemony, how do I re work this), and to be safe to do so.

Durie, M. (1997, July). Identity, access and Maori advancement. Keynote address at New Zealand Educational Administration Society Research Conference, New Directions in Educational Leadership: The Indigenous Future, Auckland.

Note to self: highlighted article and notes housed in Evernote Read and Highlighted under Echoed Silences


Popular Posts