Mehrangiz Monsef, one of the research assistants and collaborators at Aging Activisms, is in New Zealand this week, attending the International Indigenous Research Conference 2016. Mehrangiz is attending the conference and learning about intergenerational, community based, and Indigenous research around the world! So much resonance with and so many lessons for our work with Aging Activisms. Mehrangiz has shared some reflections with us:
"Leading up to the arrival in New Zealand, we had layovers in Hawaii and Fiji. What really stood out for me there was the kindness, welcomingness, and love offered by the people met along our path. The same thing resonates here in Auckland, New Zealand.
What I've been reminded, too, is how significant one's culture is to one's survival and thrival! And that without such beauty and strength we are no one - we have no identity! Hence the importance of protecting & cherishing & searching for culture and cultural identity.
On the first day of conference, myself and other attendees were warmly welcomed into the Waipapa Marae in a Pōwiri (Traditional Māori Welcome) where I felt the hospitality, welcome and love from Māori community here in Auckland - a vibrant intergenerational community.
Later on in the day we heard from Linda Tuhiwai Smith, author of 'Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples,' who shared with us the change she has seen over the years in regards to research. One notable change being capacity - that researchers do not always come out of institutions, rather they are being supported by community - that is who keeps them going!
Something that stood out in Justice Joe Williams presentation titled "Returning to Our Beginning" was how in greetings, often you are asked about your dead and/or your ancestors - that is how people get to know you. You are who you are because of those before you.
Justice Joe also spoke to the importance of Indigenous Researchers and Indigenous value systems, as these elements are important today and more than ever - to Indigenous Peoples AND the whole world!
So grateful to be here. It is a great privilege & honour. A great responsibility too"