Aging Activisms researcher, Mehrangiz Monsef recently attended the International Indigenous Research Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Mehrangiz shared some reflections on the conference in an earlier blog post, and has shared some more reflections below. This post, like the previous one, shows much resonance with our work and research here at Aging Activisms.
"The best part about day two was hearing and learning from the Anishinaabekwe (Anishinaabemowin for: Indigenous Womyn) of Turtle Island and ways in which they are practicing their Indigenous Laws when it comes to Nibi (water) & essentially all of life!
It was clear for me how Indigenous Peoples doing their work using Indigenous Laws outside and inside the institutions is part of decolonizing legal systems, and decolonizing our world.
Sue Chiblow reminded us to use the title 'protectors' instead of 'protesters' to refer to folks that are working as protectors of life and things that sustain us. Her message was for Indigenous folks to seek out their Elders, ceremonies, and teachings as a way of accessing ones own Indigenous Laws.
During day 2 of the conference, there was also a focus on action-based research. This theme came up in the 3 minute thesis competitions, where the winner, Toira Williams, shared how he was going to make his research accessible by making a documentary in addition to his dissertation.
The third day of the conference included a presentation from T'esots'en, Patrick Kelly, a Leq'a:mel First Nations person who reminded us that their Nation has a 50,000 year-old history spanning 500 generations, compared to Canada as a nation - with 8 generations. He also spoke to the importance of a clear vision for research, and doing work that encourages and supports finding, honing, and sharing specific strategies to help us get there!
General themes I've taken away from the conference include: changing our language (i.e., from ownership to protecting rights); the importance of action-based research; encouragement to be 'wise' in what you do/how you do it, rather than being 'the best'; tapping into/reconnecting with ancestral knowledge & connecting with the youth and on a community level to inspire/ensure collective sense of wellbeing and more sustained/strengthened communities!