Whiteness: Naivety, Void and Control
Andersen, Chris; Hokowhitu, Brendan
CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: USES AND MISUSES OF INDIGENOUS “TRADITION” IN A CANADIAN UNIVERSITY Spring, 2001: A renowned architect has agreed to travel to the University of Alberta to engage in a visioning session, led by the University of Alberta’s Native Student Services, for a proposed “Lodge of Learning.” The session is meant to allow “all our spirits to come together in a good way with the blessings of the Creator” (the architect’s words). The session begins in what we are told is “the traditional way”2, part of which involves a smudging ceremony. Most of us partake in the event and, afterwards, the architect prattles on for a bit about being a warrior and “finding your warrior within.” I stifle a yawn as my eyes wander over to the food trays, looking for any cheese Danishes that might have escaped the many eager fingers attending this meeting. He finishes his opening remarks, and an eagle feather (another “traditional” device) is produced to act as a “talking stick” allowing you to speak, uninterrupted, when it’s in your hand. I amuse myself by trying to imagine any of my seven uncles – huge, labourhardened men – requiring a talking stick to make themselves heard, or to make others listen. Oh well…my family and I are Métis, and this seems to be a Cree thing. And when in Rome…The process begins and the feather is passed from hand to hand and voice to voice, in a clockwise direction (which, we are told, is also traditional).
Keywords: Indigenous; University; Authenticity; Brendan Hokowhitu; Dr Brendan Hokowhitu; Te Tumu; Maori; Māori; University of Otago; Métis; Canada; Chris Andersen; University of Alberta; Native Studies
Research Type: Journal Article
Permission kindly granted to reproduce this article from the Junctures editorial board.