Center for Native Health and Culture Celebrated Indigenous Knowledge Exchange Event
On Saturday, February 23, 2013, the Heritage University Center for Native Health & Culture partnered with the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) at University of Washington to host 160 people at the One Ocean, Shared Waters, Shared Knowledges event at Heritage University.
The gathering celebrated sharing indigenous knowledges and research partnerships for Indigenous health equity in Aotearoa (New Zealand), Hawai’i, and Turtle Island.
The event started with an Invocation by Heritage University student leader, Haver Jim. Next, the attendees were delighted with beautiful dancing and singing by Iksíks Washanalá of the Toppenish Creek Longhouse, who honored us with a lovely performance of the Swan Dance. All the girls did a fantastic job introducing themselves, and the audience enjoyed seeing the girls (age 3-18) dressed in their regalia. The girls’ teachers, Patricia Whitefoot, Marilee Jones, Marlene White, Eleanor Davis, described the importance of the girls’ regalia and of the spirit of generosity that guides their group.
Iksísk Washanalá made gifts for the visiting guests from New Zealand and Hawaii as well as all the elders attending the event. Heritage University Provost, Dr. Curt Guaglianone, gave all of the girls a gift from the Admissions department. Next the visiting scholars sang songs and told stories to share some of their Maori, Hawaiian, and Samoan cultures. Gifts were exchanged between the guests, Heritage University Center Director, Dr. Michelle Jacob and Heritage University President, Dr. John Bassett.
The guests gifted Heritage a Maori flag and several books to be added to the library collection. Raffles were held throughout the event with book bags and mugs as the prizes. The Heritage University Native American Club (HUNAC) provided the meal; elk stew, salad, and wild celery were among the offerings. After lunch, the visiting scholars gave presentations.
Dr. Papaarangi Reid spoke about the science traditions among Maori peoples. Dr. Tracey McIntosh spoke about incarceration of indigenous peoples in prisons. Dr. Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula spoke about Native Hawaiian Health. Dr. Melani Anae spoke about Polynesian Panthers and indigenous activism. Ms. Everdina Fuli spoke about collaboration and networking among Maori and Pacific communities.
After community members gave some comments, led by IWRI Director of Community Relations and Development, Polly Olsen. HUNAC students, led by President Debra Whitefoot, provided a song. Eleanor Davis offered a prayer to close the event. We are grateful for all the community members who attended and participated and we look forward to welcoming everyone to our next event.
Find out about our activities at our webpage: http://www.heritage.edu/Community/CenterforNativeHealthandCulture.aspx or on Facebook, where you can find us by searching “Center for Native Health and Culture.”
Story submitted by Michelle Jacob.