4a. Breaking Westernized Frameworks

Meyer quotes many other kumu and practitioners in her article – were there any quotes that resonated with you and why?
Wasted knowledge is a frivolous kind of thing. There are frivolous things, like, I think all of these talk shows for instance, are frivolous knowledge, [they have] no meaning. (Sonny Kinney, 5 May 1997)
-This quote sticks out to me because of the censorship of knowledge. Who is to say that knowledge is irrelevant. I can understand an isolated, closed-view and closed-cultured community censuring information, but that information could be valuable one day.
I make this comment because I have been to many countries in turmoil, a part of my job was to study history in order to develop strategic plans to affect change; I have seen historical knowledge disappear because of modern influences. This causing a loss in cultural identity. Coming home to Guam I really felt this while studying CHamoru Culture, Radical CHamoru history and history of the CHamoru Language through the University of Guam. I feel like my people are being disenfranchised due the idea coined my Winston Churchill , “history is written by the victors”. This tells us: the history that has been written was very subjective from primarily a one sided perspective.

Knowledgeable [is] knowing when to share and with whom to share—I think so. You don’t just give to anybody. Teaching carefully for ones that you choose. (Irmgard Aluli, 16 March 1997)
-This also resonates with me and is relative to the last quote. I feel like because of this censorship we have lost so much of our historical identity. As a young Chamoru boy I grew up learning bits and pieces of my culture and language. For the most part it wasn’t forced and at the time I had no drive to learn it. Now that I am older and with more interest in my own history.

What differences did you notice between how Meyer speaks (in her video last week) and how she writes. Was one of them more impactful to you and why?
-I feel like both approaches of transmitting information to the audience was very attractive and interpersonal. She captures the audience by making the topic and discussion relatable and capturing. She uses the hawaiian words as a mechanism to not only educate but create an environment where it is interactive. Repeating or internalizing hawaiian words. I think this is a very attractive style of teaching.

Shoots shes an educator-kine

What do you think about the seven principles of indigenous worldviews? Do you think anything needs to be added to that list?
-I think this is an awesome frame work to internalize to better understand the world in all of its beauty. I feel like these principles will connect you with the land, the people and like the ocean the world. Reading this article, I am left thinking how to make sure how to be relatable to a reader.
The first principle covers it a little. But I would like to expand on it from my own perspective. The pursuit of knowledge is an arduous task. Being objective instead of subjective. But I also think that is a western concept. Thinking more indigenously, we must think about the relationships we have with (person, place or things.) How words itself may not be enough to really understand and internalize messages or experiences.
For example, in Guam we have a word that is hard to conceptualize in just words, it is a sensation and a feeling, it also is an action. The word “Magddai” represents the feeling you get when you see someone or something and get a sensation to squeeze or hold. Most of the time people get this feeling when they see babies or cute things. But truly this is a practice and a relationship I’ve only seen pacific islanders do. In contrast, I have not seen any of my friends who are from the Anglo-Saxon decent do.

Is your academic worldview mostly informed by western or native worldviews? Why is that? Do you think it can and should change?
-I believe the process and methods reporting these world views is very westernized. Considering my academics, is very molded by western philosophies. But I believe my ability to become self aware is from indigent perspectives. I have the patience and drive to understand natives on their indigenous lands. I believe this is what makes me an effective social worker in rural and austere environments.

How will you share the new knowledge that you gain through this course?
-Honestly, I am blown away by Dr. Meyer’s presentations. I feel like she has put a lot of my personal feelings as a social worker into words, but also creating that relationship with my surroundings. She has made me want to be more of a indigenous advocate for my people of Guåhan. I thank Professor Mike Spencer for sharing Dr. Meyer with the class to give us a different perspective through indigenous eyes.

Saina Ma’asi
Shino.

We build communities by coming together.

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2 Comments

  1. Hello Raymond,

    I really liked how you explained how you have the ability to become self aware and that you feel this is from indigent perspectives and how this connects with how you have the patience and drive to understand indigenous people and their lands. I think this comes from the part of having empathy with indigenous people as you are an indigenous person living in your native land (please correct me if I am wrong) which allows you to being open in knowing the importance of helping understand different people which, as you mentioned in turn helps you as an effective social worker.

    Until the next blog,
    Aurea 🙂

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  2. Hi Ray! I can definitely relate to what you say is your ability to become self-aware from indigenous perspectives but your formalized education/academics are mainly westernized, as I share a similar experience with my own upbringing. In moving forward, I believe that so long as we have that continued patience and drive to carry on our individual cultures we are doing much more then we probably ever could. I believe in a time and purpose for everything and I’m sure that your becoming self-actualized now in this time is of a much greater purpose neither one of us can ever imagine. I look forward to hearing more about your ever changing and shaping worldviews and your experience in studying history. -Bella

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