Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
The theme that sticks out the most is that there is a lot of emphasis on the negative effects of having been colonized by the United States of America. With the westernized influences that has corrupted the integrity of being a CHamoru. It has turned a people that was self-sustainable to being dependent on the imports of food and goods.
The CHamoru people have lost land, culture, language, native species of plants and animals and the list goes on. When will the CHamoru people see that we are losing who we are as a people of Guam?
Decolonization is happening. We need to be prepared to make the change and ONE PEOPLE…The CHamoru people.
Initially I thought I was going to get a bunch of pictures from all political statuses; but that didn’t work out. some people didn’t want to be affiliated with the pictures and some pictures were… not in good taste or irrelevant to the topic.
…but people were contributing to the conversation. It was awesome to just have people ask a question about what I was doing. they may have said they didn’t know and I was that first line to educate them on the differences on political status.
So when the time comes to make that change in our political status, we can move forward together.
Listening to this program was very interesting and informative. I, personally do not know in detail what is happening with the political status of the state of hawaii. I can understand it only from the recent perspective of this class and what I know and can relate to it, from what is happening with Guam’s political status. The answers to the questions below are from my personal perspective and is not to offend or discriminate on anyone. I will just be expressing my interpretation of the situation.
How do you think social workers should or should not participate in this discussion? Do you think NASW Hawai
i should come out in support of one particular position?
-Social Workers should 100% be a part of this process. They should however come from a neutral standpoint to help aid in the direction of the people of Hawai’i. I believe it is the duty of a Social Worker to facilitate the objective dissemination of information to aid in the process to self governance. I think NASW HawaiI Chapter should, if they are not already be a part of this process to educate the public on the future of Hawai`i.
What differences in language did you notice in the readings and in the video in regards to sovereignty, de-occupation, federal recognition, etc.?
-The reading was very informative, there was some terms and concepts that I had to research to better understand. The reading went back and forth on stances in how to address situations or dilemmas within the state of Hawai’i or the Kingdom of Hawaii. While the video presented itself with a panel of individuals that have different interpretations of the direction Hawai’i should go. I found this very interesting, considering Guam also is going through this dilemma.
While engulfed into this reading I started to jot down notes. These note stuck out to me because in the context of the use of the words native, blood criterion, blood quantum and plebiscite. All of these words separate people living and have lived in one place for a very long time. The direction of the island should, go in one direction as ONE PEOPLE, but I don’t really see it happening until there is unification.
I only say this because we have this problem back home in Guam. Our people are divided in the direction Guam should go, and there is a huge population that just don’t care. So when we do choose where Guam wants to go, everyone on the island; whether they chose that direction or not, has to deal with it.
I believe it is necessary for everyone that is affected (resides on the island) should be a part of the direction of the Island. This can be achieved through education and outreach.
How do you think you can and should participate in advocating around this issue? Have you previously participated in advocacy work around this issue?
-first off, as an advocate you need to know about the issues. Then all the issues that are revolving around it. I have been around issues like this on Guam. I have exposed myself to all political status parties to better understand the assortment of direction the island can head to. I have learned that people do want the best for the island. Yet, there are still people amongst them that have individual or political gain from these directions.
Where do you personally stand on the issue? Did the video and readings help clarify this?
-first off, this is my own opinion, I am not a resident, nor am I an indigenous person from the Hawa
iian islands. But I do believe that the people of Hawaii should have its own control and self governance. I do feel like there is a separation of people, and I believe that all people residing on the island are Hawaiians by virtue of calling Hawai`i home.
I have this perspective because I am a social worker and a indigenous CHamoru man. I support the people and the decision the people make for the greater good of the future as a COLLECTIVE.
Were you previously familiar with the Indian Child Welfare Act?
-I heard a little about it about it years ago with a fellow Marine venting about how the Indians on his reservation were treated. He talked about how they had programs and laws to protect his people, yet the state always seems to contradict itself when disparities and the disenfranchised is brought up.
What did you think of the different interviewee perspectives in the video?
The video provides insight on how the media could interpret information from a different lens, doubting and questioning the perspective of cultural preservation and the relationship with child and parent. From my own perspective I see this as a GAP between the westernized perspective of what is best for the child and what is best for the people of tribe. As a child of this particular tribe, the Cherokee Nation I mean having the bloodline of the tribe is very significant. As a people that are a indigenous and a minority, the preservation of its people needs to be respected. It should not be up to the courts to alter the Indian Child Welfare Act. From a western perspective, we want the best for the child yet, what is the best for the child and who’s perspective should we use to decide this?
What do you think about the Supreme Court’s decision on Baby Veronica?
-I think one, it was recognized that the baby was a member of the indian tribe, court officials should have started defaulting to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Because policy was not followed, there were concerns of the childs mental development and wellbeing. The policy was created to protect a preserve disenfranchised peoples, and this case did not follow the spirit of the law.
This case went longer then it needed to be. Especially since the father was a registered member of the Cherokee Tribe. The determination and reconsideration of this case definitely puts strain on all parties and risks the development of the child because of the lack of cultural competence and policy understanding.
How does colonization play into this case and eventual decision?
-due to colonization there is imposed wills and political agendas. Because of this there is limited of a lack of cultural sensitivity to an indigenous belief and way of life. In addition to what he perspective from the colonized lens from the lens of an indigenous person(s). The decision did allow a people to thrive, but it did cause a people to suffer from western ideology and ignorance to cultural sensitive issue.
I apologize for the tardiness of this assignment, I was in the woods of Philadelphia helping heal with a bunch of Veterans.
* How do these research methods differ from other research methods you are familiar with?
– From an academic perspective which is primarily a western perspective it is the baseline of my conscience knowledge of research methods, which is concise, orderly and objective. Meanwhile, my unconscious knowledge from the perspectives of the cultures I identify with are very much subjective from the aspect of a western perspective. I feel like there is a huge gap between understanding both perspectives. What one may perceive to understand may be hindered by a culture lens of understanding.
For example, Guam just celebrated its Liberation day anniversary a month ago. It’s a great day for celebration; yet, some indigenous CHamorus from Guam will argue that Guam was not liberated. It was colonized. And this is recognized as more of a framework perspective rather then a misunderstanding. To these indigenous people, they believe that one power just took over another, that here was no true freedom given, rather it was just and hand exchange.
A western perspective allows Social Work to be objective, yet in hindsight both sides are subjective.
* Do you think all of these methods are fully “decolonized” – why or why not?
-absolutely not, I feel like indigenous perspectives will always be viewed as subjective, compared to a western perspective or lens. Although, it is these indigenous people that have to live each day in the forefront of their situation, while western scholars interpret what they perceive rather than living it themselves.
* Do any of these methods resonate more with you than others?
-All of them do. I feel, that taking this class, it revolves more around indigenous people rather then my own people. This has given me the opportunity to think about indigenous people from an outside perspective. Especially how most of these classes and presentations revolve around the Hawaiian culture and perspective, I am left decoding unfamiliar references and cultural norms I am no familiar with.
I understand these methodologies were designed to better understand indigenous people, but this will always come from an outside perspective. Even in my writing, about my own indigenous people; I am left describing something I know, I feel, I live… in a western perspective.
* How might your identity as native or non-native impact your research with indigenous groups?
-As a CHamoru man, in the pursuit to understanding who I am and where I come from I am left asking these questions from a western perspective. I was influenced by a western culture and what ever was on the television. I acknowledge this because of my mentality and my accent. I was very much influenced my modern technology and what was hip on the television back in the 90s. I identify as a native to Guam, but doing research for a Chamoru studies class, to truly indigenous people with pure blood lines to the land, I am left feeling like an outsider. Through my research I am still attempting to understand the people with a western perspective. I am still looked as an outsider, which gives me the perspective of an outsider.
Have you always thought of history and research as generally “good”? Has your perspective changed after this week’s reading and video? How?
Webster Online defines Research as: inquiry or examination. I see this as a method of understanding something thoroughly and objectively. As a social change agent or an advocate it is necessary to have all the information before you approach in your cause. I personally do not feel comfortable in addressing issues I do not know about and I would feel more comfortable in being immersed in these ideas to effect change accordingly.
In my personally view, Ms. Michelle Fine had me questioning statements of reform. Especially about the experience of ankle bracelets and the “master zone”. Its comments like this that make me truly want to do thorough research; and I could not find anything on it. (Please direct me to factual information if it exists.)
Ms. Smith lecture was really long and dry. I understand that some people may not have the experience in “decolonizing methodology”, but her examples did not connect with me. It is also possible that my expectations were high after listening and reading Dr. Meyer’s work. The video, did not connect with me in the structure of what was being discussed. I was very easily confused on if New York and New Zealand were once connected. The description and title did not prepare audience for what was being discussed.
What do you think about Tuhiwai Smith problematizing the words: imperialism, history, writing and theory?
-I totally understand where she was coming from with this. We have the same problems on Guam. And the question most students come across when studying this is: who’s version of history is correct? Thinking from an indigenous perspective they may describe history in a different way based on their cultural belief while the opposing party may see it in a scientific or western perspective using their respective framework or context.
Winston Churchill said it best, “history is written by the victors”
How might you read or think about research now that you have read and listened to Tuhiwai’s discussion of research?
-I totally understand, especially as a Social Worker in the realm of research that participation is key, and participation can not be met without consent. While some researchers are thorough with being culturally competent and making sure that participants understand what is going on, what the data is going to be used for and how researchers are trying to be sensitive in a dynamic of humanity, the research is to help better understand a problem or issue that is not fully understood in order to eventually effect change.
I feel like colleagues in the research field need to be reminded of these principles. Thus the creation of the IRB to not replicate issues that have happened in the process and development of previous research like: Tuskegee and the Havasupai people.
I also understand that at times the methodology of our research may be compromised to find the truth. As a social worker I have always found this to be a dilemma. How far can we go, in order to increase the quality of life for individuals, groups and communities?
How might this information apply to social workers interested in doing research?
Refer to previous question.
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.
How have you learned what you have learned?
I have learned what I have learned through the knowledge and experience of others. At the same time allowing myself to create my own knowledge and understanding through trial, error and first hand experience.
Where does your knowledge come from?
My knowledge comes from oral history and interpersonal relationships. First hand accounts from other people that have experienced life. I have done this in a lot of the work that I have done inside and outside of the military. I feel like I am a sponge, absorbing the essence of knowledge to understand my own knowledge of subjects or experiences.
How do you think your western education has impacted your knowledge and how you learn?
Western education has given me structure in the way I look and analyze things. As a social work many of our tools are westernized in order to standardize our methods in a way it can easily communicate to others.
Have you gained knowledge in non-western ways?
I have, I believe in the obtaining knowledge; one is exposed to culture. Culture may intersect an individual’s pursuit of knowledge due to cultural limitations. When I was in Iraq, I gained so much knowledge and understanding of the people by becoming indigent, establishing rapport and putting a dominant western way of handling things to seek truth. I gained so much truth and respect by doing this, obtaining more knowledge then my predecessors.
What did you learn and how?
The video, taught me a lot. First, there are still good people out there that what to make a difference. I feel like the relationship Dr. Meyers had with her language, her culture and knowledge was so powerful. She conveyed her message in a way that was inspiring and palatable for the audience. It honestly made me want to learned the hawaiian language, but through this experience; made me what to learn more of my own language. Second, I learned that not everything has to be done empirically. By understanding the truth really is about the people, the practical becomes the framework.
How important might place-based knowledge be to the practice of social work?
This is very important. Especially working in rural social work. Establishing that rapport as a potential outsider, is key to the success of social work practice. For example, I would have never been successful if I didn’t get days of classes on cultural sensitivity, pre-deployment. This is relatable to a social worker being culturally competent. Any practitioner should invest time in understanding their population they are working in.
Why do you think Manu doesn’t want people to take written notes while she is speaking?
Dr. Meyers, seems like she took that in a biological and spiritual realm of understanding. Biologically talking about our brain processes and responsibility of both left and right hemispheres. But throughout her talk she talked about being enlightened spiritually by absorbing what she was sharing. I personally believe internalizing information is key to retention of knowledge.
How might that contradict with how we have been trained to learn?
Throughout my BSW program we had extensive instruction on human development. Focusing on the brain. In our assessments our BioPsychoSocial give us a template of understanding our clients. But to spiritually understand them, we have to understand where they came from and their influences. In a different spectrum of understanding we have to understand how they understand that information. Spiritual connection is not a scholarly subject that is dominant in our field but it is very much a part of out client centered approach to understanding our clients and their needs.
In addition, I would really like to meet this lady.
The options of this project were all really exciting. I cant help but think of the application of getting people exposed to Guam’s political status options. In just having open conversations with individuals this week on Guam’s political status many people wanted to know the options and benefits of them.
In this project I am proposing to inspire my audience with the photo voice project. I see this being the most beneficial to both the audience and my people of Guam, because of the direct connection it has on influencing and education the people of the island on the different political status options.
I will be focusing more on the “Independence” and “statehood” movement. Due to my affiliation with both parties. As a Social Worker I am not going to side with any particular movement, but allow myself to facilitate the information to better educate the audience as best as I can on the status options; with the help of participants.
I will be presenting this idea to these party groups via group chats on whatsapp utilizing random incentives I have collected over the past couple of months (free food).
Anyone interested in helping me out with a project for my grad school? I have a bunch of gift certificates/vouchers of various values as incentives.
All you have to do is:
-Take a picture of something that inspires you to side with the ____________ movement.
-write a blurb to communicate your thoughts to the reader
– (3-5) pictures with blurbs will get you a choice of one of the incentives as they are available.
Your pictures may stay anonymous if requested and published on my blog for school that is open to the public. The course is “decolonizing social work” at UH.
Deadline is Aug 20
The deadline is pushed to the 20th to gather and publish on one blog. I will not be censoring any of the submissions only to highlight thought process, influences, and/or lack of information.
My goal is to capture the essence of individuals/groups from Guam and their stance on the decolonization movement.
How do you experience privilege and power as a social worker?
How important is culture in the field/profession of social work?
How important are indigenous voices and practices in social work?
These were very interesting readings to absorb. I couldn’t help but think about the struggles I faced during my undergraduate studies. In our classes we always talked about topics like biases, oppression and the disenfranchised.
In the profession we choose, we also absorbs the boundaries and guidelines of the code of ethics. These ethics are the principles that make us Social Workers. Yet, at times we tend to lose sight of that because of our privileges, social status or ignorance.
The code of ethics itself is what got me into social work, it is what has validated my professional choice and it is the reason I continue and pursue the profession. One example of this is when I first got int this profession a Master Gardener (I was an Agriculture Student) told me that I am really good at gardening and farming…but have I thought of being a social worker? I sat and pondered about this for weeks until I told my counselor I was interested in this, not realizing my counselor was an LCSW. She told me to read the code of ethics, if I could agree to all of these principles; then pursue social work. So I did.
Another example is taking [social work : human sexuality]. They wanted to take me out of my comfort zone and insisted on having me attend a transgender drag show. It did not help that I was going through the DSM5 studying “gender dysphoria”. My privilege in being experienced in working in austere environments focusing on community development and social disparities , had nothing on the interpersonal relations with transgender individuals. I had no experience with it, that it made me look like I had a bias, in reality; I just had no experience.
This then leads to competency. As a social worker you can literally go into an environment with the biggest heart and try to affect change, and ruin everything your intentions aspired to do and ruin it because you didn’t know anything about your client population.
This also wraps around cultural competency. Being able to understand the limitations and restrictions as an outsider of a culture that you are trying to assist with. I personally have experienced this in multiple situations where cultural competency saved peoples lives. As an example; in the military I had a job to meet with local nationals ad war lords, in these meetings they have a lot of demands and I have to be able to broker these deals with the coalition forces and local nationals. Establishing rapport is a leading way to gain the trust of the people and nothing is more important than interpersonal relationships and respect for their culture. I gained their rapport by understanding and speaking the native language and practicing their cultural greeting practices. This is what gave me the edge as an operator in the service.
In my time working on social disparities in the Philippines I found myself trying to come up with ideas, programs and schemes to aid in lifting up the spirits of the homeless population in Baseco, Philippines. In doing so I felt like I was coming up with military strategy rather than a social work perspective. So I went into the city and spoke with the people. Listening to the indigenous people, rather then the YouTube videos and people that “heard” about the homeless in Baseco. Seeing Baseco first hand and meeting people from there; I was able to better understand the systemic issues that are affecting Baseco from the social, economic and political aspect.
I think oral history and first hand accounts from the indigenous people are more valuable and it is the truth from the eyes that see it; day in and day out.
What is your overall reaction to the film? Did you previously know about the Stolen Generations?
The concept of the Stolen Generations is still controversial in Australia. Some Australians deny the idea, while others recognize it and agree that these children and their families suffered greatly. Why do you think people deny this?
What do you think has been the impact on the Aboriginal community in Australia? Do you think it is something that should still be discussed today?
How do you think the history of the Stolen Generations might contribute to people’s experiences today in Australia?
How might you compare this story to what has happened in Hawai`i, Guahan, and other colonized places in the Pacific and Asia?