2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

New Zealand: Maori and Native Decolonization in the Pacific Rim


Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Zoltan Grossman geography, Kristina Ackley Native American studies

Fields of Study: American studies, Native American studies, cultural studies, geography and study abroad


Winter: Enrollment Accepting New Students  Signature Required Contact faculty for more information.  

Credits: 16(F); 16(W)

Class Standing: Sophomore - Senior

Offered During: Day


Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith asserts, “Our communities, cultures, languages and social practices—all may be spaces of marginalization, but they have also become spaces of resistance and hope.” In this program we will identify and contextualize these spaces and the politics of indigeneity and settler colonialism. We will use the Pacific Rim broadly as a geographic frame, with a focus on the Pacific Northwest Native nations and the Maori in Aotearoa (New Zealand). By concentrating on a larger region, students will broaden Indigenous studies beyond the lower 48 states, and show common processes of Native decolonization in different settler societies. We will be studying decolonization through cultural revitalization, treaty relationships, and sovereign jurisdiction of First Nations. In order to examine the central role of Indigenous peoples in the region's cultural and environmental survival, we will use the lenses of geography, history, art and literature.

In fall, our focus will be on familiarizing students with the concept of sovereignty, working with local Native nations, and preparing to travel to New Zealand. The concept of sovereignty must be placed within a local, historical, cultural and global context. Through theoretical readings and discussion, we will move from nation building in America to Native forms of nationalism. We will stress the complexities and intricacies of colonization and decolonization by concentrating on the First Nations of western Washington and British Columbia.

In winter, we will examine the similarities and differences of Indigenous experiences in other areas of the Pacific Rim, including Aboriginal peoples in Australia, Pacific island peoples, and Tribal Filipinos. We will emphasize common concerns such as climate change, natural resource control, and the impacts of trade, tourism, militarization and cultural domination. For five weeks in winter quarter, most of us will travel to Aotearoa (New Zealand), where we will learn in a respectful and participatory way how the Maori have been engaged in revitalizing their language, art, land and politics. Through guest speakers and visits to Maori wharenui (communal social, spiritual, political centers), education centers, historical and contemporary public sites, and a Köhanga Reo (preschool Maori language program) we will build on our knowledge and work with Native nations.

Students will challenge post-colonial theory that merely deconstructs and move to a consideration of decolonizing practices. Our basic premise in this program is that those wishing to know about the history of a particular Native group should write with a purpose to be of support to these people today. Students will develop skills as writers and researchers by studying scholarly and imaginative works and by conducting policy research and fieldwork. There will be films and guest speakers that reflect important aspects of Indigenous experiences. The program will include a range of research and presentation methodologies such as the production of thematic maps (cartography) and other computer graphics. Students will be expected to integrate extensive readings, lecture notes and other sources in writing assignments.

Maximum Enrollment: 50

Study Abroad: New Zealand, 5 weeks, Winter, approximately $3,600. A deposit is due by week seven of winter quarter.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: cultural studies, geography, Native American studies and world Indigenous peoples studies.

Campus Location: Olympia

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
March 25th, 2010 This program is offered as Native Decolonization in the Pacific Rim: From the Northwest to New Zealand.