Asia-Pacific Indigenous Studies Seminar Series
July 8, 2022

For more information about the seminar series, please visit the event webpage at here.

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The APRU Indigenous Knowledges Working Group concluded the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Studies Seminar Series on June 24. Academics from APRU Universities members and other guest universities could have an insightful exchange of ideas and strategies to explore relevant topics around Indigenous knowledges worldwide.

As many as fifteen researchers working in a broad range of academic fields and community contexts presented their findings during five virtual events framed on the following topics: indigenous design and property regimes, reclaiming indigeneity, unsettling indigeneity, indigenous researchers forging flourishing indigenous futures, and inclusive education. They highlighted indigenous-led methodologies, indigenous language, and place-based research.

Dr. Fredy Grefa, Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), used the Ecuadorian government’s Planes de Vida project to illustrate that well-intentioned initiatives may lead to an opposite outcome. Grefa spent two months researching in the Amazonian area covered by the Planes de Vida project. The project’s stated aim is to identify where the government should invest in infrastructure, socioenvironmental projects, and institutional build-up to meet the needs of Amazonian peoples.

“I have found that indigenous concepts, methodologies and practices were absent and that the needs to comply with the timeline and formalities of state prevented the inclusion of Amazonian peoples,” Grefa said.

Dr. Mohi Rua, Co-Director of the Māori & Psychology Research Unit, The University of Waikato, contextualized the precarity in the lives of the Whanau (Māori) and explained the government’s primary responses to precarity. “The precariat is defined by insecure employment, income insecurity, fewer political and economic rights, with Whanau having to perform a lot of work outside their paid jobs in appeasing the state, such as by queuing and form-filling,” Rua said.

“The main responses to poverty are economic growth, which actually constitutes a pyramid scheme; crisis management through reliance on charity and philanthropy; government policies, such as aid for families; and the call to simply get a job to escape the poverty trap” he added.

Moreover, Huiyu Lin, PhD Candidate, University of Washington, shared her insights on reclaiming Taiwan’s Indigeneity and Indigenous language reclamation. “We must focus on Indigenous perspectives and how they make sense and the importance of understanding the nuances of a specific community,” Lin said. “We have to cultivate an equal, authentic and reciprocal relationship between community and researchers,” she added.

Presenters in the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Studies Seminar Series were

  • Dr. Fredy Grefa, Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ)
  • Dr. Luke Hespanhol, Senior Lecturer in Design, The University of Sydney
  • Prof. Linda Waimarie Nikora FRSNZ, Professor Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand Māori Centre of Research Excellence, The University of Auckland
  • Prof. Tahu Kukutai FRSNZ, Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand Māori Centre of Research Excellence, and Professor of Demography based at Te Ngira – Institute for Population Research
  • Prof. Jenny Lee-Morgan, Director of Ngā Wai a te Tūī Māori and Indigenous Research Centre, UNITEC Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Mohi Rua, Co-Director of the Māori & Psychology Research Unit, The University of Waikato
  • Dr. Shaun Awatere, Kaihaūtu Māori Research Impact Leader for Manaaki Whenua: Landcare Research, a Crown Research Institute
  • Ms. Ja Yung Kim, PhD student, University of Auckland
  • Ms. Huiyu Lin, PhD Candidate, University of Washington
  • Prof. Brian Klopotek, Associate Professor, University of Oregon
  • Ms. Karminn Cheryl Dinney Daytec Yañgot, Teaching Fellow / PhD student, University of the Philippines
  • Dr. Elga Andriana, Researcher, Lecturer/Dr, Universitas Gadjah Mada
  • Dr. Indra Yohanes Kiling, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Universitas Nusa Cendana
  • Prof. David Evans, Professor of Special and Inclusive Education, The University of Sydney
  • Prof. Jodie Hunter, Associate Professor, Massey University

Moderators were

  • Prof. Adrian Little, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), The University of Melbourne
  • Prof. Welyne Jeffrey Jehom, Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Malaya
  • Prof. Jessica Bissett Perea, Associate Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis
  • Prof. Celina Solís, PhD candidate, The University of British Columbia

For more information about the seminar series and the APRU working group on Indigenous Knowledges, please visit the event webpage here or contact us at [email protected].

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