Saturday, May 26, 2012

NAISA 2012

Just arranging tickets to this years Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conference in Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Connecticut, for June 3-6. The host institutions are University of Massachusetts Boston; Dartmouth College; Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP); University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Yale.

Looking forward to catching up with old friends. I'm presenting on the Wednesday, 'Indigenous Resilience to urban disaster: Maori and the 2010/11 Christchurch earthquakes', data coming out of our Lincoln projects on how Maori have been affected by the ongoing quakes (big aftershock of 5.49 yesterday).

Essentially, "The response and recovery of Māori to the massive dislocation of the earthquakes in Ōtautahi displays the strength and resilience of Māori cultural values and skills as well as the distressing effects of ongoing Māori economic vulnerability. The institutions of whānau, marae and iwi provided immediate and much needed help to more than just ‘their own’, and the values of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga were manifested in the actions of countless individuals and groups. 

However, any framing of Māori resilience as benefiting from generations of poverty – a callous on our collective lives – risks reifying the status quo of economic vulnerability, diluting our attention from a key component of resilience to hazards and disasters, namely asset wealth. Understanding Māori resilience as nuanced, place-based and culturally ‘attuned’ opens up possibilities for better disaster preparation and improved post-disaster recoveries than simply judging Māori response(s) and recovery(ies) according to assumptions of population stability or resistance to change. But understanding and manipulating the macro-economic context remains fundamental to improving the resilience of marginalised communities such as Māori and poses a continuing challenge to our efforts to reduce our collective vulnerability to what will be recurring events."

I update our earthquake research on a Lincoln webpage, 'Maori Resilience.'

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