Friday, December 21, 2012

Tautoko Idle No More

The value of Twitter, or at least the people I follow, is driven home by the Idle No More protests of First Nations fellow travellers in Canada. Their manifesto reads a follows...

We contend that:
The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between First Nations and the Crown who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.

We contend that:
Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

We contend that:
Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.

We contend that:
There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them.

Please join us in creating this vision.
I see crazed and crazy posts on the blog, but also reasoned and compassionate replies. In a world of re-indigenising humanity, this marks an important time.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Indigenous Geography of Disaster: two upcoming conference sessions

Kia ora koutou,
I’m organising two sessions on Indigenous Peoples and disasters…

Disaster Management Conference - Earth: Fire and Rain

Australian & New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference
Brisbane, 29th - 31st May 2013

Indigenous Insights on Disaster and Emergency Management

Threats to life, homes, businesses and the environment are ever present in the form of natural hazards. Indigenous Peoples possess great insight into these hazards with truly ancient wisdom accumulated through unique longitudinal studies evidenced by their successful occupation of their territories. Yet this knowledge has been almost universally marginalised through the processes of colonisation, epistemological racism, and a lack of capacity in the minimal research spaces that are available.

This session takes a first step in bringing this knowledge to the attention of disaster managers, first responders, researchers, policy makers and community leaders. We seek to collectivise our various experiences in mitigating the effects of disasters to the benefit of our own and other communities. We further wish to highlight reasons behind actual and perceived vulnerability of Indigenous communities and work towards improving their inherent resilience to recurring disasters.
Deadline: February 1st

Regional Conference of the International Geographical Union

‘Traditional Wisdom and Modern Knowledge for the Earth’s Future’

August 4-9, 2013, Kyoto, Japan


Indigenous responses to hazards and disaster: risk, recovery, and resilience

Recent disasters around the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’ have emphasised the risks all inhabitants face from ever-present natural hazards and their recurring disasters. Several recent events stand out for the scale of destruction and the severity of disruption to affected communities: tsunamis in Japan (2011) and Samoa (2009), and a series of earthquakes in Christchurch (2010-11). Climate change is expected to exacerbate flooding and bushfire hazards in Australia and sea-level rise remains a daunting challenge for the Pacific Islands.

Indigenous communities often find themselves more at risk to such hazards through histories of marginalisation, discrimination and poverty despite these communities possessing extensive knowledge of local hazards and maintaining collective memories of past disasters. This session aims to bring together aspects of Indigenous knowledge relevant to reducing exposure and surviving disasters. Contemporary experiences will also be examined for response and recovery approaches. Particular attention will be drawn to the increasing urbanisation of Indigenous communities, which exposes them to new and emerging risks, and how resilience to future disasters might be improved.

Deadline: January 15th

Any questions and queries, email me at

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 profile

In the interests of unashamed self-pimping, I have built up my profile. With the proliferation of web promotion, I'm kinda caught between an annoyance that I'm constantly messaged about things and people I don't necessarily care about and a recognition that I can't beat 'em.

I've found to be one of the more sober and useful professional research sites, and have now posted 8 papers, 4 presentations and 1 thesis chapter. Intend to post more, especially now that our earthquake research has entered a more developed phase with our work with Te Awa o te Ora starting to gear up.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

'Poverty is our friend': Kruger's position on Tuhoe history

Caught a little of a RadioNZ interview of Tuhoe negotiator Tamati Kruger on RNZ...

One comment stood out like the proverbial dogs bollocks.

'Poverty is our friend'.

Let me think about that for a nanosecond.


I have these strange conversation about resilience that simply asserts we are resilient because we're still 'ere. Of course what Kruger and others allude to is our history of endurance - through colonisation in Aotearoa - and our ongoing marginalisation.

That's not resilience, which is the ability of a social system to absorb shocks and disturbances before it must change its structure; it can also be interpreted as the time needed for any rebound.

I draw on the literature of socio-ecological resilience but ). Here's a few references:

Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for socio-ecological systems analyses, by Carl Folke.

An Interview with Neil Adger: resilience, adaptability, localisation and Transition

Am now delving into psychology which pioneered the concept in individuals coping with crisis, certainly an important avenue for Cantabrians.

But lets not make a virtue out of necessity. Coping with poverty is not designed to make you resilient. Harkening back to some old-school Marxism, it actually makes other people rich and resilient.

Of course, I don't for a moment think Kruger is that well-acquainted with the old friend of Tuhoe anymore...

Monday, December 10, 2012

NZ Geographical Society Conference, Napier, Dec 3-6, 2012

Lovely time hanging in the Bay, my old stomping ground, for this years New Zealand Geographical Society conference. I stayed in the Masonic, drinking Emersons Book Binder and perusing an almost up-to-date NYRB.

Missed the pre-conference marae noho at Matahiwi Marae, Clive, (the Green Marae, which I've visited on Tahuri Whenua hui-a-rohe). The visit was organised by the redoubtable Garth Cant and  
Marcela Palomino-Schalscha (We were hosting the annual Maori and Indigenous Doctoral Conference at Lincoln over the weekend). 

I met Professor Brian Murton, now retired, and cheekily asked for a picture. Didn't notice at the time but we hold our hands in the same manner, Kiwi politesse...

Simon Lambert

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