As our beautiful earth stirs and shifts in painful ways, it is significant that in this moment, we gather in the region known as Mni Sota Maḳoce (the land where the waters reflect the skies). These are the homelands of the Dakota people and Oceti Šakowiŋ who have loved and cared for their places for generations, along with the Ojibwe whose prophecies led them, thousands of years ago, along a migration route until they reached this place “where the food (manoomin) grows upon the water.” Yet these are also lands and peoples who have experienced the violence of coloniality, from war and mass execution to land removal, schooling traumas, and language restrictionism—in other words, the dehumanization and desacralization of life and being, the human and more than human. What then does it mean to arrive to a place like this? What does it mean to recognize the very lands upon which we step? What kinds of ideas and tools might we hope to gather in order to embrace the responsibility?
Over a decade ago in “Ekolu Mea Nui” and based on her ongoing work, Kanaka Maoli konohiki and scholar Manulani Meyer wrote—“There is always something stimulating and exciting when Native peoples meet. We have distinct ways of behaving, speaking, eating, and listening to each other. There is a tacit understanding of life we all seem to share. We are aware there is something positive happening on the planet and we know we have a role. We are linked by our different-sameness and draw nourishment from this idea of interconnectedness.” She also wrote that in coming together, we are given the chance to see each other and to see ourselves, and to share healing stories that help us to “get clear.” And, as she said—“when we get clear, the world gets clear.”
We invite you to sit with Indigenous educators as we work to get clear. On the first evening of the CIES annual meeting, we share stories of relationshipping across our places as we build conversation with each other that deeply considers purpose, including the ethic and practice of what Manulani Meyer refers to as “loving land, serving people.” Drawing from our Dakota, Ojibwe, Kanaka Maoli, Tewa, Onkwehón:we, and Quechua epistemologies, we discuss meanings of land, community, nationhood, personhood, and transformation in order to hold space with participants that honors good connection with each other and with all our precious relatives.
Lo•t^t Honyust is Wolf Clan of the On^yote’a•ká• (Oneida Nation). Since 1999, he has served his community in Oneidatown, Ontario, Canada as an Oneida Language and Cultural Instructor and teaches at Tsi’niyukwalihó•t^, also known as the Oneida Log School.
Manulani Aluli Meyer is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer who grew up on the sands of Mokapu and Kailua beach on the island of O’ahu and along the rainy shoreline of Hilo Palikū. The Aluli ohana is a large and diverse group of scholar-activists dedicated to Hawaiian education, restorative justice, land reclamation, ohana health practices, cultural revitalization, arts education, prison reform, transformational economics, food sovereignty, and Hawaiian music. Manu works in the field of indigenous epistemology and its role in world-wide awakening. Professor Aluli-Meyer obtained her doctorate in Philosophy of Education from Harvard (Ed.D. 1998). She is a world-wide keynote speaker, writer, and international evaluator of Indigenous PhDs. Her book: Ho’oulu: Our Time of Becoming – Hawaiian Epistemology and Early Writings is in its fifth printing. Her background is in wilderness education, coaching, and experiential learning, and she has been an Instructor for Outward Bound, Hawaii Bound, a coach for Special Olympics in three states, and a passionate advocate for the Hawaiian Charter School movement. Dr. Aluli Meyer has been an Associate Professor of Education at UH Hilo and spent five years in New Zealand as the lead designer/teacher for He Waka Hiringa, an innovative and accredited Masters of Applied Indigenous Knowledge at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, the largest Māori university with 30,000+ students. Dr. Aluli-Meyer is currently working at UH West O’ahu as the Konohiki of Kūlana o Kapolei, a movement developed by Hawaii Papa O Ke Ao (University of Hawaii Systemʻs initiative) to help contextualize higher learning within a Hawaiian world-view. Manu is a wahine kalai pohaku (stone carver) along with lei ano and lei hala maker (seed leis). She is dedicated to Indigenous Food Sovereignty and works to bring the coconut back into daily use. She is also a 30+ year practitioner of hoʻoponopono who appreciates and learns from the purpose and function of conflict.
Thomas Peacock is the author of a dozen books on Ojibwe history and culture, Native education, racism, and fiction. His latest works include Walking Softly, The Fire, The Tao of Nookomis, The Dancers, The Forever Sky, Beginnings and The Wolf’s Trail. His books have garnered awards, including two Minnesota Book Awards, Multicultural Children’s Book Award (National Association on Multicultural Education), and Indie adult fiction writer of the year (2020 Minnesota Library Foundation for The Wolf’s Trail). He has his M.Ed. and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Harvard University. A member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, he lives with his wife Betsy in Duluth, Minnesota and Red Cliff, Wisconsin, where he is co-publisher of Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing, specializing in Indigenous children’s books.
Iyekiyapiwiƞ Darlene St. Clair is an Associate Professor at Saint Cloud State University where she teaches American Indian Studies and directs the Multicultural Resource Center. Her work focuses on several areas: Dakota Studies; Native Nations of Minnesota; the integration of Native cultures, histories, and languages into curricula and educational institutions; the arts and cultural expressions of Native peoples; Dakota places and sacred sites; and anti-racist pedagogy. She is Bdewakaƞtuƞwaƞ Dakota and a citizen of the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota.
Porter Swentzell is from Santa Clara Pueblo where he grew up participating in traditional life in his community and developed an interest in language and cultural preservation. He is chair and associate professor of Indigenous Liberal Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and serves as a Regent for Northern New Mexico College and on the board of the Native American Endowment Fund. His research and teaching focus on Indigenous place-based educational practices, critical geography, and Indigenous sovereignty.
Discussion facilitator: Elizabeth Sumida Huaman is Wanka and Quechua from the Mantaro Valley, Peru and Associate Professor of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She studies the relationship between Indigenous lands, cultural practices, and in and out-of-school learning with Indigenous communities and institutions in the Americas. Centering Indigenous knowledge systems, her work examines the structures of modernity and impacts of development, and explores Indigenous community-based educational design, generative environmental pedagogies, and the many frames and practices of decolonial Indigenous rights. She works on Quechua research methodologies and writes in fellowship with other Indigenous research methodologists worldwide. Her most recent publications include “Indigenous education and sustainable development” (with Porter Swentzell) in the Journal of American Indian Education, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Research Methodologies (with Nathan D. Martin, Canadian Scholars’ Press), and the special issue, “Indigenous women and research: Conversations on Indigeneity, rights, and education” (with Tessie Naranjo, International Journal of Human Rights Education).