Doing a PhD with no white men

Doing a PhD with no white men

Our guest is Hana Burgess, Ngāpuhi, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi.

Hana Burgess   

My field of study is in Indigenous health. And so I’m quite interested, it’s essentially just thinking about being in good relation. Because when we’re in good relation, we’re healthy. So I’m thinking through how I think what I’m really interested in at the moment and what my PhD is about, as, I guess how we can be in relation as like, time as we move through time and technology changes. And we’re faced with all these new I know, things like genomics genomic medicine, genomic research, how science is moving into spaces where they can now you know, do stuff with our genes and what that means and how we be in good relation intergenerationally in these spaces, and where if at all, they fit in our worlds and with our aspirations as Indigenous people. So yeah,

Kerry Goring  Oh cool.

Patty Krawec  Have you really thought about because I’m all about being, you know, thinking about being in good relationship, you know, and how do we live as good relatives, but even the genomic piece of being good relatives to our grandchildren or great grandchildren? That’s, Yeah, I mean that’s real

Hana   Absolutely. Yeah. So it’s been very, it’s been really cool kind of being in the space, but also thinking intergenerationally because a lot of the conversations at the moment are very, like, risk and benefits here and now, but not considering that actually, this extends so much beyond us. It’s about our ancestors mokopuna, which is that next generation, so yeah,

Patty  So it’s more Indigenous focus, like more Indigenous academics are thinking this way,

Hana  Yeah I think so. Definitely. Especially because we’re thinking a lot around consent, and what consent processes would look like in terms of informed consent, because current current consent processes in research and looking based on the notion of like individual rights and individual autonomy. So it doesn’t take into account our kind of collective ways of being, because just because one person consents and gives their genetic information to say, a scientific research project that actually doesn’t cover the fact that our genes are associated with a broader whānau groups are our broader family groups. So that as well. Coming into the conversations, how can we navigate consent? Yeah,

Patty:  yeah. So what are you coming up with?

Kerry: I was just gonna ask, what’s the conversation around that that’s quite interesting.

Hana   Because a lot of people a lot of us are thinking about and there’s some really interesting conversations going on because we’re thinking about notions of collective consent and maybe going and having conversations without within hapū, or whanau, so family, hapū, which is kind of like subtribe, a larger family group and then our Iwi, but I think what we need to do is stop centering consent because this idea of consent is quite a Western construct where you can kind of ask for consent, sign it, and then it’s kind of done. So I think what we need to do, what we’re I’m thinking is that we need to move away from that and think about, because consent is coming to an agreement. And so thinking about actually we have ways as Indigenous people when we came to consensus, or to a collective in agreement, so instead of centering Western consent and be like, how do we make this Indigenous? kind of go back to our Indigenous ways of knowing and then think about how this could look in these contemporary contexts?

Kerry Yeah, very interesting. Could you give us an example of what it would look like in an Indigenous context? Like what are you some of your thoughts around that or, or, you know, going into the ancestral nderstandings, what comes up

Hana  One thing we have been one thing I’m talking about with my supervisors at the moment, so Dr. Donna Cormack and Professor Papaarangi Reid, who are my PhD supervisors, as we’ve been thinking about the pōwhiri process, which is like, so pōwhiri. I guess they often described as like rituals of encounter or how two groups come together. So whenever we have a gathering or a meeting, we have a pōwhiri, and the pōwhiri is a way in which we can kind of come together, establish our intent, and kind of be begin to be in relation. And so throughout the pōwhiri process, I guess it’s opened up with a karanga, which is a call from the woman where she draws in past present and future generations, and then we go on, then our tāne men will speak and there are multiple chances within these processes where we have an opportunity to state our intentions set any boundaries. If needed and really gather and come together in a way that acknowledges why we’re coming together. And you know, essentially through that process, we become one and we finish with a hongi, a harirū. And then we share a meal or a kai. So it kind of again, it’s like thinking about these processes that we have. And that’s just for one context. You don’t just do one and then that’s it forever. Look like that with multiple opening these spaces closing them.

Patty It feels like it slows things down a lot when you’re thinking about it that way.

Kerry Exactly. I was just going to add to that it seems to give multiple entries for a person to actually consent and get it on such a different level. So you know what I mean.

Hana Absolutely. And although we have speakers, they’re representing the group they’re representing the whānau, and actually a lot of us behind the scenes, a lot of the woman behind the scenes being like yes or no, but it’s a privilege to have tāne speaking on behalf of us. So it’s such a thinking how can we learn from this to think about consent and to think about if we want to at all engage with this kind of genetic and genomic research, the genetic genomic research

Patty well now we’re in Kim Tallbear territory

Kerry You took the words out of my mouth. We’re syncing  over the years you know that Patty, we’re starting to synch up right

Patty I can take any topic and make it about Kim Tallbear

Hana: Such a huge fan.

Kerry    We’re all huge fans.  What is coming up in regards to this when we think about consenting into a project like like this or doing this kind of mapping, what what is what is the sentiments and what is coming?

Hana I think for me, it’s kind of, I think it’s very different in Aotearoa because a lot of the questions we are asking are around like research ethics, they are around consent, it’s less about tribal membership or tribal belonging, which I know in other contexts you know, that’s where a lot of the conversations are being had. But for us, I think it’s a lot about ethics in this space. And how we can uphold our rights, our tino rangatiratanga, as Indigenous people and as Māori, but from my perspective, and I think the way that I’m thinking about genomics is that because I kind of fell into this space, because my supervisor will like this was like, because I’m into Māori Health, I’m into Indigenous health, Indigenous rights. And my supervisor was like, this is really massive. You know, this is something that we’re coming to terms with as Indigenous people in public health, like this could be something for you to explore. And I was like, I was like, Oh, I don’t know. I was like, ah, science, you know, freaking out about science a bit.

And then the more that I, I went away and I started thinking about it, and the more that I was thinking about genomics and all these kinds of issues, I was like, I was like, hang on, this isn’t a new issue. Like it’s often being treated as like a new issue, like, ah, we’ve got this new issue, how do we address it, but actually, the way that our genes are being framed,  our bodies as Indigenous peoples are being framed, I can see so many parallels and the way that our land has been treated, exploited, controlled through processes of settler colonialism as well as a lot as a lot about taonga, and resources.

And so last year, I did some work on the front line at Ihumatao which is, so there was a, I guess, a movement and 2019 because in terms of protecting some land in the Auckland region, and I was on the front line here, and we were having some amazing conversations about just protect protecting the land being on the front line, things around consent came up because the land is whanau land and I was thinking these are the exact same conversations that we’re having around genomics. It’s just, it’s just a different layer of our existence, or it’s just, it’s just a different. It’s an Yeah, it’s just a different layer of our existence. So they treat our bodies like they treat the land. And we know that and so when I’m thinking about the answers and how to navigate this, I’m thinking we’ve actually been dealing with these issues for centuries, for decades. And so instead of siloing genomics as the separate issue, thinking about it more broadly in terms of our Indigenous worlds and the impacts of science and capitalism, consumerism, commodification of our ways of being. Yeah. So that’s kind of how I’m approaching this is as a continuation of the impacts of settler colonialism.

Patty Well, and then that gets me to kind of how you came how I noticed you, I guess if we can put it that way. Because you had been talking about doing your PhD with a no white men.  That that intrigued me, that intrigued me because really, they dominate everything,

Hana everything

Patty they dominate, dominate, I can’t think of anything that they don’t dominate, like, not rightly, I just mean they’re just everywhere, you know, in all the libraries and all the shelves. So how is that going?

Hana Oh, that’s good. Okay, that’s been quite a journey that actually all started on Twitter. So I was um, so it was the third of December 2018. I’ve got the tweet here. And so I was early on and thinking in the space and I was just reading the literature I was doing a literature review, which is kind of like, what I’m not doing that anymore. I’m not really framing it like that. But um, I felt felt really uncomfortable because I was like reading all this literature from white men about their views on Indigenous peoples Indigenous health. And I was just like, this is not the story I’m telling, I don’t want to write about this. I’m sick of writing about it. I’m sick of hearing about it, even if what I know the importance of critique and the importance of engaging with these dominant narratives about us, but I was like, I can’t do it like this, I don’t want and so I took to Twitter.

And I didn’t have that many followers. And I was just like, well, like tweeted was gonna try going my whole PhD without referencing a white man. And this tweet, just, I hadn’t thought too much into it at that point, but I was like, I’m just gonna, I’m gonna tweet that. So I tweeted that and it just got so much response and a lot of great responses, which was awesome. A lot of people you know, commenting and support saying they wish they could do this or how’s it going to work or wishing me all the best, but what really, really interested me was the number of white people um responding and get being upset about this taking offense. And I was like, if this many white people are offended, I must be onto something. This must be important. This must be good, like.

So I was like, okay, so I started thinking about this more, and I was like, Oh, I actually wanted to talk. It’s actually quite interesting. Some of the responses because it really shows to me, I guess, the kind of environment we are in in academia and just the power that these white ideologies have. So someone commented, something along the lines of leaving out peer reviewed and critical literature, because the author is a white male seems to be fighting fire with fire and can introduce bias. So this kind of like false equivalence, and that somehow the violence of this, these worldviews and this this academic academic work coming out of white men, you know, which stems from white supremacy is the equivalent to me and Indigenous woman making space for Indigenous authors. And again, that introducing bias so the idea that I’m introducing bias into a, an unbiased objective space

Kerry the ridiculousness, you know,

Hana and there was just so much and then other people were like, you will be excluding relevant work. So the assumption without even knowing what field my research and that literature from white men will be the most relevant.

Patty That’s a really good point because you didn’t say what the topic was, you just posted without referencing white men. And yet, you’re going to be leaving out important people. Well, how do you know? Maybe I’m doing my PhD on djembe players? Yes. You don’t know what I’m going to be studying, so how do you know that white men are the de facto experts on this?

Hana That is the messages we’re getting from academia, you know that they are the experts and so it got me really deep into thinking about what citational practice so what are we actually doing when we cite so citational practice in terms of who and how we cite. And my supervisor suggested I read the book Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed , which is a great book, um, and Sara has a blanket rule of not citing any white men. And Sara talks about how sometimes you have to be blunt, you know, you have to be blunt in order to break the long standing habit, which is what and so I really loved that she, she did that it was really inspiring because she talked about this kind of like, this resistance to perpetuating these narratives and these these ideologies, but then I got stumped because I was like, Okay.

Not citing white man like, what does that look like? How would I actually do this? So I think okay, I have to and it took me a while because I there was questions around you know, as I think as, especially for me as an Indigenous woman positionality is so important, positioning yourself, positioning yourself in your work. And so I’m really used to that, you know, a lot of research. People don’t do that. You know, we read these articles you read this, what we don’t know. I mean, you can tell you can tell the worldviews that kind of come through, but it wasn’t really about white men as individuals, it was about these ideologies. So I was like, how can this, what would this look like? In my writing, um and what I actually came back to was, was my methodology was my kaupapa Māori methodology about being in good relation and about whakapapa so in Māori our world our worlds are based on this concept of whakapapa, which is often translated to genealogy, but essentially through whakapapa, our whakapapa can explain the origins positioning and future of all things. And so the word Papa so, whakapapa, Papa means base or foundation and whakapapa denotes the foundation and a layering or adding to that foundation. So rooted in creation generations layer upon each other. And this is kind of how we understand our worldview because through whakapapa all of existence is connected. So we are all in relation right. So this is kind of how we come to being, being in relation.

Patty I like that description of the layers because I think, and I think that I mean, as an Anishnaabe person that’s very familiar to me.. You know, these ideas of the generations before and the generations after, I think, you know, the idea of these layers that kind of reach back, back and forth, I think, you know, that’s me sense to me, that’s very consistent with what I hear, you know, from my own Anishnaabeg people and that’s a lot of what I hear from Kerry  talking about her own ancestral ways.

Kerry We reference our ancestors as well, and truth, you know, know that we stand on their lineage that is, you stand on the lineage is the lineage that is coming. And we also know that that is so important to be able to bring into your future and

Hana absolutely,

Patty I was gonna say this idea of being in good relation. That’s very, I think almost universal among, you know, among land based land based peoples, right? You know, because that’s that’s how we survive. You can’t survive in a land based way of living without being in good relationship with people and you know with not people.

Hana With that, yeah with humans and more than human whanaunga, our relations. So in and Māori we have the concept of whanaungatanga which which pertains to the notion of being in good relation, and that’s through whakapapa. So knowing whakapapa, knowing genealogy is knowing that we are all in relation. And I think one of the key things with whakapapa is humans are not at the center. We are a descendant of ranginui and papatūānuku, primordial parents just as the rest of existence is.  And so through leaning back into this world due to thinking about how I can be in, in good relation and and upholding the mana or the how do I translate mana, the spiritual authority and power that we all have within us honoring that actually extends to the way we we operate as academics, and actually that comes through our writing. And so in the book Living a Feminist Life, Sara Ahmed actually talks about citational practice as being a form of academic relationality. So that’s where it clicked for me. So when we cite it’s a way of being in good relation, and it’s a space of encounter.

And so from that, I moved away to, I moved away from making it about not centering white men and made my citational practice about , manaakitanga about uplifting the mana of authors and about centering Indigenous worldviews, and about centering the work of my ancestors, because as PhD students, we often, you know, we have to slot ourselves into these intellectual genealogies of white men, which is another thing that Sara talks about, you know, you’re in this discipline, you’re in this field, and you have to talk about the work that’s been done in that space, which often means for us, locating ourselves within work that we seek to move away from or resist or dismantle. And so in terms of genealogy, intellectual genealogies, I wanted to locate my work within Indigenous work and Indigenous worldviews so Māori, Indigenous, and then more broadly, the work of, of people of color of people, you know, working from the margins, which I think is a very powerful space to be in this. So I’m so that’s kind of the way that I’m thinking about my citational practice at the moment.

Kerry It’s such a unique viewpoint as well, like, I can see how it came about, but I’m really taken with how you’ve, you’ve pulled it all in, right and really ingratiated  it into your own space and understandings of your people

Patty Citation as relationship and intellectual genealogy and putting yourself in it like that, it makes sense. It’s, it’s such a useful way of thinking about it. I did a long, long, long time ago, I was having an argument, a really argued discussion with friends about the Protestant versus Catholic worldview because I had grown up Protestant. And here all these friends of mine were Catholic, and we weren’t understanding each other. And so my one friends suggested that I read Catholic authors, he was suggested Catholic fiction not he wasn’t suggesting that I go get a theology degree. So because I spent a whole year reading like Graham Greene and Flannery O’Connor and you know, all kinds of, I cheated a little bit and read Robertson Davies, but I figured Anglican was close enough. And it just it really, it really did make a difference. And so periodically, I do this as a, you know, as a new year as a resolution. You know, this year, I’m going to focus on female. And I spent a year reading just female authors. And it really does help you see, so when you made that comment, that was why that really resonated with me immediately. Because that’s really my favorite resolution is, if I want to learn a thing, then I’m not going to read a about the thing, I’m going to read the people, is how they write and how they talk about things, that’s how I’m going to think that’s how I’m going to learn. And it does it over and over. And that’s what I always tell them people they want to understand Indigenous things I said, well then read Indigenous authors. Pick them up. Read them, read the fiction, you don’t have to read the academic stuff. So yeah, so that was why and these, this idea of citation as relationship. I mean, is that is that Sarah? Is that from Sarah? Ahmen?

Hana yes Sara Ahmed  so yeah, she did talk about yeah being in as a form of academic relationality so I read that, I read citational practices a form of academic relationality and I just was like, ah! Sso then I was able to think about it from my Indigenous worldview. Yeah. So I’m trying to write I’m trying to write a paper about this at the moment, that I’m hoping to publish

Kerry Um, you know, you know what comes to my mind and thoughts, it’s been a long time too since I’ve had to do a citation. But I think about how natural it actually feels, you know, when you when you really are coming into the space that we come from.  Our worldview being one is why why, you know, just the the automatic programming, also that comes along with us having to cite white, and or the idea of the colonial, you’re like, I never really thought about this until we started talking about it. And while I’m sitting here going this is fascinating. There’s a part of me that’s also saying, why is this fascinating? It’s just be, you know what I mean? It makes it so natural in there to be space

Hana Yeah, and I think it’s, as well it’s just so important that we just keep on questioning, you know, we keep on and so for me, I was taught you know, citation is an academic, it’s a convention, it’s an institutional convention, you know, you got to do an APA or whatever referencing style. But we’re never actually thinking that these authors are writing within communities they’re writing within these contexts. And actually, we’re bringing these worldviews into our work. And so for me, it’s fully reframed the way that I think, and I’m even thinking about, you know, how do I cite my friends, going for coffee with my friends and coming up with ideas, you know, I need to cite that I need to acknowledge their work. I’m not just we’re not just individuals thinking and writing and being authors. So how can I bring? How can my citational practice also reflect the reality at which I come up with the ideas and that I learned and that I draw from in my work? So that’s another thing I’m thinking about as well. So I think as well, we’re taught we have to, you know, cite these peer reviewed academic articles, but we know the power dynamics that are involved in there, we know the kind of political context of what it means to get work published in academic journal so again, I’m like, so much bigger. It’s so massive.

Kerry I see that and and so as you are thinking about how, how are you, you know, stepping into that, knowing what you just said about the importance of getting the work published? Like what are you finding that you are feeling brave, bold and just gonna step into it? Or are you you know, working on finding a line, a fine line, a line that makes you feel comfortable? Like, where are your feelings in this?

Hana It’s, it’s definitely wavy, especially because I’m doing my PhD at the moment. So I’ll have some days where I’m like, Yes, I’m feeling like I can change the world and The other day, that imposter syndrome and I’m like, I’m surrounded by such awesome wāhine Māori. My mentors are amazing. And so I think, I think what’s helping me navigate the space is definitely my relationships, you know, which is everything. So I feel like I have amazing support, and my work is collective. So I think I’m writing with people and thinking with people, and that’s kind of how, how I navigate and I think out loud, like a lot of this mahi, this work has happened through these conversations. So yeah, and I think as well, I’ve been reflecting a lot on doing this kind of work in and this kaupapa Māori research in 2020. And how I’m on working on the back of a lot of amazing research and thinkers and activists that have kind of carved out the space so that I can step into this space and already had books to draw from people to draw from Indigenous journals, Indigenous conferences, which I know, is something I don’t take for granted, because I know that my mentors and my supervisors are the ones that had to create those spaces for this next generation, which is me, I guess. So I want to keep carving that out. I want to keep pushing the space. Yeah.

Patty I think that’s also a very Indigenous way of thinking about it, because none of these white guys that you’re not going to cite, they didn’t act as individuals, right. Like they also exist in these in these generational layers. You know, they, they also exist within communities like none of these things are unique to us. What I think is unique to us is our awareness of it and our willingness to know that you know, these things that these ideas that you’re pulling out and then kind of making putting into an articulate package, you know that, that that exists within a web of relationship. Right. And so what you’re talking about with the way that you’re citing things, and citing conversations, like, I just got a piece put in a magazine. And in the, in the essay in the, in the essay I mentioned, this friend of mine, who offered the framework and, you know, Mike Krause said this while we were on, you know, because it wasn’t my idea, so I couldn’t put it in. It was important, but I couldn’t put it in there without mentioning that it was actually his idea. And but I think maybe the way academia has been structured. It’s as if these white guys live in silos, the awareness of the web and the layers, they don’t see it, and so that’s where it’s, this is my work. This is my work. It’s a much different way of thinking. And so for that to come out in your research, the way you’re looking at citation, it’s really it’s really interesting.

Kerry Like, it really polarizes how, just as you said, Patty, you know, there’s an assumption that, you know, with white with white men and white authors I’m thinking about I’m doing studies into sexuality. And I have been stunned, like just blown away stunned at how little work had ever been done on the female understanding or experience of sexuality. Like it didn’t start until the 90s. Like it’s, it’s mind blowing to me. It really, it’s really been one of those spaces where I recognize just how run this world is by white colonial, you know, power like and male white colonial and so when you mentioned this, this, this revolutionary work of citing, as our people and I and also in the understandings and traditions of how you how your people how, how Indigenous, understand their, their whole structure, I think makes it even more profound. And it’s one of the real ways that we can truly, add medicine, I got to pull us in, add  medicine and chip away at some of these structures that have been so harmful for us, you know, so once that, to me is very powerful. I’m like, Yeah, why don’t we think yeah, it’s

Hana It’s funny when you come to these revelations, and then you’re like, it’s so obvious now. I just that’s been my I think another one thing that just on that like medicine and one thing I’ve been really mindful of with my writing is that I want to come from a place of aroha or love. Because you know, a lot of our work is, is resistance and is speaking back and is critiquing. And all that mahi is hugely important. It’s my passion, it’s what I do, but it can get tiring and sometimes it you know, you know, we know and so I’m thinking that her writing, how can I write from a place of aroha, and love and you know, citational practice, it’s not about not citing white men because I was coming from quite a like. And especially earlier in my academic journey, I was quite angry, which I still am, but it’s kind of centering that aroha that love for your people and then letting that guide the way has really kind of been the center of a lot of this as well.

Kerry That is that is when you use all of that passion and get focus, and that is also when you can change the world

Hana:  Yes, hopefully,

Patty We talked to Kim Tallbear last week, she had made a comment about Indigenous academics where she’s talking about in about Indigenous knowledge and you know, they come from land based communities, they’re back on the rez, and so that they’re kind of able to hold traditional knowledge and scientific , and  these two things in tension at the same time without necessarily having to say that this one is right or that that one is right that they can both be right.

Hana Absolutely

Patty At the same time. And so it’s not a matter of privileging one or the other or replacing one or the other or even necessarily seeing them as different things but that they’re both

Kerry They can both held in the same space, right?

Patty Yeah, yeah. And that’s something that she finds Indigenous particularly reserved based Indigenous because they’re the ones that are in contact with their traditional people more often , “not interested in reconciling really comfortable with multiple ways of understanding the universe and not needing to reconcile them.”

Hana Hmm,

Patty There’s lots of different ways of seeing things and it’s okay if they don’t necessarily fit.

Hana Yeah, and I think as Indigenous people where they’re used to and open to the fact that there are many worldviews so it’s not that we need to have them like versus each other and come to one but the way I see it, especially with all of this, like talk around genetics and science, because they’re, I very much think that you know, we have our Indigenous world and our whakapapa and science can fit into this and be used in a way that we can explore our world more and our understanding from an Indigenous perspective and use these scientific tools to kind of help us answer these questions and to weave into our own science. So it’s not necessarily a matter of pitting them against each other, but recognizing, I mean, obviously, a lot of science can be really problematic and colonizing. But the actual scientific tools themselves can help us and our goals and how can help us advance our understandings of the world as Indigenous people.

Which is kind of how I’m viewing where, if at all, narratives around DNA fit into our worldviews and to our Indigenous ideologies, because I actually went to give a talk in Whanganui, which is where I’m from on my grandfather’s side, and to these whānau or family researches and they were trying to navigate um thinking about genetics, because we understand our genealogy through whakapapa. So they were kind of like we really need help understanding whakapapa versus DNA, like how do they match up against each other and the conversations that we had with, with my supervisor, Dr. Donna Cormack. With that it’s not necessarily you know, choosing one or the other, but sticking to and keeping to our whakapapa worldview and knowing that DNA is kind of like a biological can tell a biological story at that kind of like genetic level and that can fit into our narratives in certain ways. If we’re thinking about DNA, DNA, DNA tests, genetic health conditions, but actually it doesn’t mean that we have this whakapapa or that we don’t have this whakapapa existence, that we can kind of weave these understandings and to get a fuller picture of ourselves in the world. Does that make sense?

Patty Yeah, it doesn’t validate or invalidate, it just tells a different story

Hana And sometimes those stories are problematic, and an how and you know, associated with power and colonization, but we just got to understand the nuance and the complexity of these stories and contexts that they’re told.

Patty Now you use a lot of Māori language, when you talk, a lot of academics I’m hearing are talking about how these conversations are different in our own language. When we talk about the when we talk about these ideas around consent around, around history, like I hear you bringing in a lot of Māori words. And so I’m just wondering, Is that part of also kind of shaping how you look at things because one of one person I saw on Twitter was saying, the conversations are different when they’re in our own language, because we can say different things.

Hana Absolutely. And I’m yeah, so while I’m not a fluent speaker, I can understand I can understand a bit, but I haven’t had the opportunity to learn to speak formally. And I, when I was growing up, I actually grew up overseas for a little bit. So I kind of missed out on learning and you know, colonization, but um, it’s been a really interesting journey for me with language. Because earlier on in my journey, I was framing, my not being fluent, in te reo Māori, the Māori language, as a limitation, and as a as a drawback. And I was like, how can I do this? If I can’t speak into te reo Māori? How is this going to work and I was kind of framing it that this was going to be a big limitation of mine. But now, the way that I’m understanding and thinking about it is that it’s actually just a reflection of my positionality and my relationships in the world, and my relationship with the language. And so it’s not necessarily a limitation. It’s just a part of my worldview and a part of my understanding that I’m explicitly weaving into my positioning and that is the reality for like a huge number of Māori, I think about 90% of Māori are not fluent in their language, I’m not quite sure on the statistics. So again, it’s moving away from seeing this as a limitation towards seeing this as a way that I’m in relation with the world. I’m in relation with my language and these contexts of relationality, you know, that our relationships have been damaged and disrupted by colonization, but they’re in a constant state of flux, and I’m in my journey of learning.  So it’s again, that kind of framing.

Patty The pieces that you do use does that as you learn those new words. Or maybe they’re not learning new words, they’re just does it is that part of shaping how you relate to work because they are very different concepts  like when a couple of them you kind of struggled a little bit to be English because there are different concepts. I’m t thinking more about the way The way the words and the language things differently than we do in English. And so how that shapes the way you then relate to citing, you know, research in English?

Hana Absolutely, absolutely as well that that’s something that I really need to want to think more and explore. Because I know that my, my work and my thinking will go there. But at the moment, it’s not something that I’ve thought a lot about in terms of citational practice. But you’re right, that’s actually such a good point. Because I think with citational practice, it’s really important that we capture these stories, these pūrakau, which are being te reo Māori, and I think that that’s the work that definitely needs to be done. And hopefully that work can be done. And I intend to be fluent in my native language and my children, when they come into existence will be.

Kerry I think it’s, I don’t think it’s necessarily even up question that can be answered in just one session. And I I’m actually quite fascinated with that because I was gonna ask you, if you were planning you know, to learn Yes, just well because I believe it because one of the things that we have so recognize is, is that blink when you when you speak your own language that really just allows you to embody the truth you are. When you have the gift of knowing like unfortunately for my from for me, I just don’t know where that is from it’s lost to us. So whatever. I we have these conversations. I’m always joyful. Because I recognize that there are still some of us who are in this world who can claim it back, so when you can, so yes, it is important to.

Hana It’s happening. It’s already happening. I’m learning at the moment. I just There’s been some amazing work and spaces carved out by Māori activists so that the language is accessible. And it’s just been so beautiful. And as well, I’m seeing it now more, I used to view it as a very individual, like, I have to learn the language to feel the weight of that, and that intergenerational trauma from language loss, so heavy on my shoulders, but now actually, it’s not going to be a quick tick box, I’ve learned it, but that it’s an ongoing process. It’s one of my greatest goals at the moment, but that it’s actually intergenerational and my mom’s you know, she’s 50. And she started learning and we’re learning together, and we live together. So you know, we’re practicing and knowing that my time to learn that will will come and it is coming to really dive in. But yeah, it’s so fluid and, I’m constantly learning. So it’s possible, exciting. I can’t wait. Maybe one day I’ll be fully and te reo Māori.

Kerry Hey, I love that.  Hannah. I am I think you are an incredible woman you are incredible people. Thank you so much for spending time with us.

Patty It was so delightful.

Kerry It really was. You got me thinking in ways that I haven’t in a long time. What an incredible talk. Yes.

Hana I love this. Oh, yes, and you guys and yeah, thank you so much. I appreciate you, you sharing your thoughts and I’ve learned a lot from this conversation as well. I’m thinking a lot more about language. I’m thinking about you know, relationality as it exists in so many Indigenous cultures and it can really help us, you know, provide answers to seemingly complex questions. Just being good relation really?

Patty Yeah. Because like you said at the beginning, these new ways of thinking about genomics aren’t that new. It’s just applying something that we’ve always done to a different circumstance. And that’s, that’s like the entire human story is applying things to a new circumstance. That’s like, what we we’ve been doing that for like 10s of thousands years.

Kerry Thank you ladies, I am going to have to ..

Patty: Thank you so much Hannah.

Hana Thank you.  Okay kia ora. Thank you. Bye bye.

You can find Medicine for the Resistance on Facebook and the website . Don’t forget to rate share and support us by buying us a coffee at   You can also support the podcast and so much more by going to  You can follow Patty on Twitter @gindaanis and at  you can follow Kerry @kerryoscity  and find her online at  our theme is fearless

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