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Kulaniakea commented on Keaohou: culturally-responsive Indigenous education

Maija, thank you for your message. I am slightly confused by the wording, but will try to respond to the best of my understanding of your message.

We are a Hawaiian culture-based organization, our core values are cultural values, which have been around for generations and you can probably find a lot to read about it. Our procedures come from implementing the traditional values. One of the foundational document for our organization is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which can be a good primer for people, who haven’t worked or lived within a Native culture.

I do not know where you are in your work with the Native communities. I do not know about your level of knowledge of Native values, practices, and realities. Your message didn’t reveal much. However, it would be disrespectful of us to impose our stories onto theirs, without them asking us first. Tribal councils and organizations also have established legal and procedural foundations for governance and knowledge of what works for them. This body of knowledge is not something that needs to be built from scratch for Native communities. I believe Taos Pueblos have their own Tribal Council, so do many tribes in California.

We would be very happy to share and, most importantly, show you what it’s like to have a Native-managed and serving organization. However, you already have a Native community, you are working with. Reach out to Native colleges, CDFI, law firms, foundations, collectives, non-profits, and companies within close proximity to the community you are working with. You also have an access to Native healers, who have always been highly regarded. I would recommend spending time observing their work for a prolonged period of time. They are the carriers of values, and only they can tell you what exactly they need in terms of legal and procedural foundations. Even though Native cultures share values and believes, how things play out in each community is different. Also, there is no substitution for learning directly from the source (elders, healers, cultural practitioners). There is a reason why an apprenticeship under a cultural practitioner is highly valued. Let the Native communities in California and New Mexico lead your quest.
If I misread your message, I am sorry, let me know what exactly you are looking for.


Kulaniakea commented on Keaohou: culturally-responsive Indigenous education

Mahalo nui, Celine! We are glad that the narrative about the role of the Native people and traditional knowledge is changing; and more and more people are recognizing that preserving the fragile island environment like ours is impossible without its peoples.


Kulaniakea commented on What Does it Mean to be Catholic in an Indigenous Context?

William, is there a way you can write more about the Indigenous staff and beneficiaries? The Catholic church is also very well known for being one of the worst offenders in inflicting the injustices you mentioned onto the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Could you maybe talk whether the staff and leaders of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network are Indigenous? Talk more about your Indigenous/Native beneficiaries? Does your steering committee include Indigenous/Native representatives? Do your Indigenous beneficiaries drive this project? I believe your idea would strongly benefit from focusing on the Indigenous population as a driver of the change. Otherwise, the idea is coming across as if the Catholic Church is parachuting into the communities (again!) and it's just another case of charity inflicted onto the Native population. I don't think that's the impression you wished to have.