Too Many Deaths: Decolonizing Western Academic Research on Indigenous Cultures
By Gabrielle Welford
A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Division of the University of Hawaii in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English, May 2003
© 2003 Gabrielle Welford (welford@hawaii.edu)

Inbetween III

 
Main
 

Title Page, Acknowledgements, Abstract, Table of Contents, Preface

 
Chapter 1 - Introduction
 
Inbetween I
 
Chapter 2 -Approaching Scholarship
 
Inbetween II
 
Chapter 3 - The Western Academy Described: Purpose and Means
 
Inbetween III
 
Chapter 4 - Objectivity
 
Inbetween IV
 
Chapter 5 - Externalization of Viewpoint Unwillingness to be Affected
 
Inbetween V
 
Chapter 6 - Fact and Fiction Written vs. Oral Linear Argument
 
Inbetween VI
 
Chapter 7 - Modes of Thought Effects
 
Inbetween VII
 
Chapter 8 - Examples
 
Inbetween VIII
 
Chapter 9 - What Are Our Options?
 
Inbetween IX
 
Chapter 10 - Conclusion Responsibility
 
Bibliography

 

 

Inbetween III

Noenoe's chapter yesterday--what a brilliance! She's saying things I haven't heard before --so clearly because they come from the gut through the heart and spirit. As Paula would say, they come from her understanding of Kanaka Maoli life and thought. And she could also say, as Paula does, that she is a somewhat nontraditional Hawaiian. But she too grew up in the homes of Kanaka Maoli and has spent her adult life in the company of traditionals, urbanites, and all the shades of Hawaiians in between. All Gabrielle had to do was substitute "Hawaiian" and "Kanaka Maoli" for "Indian" in Paula's words. Noe told me yesterday when I thanked her for the strong feeling in her brilliant writing, "I'm always emotional in my work!" Thank you Noenoe for "Ke Ku'e Kupa'a Loa Nei Makou: Kanaka Maoli Resistance to Colonization." Thank you Paula for The Sacred Hoop and Mary for all your poetry and stories and laughter.

Thank you Lynette for beading in the evenings, talking amongst ourselves, rushing onwards with seminars and forums and TV shows. And thank you Lynette, Maria, and Kawika for the class on "Indigenous Anthropology" that wouldn't have happened without you and Jon Osorio for Dismembering Lahui and Linda Tuhiwai Smith for Decolonizing Methodologies and Mary Churchill for "Walking the White Path" and Epeli Hau'ofa for "Our Sea of Islands" and Teresia K Teaiwa for "L(o)osing the Edge" and David Gegeo and Ngugi wa Thiongo and Edward Said.

I wonder what all stops us getting out of the way...to make room for more and more and more....

I can only imagine--thinking how much sometimes I ache to speak, to know something, to be recognized for what I know. But then I think about my deep reluctance to write about my life. What a life! Every time I tell stories, people say "write, write!" And I balk. I want to write about Mary and James Joyce and the heart so easy to feel and be thankful for in Paula's group of women warriors, in the AFSC Sov. Ed. Subcommittee, and in the relationships with people here--about them, in other words, not about me. Mmmm. What is that? Christian? Time I turn the light too?

Speaking of turning the light on ourselves, Susan asks me to write about truth. Is it Platonic truth I mean--forms shadowed on a cave wall? I don't think so! Noe's friend Dale yesterday was talking about the way Wittgenstein stays on the ground among situations, how meaning is found in lived relationships, doings among people who talk to each other, pass pieces of wood around, make signals when they can't talk, the comings and goings of language games in forms of life. More Socrates than Plato. And therein lies truth too. There is no truth outside of practice. That's why ethical and aesthetic truths are so hard to pin down. Doesn't make them any less truths. Just a different kind of truth from mathematical truth or physics truth or biological truth or godly truth (whose god?). Truth is always in life. Here Keala says she fears I'm painting myself into a corner. But, says I, that's what it's about--LW philosophy--paint yourself into a corner and then paint out again or walk through the paint and leave footprints all over the kitchen floor, climb out the window.

So... Whose truth appears on the published page matters--MATTERS--as in "What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind." Except I would disagree. "What is mind? Always matter. What is matter? Always mind." And back and forth and back and forth without prejudice. It matters as a verb transitive--has material consequences--is embedded in realities that shudder outwards with effect.

What, then, MATTERS to me? What is under my wanting to write about Mary? What do I want to say that can be said without using her?

There's a magnet in cultures which still value relationship--not just with each other but with the earth, with things on the earth that are also alive. I know why my mother always went back to the country and country people when my dad was gone. The cottage we lived in when I was 2 and 3 had no running water or electricity. We went next door to Granny Clarke's for a fireheated bath in a tin tub. The farmer's wife gave my mother rabbits to cook and eat because we had no money coming in. I can understand us wanting to go over there, leave home in our removed and barren world, world which assumes we are cast out from the Garden forever, that we aren't part of the earth, compost, leafmould, seaweed, rock, that we have to rely on our wits to survive in a hostile world which we have power and dominion over. First we destroy the people who are still in the earth and then we want to be taken in by them, be them. What is that? A horror story.

     
   

From:
Too Many Deaths: Decolonizing Western Academic Research on Indigenous Cultures
By Gabrielle Welford
A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Division of the University of Hawaii in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English, May 2003
© 2003 Gabrielle Welford (welford@hawaii.edu)