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‘Whiteness, Naivety, Void and Control’. Open Access


Author or creator
Anderson, Chris
Hokowhitu, Brendan
Additional contributors
Whites -- Evaluation
Maoris -- Personal narratives
Universities and colleges -- Evaluation
Universities and colleges -- Canada
Native Americans -- Study and teaching
Universities and colleges -- New Zealand
Native Americans -- Personal narratives
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
A renowned architect has agreed to travel to the University of Alberta to engage in a visioning session, led by the University of Alberta’s Native Student Services, for a proposed “Lodge of Learning.” The session is meant to allow “all our spirits to come together in a good way with the blessings of the Creator” (the architect’s words). The session begins in what we are told is “the traditional way”2, part of which involves a smudging ceremony. Most of us partake in the event and, afterwards, the architect prattles on for a bit about being a warrior and “finding your warrior within.” I stifle a yawn as my eyes wander over to the food trays, looking for any cheese Danishes that might have escaped the many eager fingers attending this meeting. He finishes his opening remarks, and an eagle feather (another “traditional” device) is produced to act as a “talking stick” allowing you to speak, uninterrupted, when it’s in your hand. I amuse myself by trying to imagine any of my seven uncles – huge, labour-hardened men – requiring a talking stick to make themselves heard, or to make others listen. Oh well…my family and I are Métis, and this seems to be a Cree thing. And when in Rome…The process begins and the feather is passed from hand to hand and voice to voice, in a clockwise direction (which, we are told, is also traditional).
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Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported

Citation for previous publication
Andersen, C. and Hokowhitu, B. 2007. Whiteness, Naivety, Void and Control. Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue, 8, pp. 39-49.
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