Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta
Alberta, Canada. Former Acting-Head of Post-graduate Studies, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Stewart-Harawira's research interests are centered on the role and contribution of Indigenous knowledge and the Indigenous global movement in a time of great global crisis. This includes the contradictions and contestations around forms of development and impacts on traditional knowledge, languages and practices of sustainability. Current funded research is concerned with resource extraction and energy development on Indigenous lands and the wellbeing of Aboriginal Communities in Northern Alberta, and builds on earlier research regarding the revitalization of traditional languages and cultural knowledge and responses to declining post-modern imperialism. Relevant publications include The New Imperial Order. Indigenous Responses to Globalization. London, Eng.: Zed Books; New Zealand & Australia: Huia Books, 2005; Returning the sacred: Indigenous ontologies in perilous times. Williams, L., Roberts, R., and McIntosh, A., (Eds). Radical Human Ecology: Intercultural and Indigenous Approaches. Ashgate Publishing Group: U.K., 2012; and a number of other requested edited book chapters and articles which critically engage Indigenous politics, diplomacies, feminisms, citizenship and globalization.
The intensity of the global crisis that defines this transitional moment in human history implicates all of us, by definition. In my work as an Indigenous academic, I see this multi-layered, multi-faceted crisis of existence as a crisis of being. While it is about decolonization and the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty, about the recognition of Indigenous knowledge, and about the struggle against what can look perilously like the triumph of the most extreme forms of capitalism and the commodification of the lifeworld, it is also more than that.
In my view, it is also a deep crisis of recognition, of knowing who we are and of our interconnectedness in this world, which is why the theme of the 2012 conference: Bringing All Hearts Together is so timely. It is here that I locate my scholarship and where I believe we must locate the criticality of the Indigenous role globally, locally. None of this is possible of course without the full recognition of Indigenous human rights and of Indigenous knowledge and scholarship as not only valid and legitimate forms of knowledge but as knowledge that is vital to the wellbeing of the world.
In its work of bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars to nurture, support and promote the work of Native and Indigenous Studies, NAISA plays a vital role in achieving this recognition. The Association brings together scholars from many different places and in many different stages of their academic careers, all of who share the aspiration of nurturing, promoting and supporting Native and Indigenous scholarship. In this sense, I see NAISA as a place of connectedness, a place where hearts and minds come together, a place where the Indigenous mind, defined so profoundly in the words of a Cree elder and cited by the late Walter Lightening, as a compassionate mind, is nurtured and celebrated.
I believe that means ensuring that our goals as well as our membership are inclusive, our conference themes encompassing and relevant, that papers are substantially discussed and emerging scholars given the maximum amount of support possible. It means guarding against any tendencies towards elitism by ensuring that our conference fees, including provision for accommodation are affordable and seeking out student scholarships and travel award grants. The work that has been achieved in this direction by the leadership and committee work to date is outstanding.
In its role of promoting Native and Indigenous studies and scholarship, I see NAISA as an Association that fosters the critical voice of Indigenous and Native scholarship in speaking to truth and power in this transformational moment and that supports and prioritizes the relationship between Native and Indigenous scholars and their communities. I see the role of the President as working to ensure that the directions and visions of the Association are articulated in a coherent, timely and relevant fashion, and as one member of a team whose collaboration and dedication is critical to achieving the goals and aspirations of the whole. I am deeply honored to have been offered the possibility of representing this vital Association and a member of the team that carries the work of the Association forward for the coming term.