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WATCH: Professor Waziyatawin | He Manawa Whenua Indigenous research Conference

Video published on Oct 21, 2014 by Te Kotahi Research Institute

Professor Waziyatawin: Keynote Presenter at the He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference 2013.

Dr. Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota. She is the author or co/editor of six volumes, including her most recent book, For Indigenous Minds Only.

An excerpt from Waziyatawin’s website:

“As Dakota people, we consider Minisota Makoce (Land Where the Waters Reflect the Skies) to be our ancient homeland and we were the first human beings to call this place home.  Yet, in the last two centuries, Dakota people have been systematically dispossessed of our homeland and we currently reside on about .01 % (about one-hundredth of one percent) of our original land base within the borders of what is now the State of Minnesota.  As a consequence, the vast majority of our people still live in exile.

 

Oyate Nipi Kte is committed to restoring a land base for Dakota people through the Makoce Ikikcupi project so that we may begin to bring some of our relatives home, re-establish our spiritual and physical relationship with our homeland, and ensure the ongoing existence of our People.  Our cultural survival depends on it.

 

We live in an age when our language sits on the brink of extinction.  Our last fluent speakers of Dakota language in Minnesota number less than ten and are now all over the age of 70.  The link to our knowledge about our cultural traditions is quickly fading.  If we do not implement a way of living in which our language is tied to our daily activities, our language will die and we will lose valuable survival knowledge.

 

Further, in the coming months and years, as the globe continues to warm, the environment continues to be desecrated by industrial civilization, and cheap oil becomes more and more scarce, all populations must consider their future food security.  Our physical survival depends on it.

 

Our dream, then, is to establish a land base in which Dakota people may establish new communities within our homeland based on sustainability and adherence to our ancient ways of being.  We hope they will be lands on which we can resume traditional practices of wild-ricing, sugar-bushing, hunting, and foraging, where we can grow our traditional gardens, reconstitute our traditional forms of governance, practice our spirituality, educate our children, and throughout all these activities, speak our language.” [link]