Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019) | Viewed by 89682

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of National Institute Demographic Economic, The University of Waikato, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
Interests: Maori and indigenous population research; indigenous data sovereignty; official statistics; ethnic classification and identity; colonisation

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Guest Editor
History Programme, The University of Waikato, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
Interests: Māori and iwi history; oral history; historical theory and methodology; New Zealand history; identity construction

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

For most Indigenous peoples, genealogy entails complex layers of dynamic relationships between humans, the environment and the spirit realms. These relationships often lie at the heart of traditional knowledge systems and the intergenerational transmission of mythology, legend, history, esoteric knowledge, customs and protocols for ethical behaviour. The collective genealogies that underpin contemporary expressions of Indigenous identity thus reach far beyond ancestral lineage to include creation stories; the heroic deeds of gods and demi-gods; relationships with land, water, plants, animals and cycles of nature; and imaginings of future descendants alongside memories of past ancestors. At the same time, the evolving context of Indigenous genealogies means that they are inherently dynamic and fluid; genealogy does not exist as a self-reinforcing body of knowledge in sequential time waiting to be ‘discovered’ in archives and registries. The interplay with new technologies such as DNA testing and the use of genealogies to buttress (and often contest) negotiations with Governments relating to ancestral lands also reminds us of the political nature of genealogy and genealogical remembering. Indigenous peoples continue to find ways to enhance and enable genealogical knowledge to tell our stories, to reflect our traditonal and contemporary values, and operate as signifcant cultural frameworks relevant to our collective identities past and present. 

In this special issue of Genealogy we invite Indigenous scholars from any discipline to submit essays on the topic ‘Indigenous perspectives on Genealogical Research’. The call to Indigenous scholars is deliberate. The production of knowledge about Indigenous peoples has a long and fraught history. Through ‘scientific’ practices of observation and documentation, Indigenous peoples and knowledge systems came to be ‘discovered’ and made legibile to others, initially through the writings of early travellers, explorers and scientists, and later through Government and academic research. Constitutive of colonial hierarchies of knowledge,  these processes and practices positioned non-Indigenous peoples as the credible knowers of all things Indigenous, purporting to ‘know’ us better than we knew ourselves. It is against the backdrop of ongoing colonialism that this special issue issue provides a purposeful space for the distillation of Indigenous worldviews and diverse methodological approaches to genealogical research.

Some potential areas of focus may include the following, although other submissions are welcome and encouraged:

  • Indigenous genealogical theories and methodologies
  • Examples of how genealogical research is being undertaken to advance the aspirations of Indigenous communities and organisations
  • The politics of DNA testing and other new technologies being used to claim Indigenous identity, and the tensions with Indigenous understandings of kinship and belonging
  • The relationships between Indigenous identity, ancestry, land and/or the spiritual realms
  • The relationships between genealogy and language, particularly the deep cultural, linguistic, and ontological roots that can be expressed through the genealogy and histories of words, names, and native terms and idioms.
  • How processes of collective memory-making occur and are given meaning within Indigenous families and communities
  • Practices and approaches of tribal, clan and family population reconstitution

Prof. Dr. Tahu Kukutai
Dr. Nepia Mahuika
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • kinship
  • collective memory
  • decolonizing methodologies
  • oral tradition
  • oral history
  • indigenous histories and epistemologies
  • indigenous data sovereignty

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 215 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction: Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research
by Nēpia Mahuika and Tahu Kukutai
Genealogy 2021, 5(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy5030063 - 6 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3992
Abstract
Indigenous genealogies encompass complex layers of connection within and between human, environment and spirit, realms [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)

Research

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17 pages, 335 KiB  
Article
Miskâsowin: Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society
by Jessica Kolopenuk
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010021 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 10309
Abstract
Indigeneity has been a site of relationally produced knowledge deemed scientific and political. In this article, I offer an experimental description of Miskâsowin—an Ininiw/Cree theory of science, technology, and society. This methodological piece is part of an overall project that seeks to [...] Read more.
Indigeneity has been a site of relationally produced knowledge deemed scientific and political. In this article, I offer an experimental description of Miskâsowin—an Ininiw/Cree theory of science, technology, and society. This methodological piece is part of an overall project that seeks to understand how changes in technoscience often correlate with changes in the relationships and biotechnologies that colonial nation-states and their citizenries, scientific fields and their researchers, and bioeconomies and their consumers use to form themselves through, in spite of, and (sometimes) as Indigenous peoples. Creating Indigenous theories of the technosciences that affect them is disruptive of colonial ontologies of knowledge and sovereignty. Miskâsowin is part of an emergent subfield of Indigenous Studies: Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society (I-STS). I use this framework to map partial connections whereby Cree concepts of tapwewin (truth-telling), miskâsowin (finding one’s core), and misewa (all that exists) resonate with relational academic theoretical frameworks including that of Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, and Aileen Moreton-Robinson. I do so in ways that are uniquely adapted to my (the researcher’s) relationships (and the genealogies that they are routed through) with genomic knowledge and indigeneity; with the scientific and policy fields in Canada (and beyond); and with my own research/er integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)
18 pages, 2043 KiB  
Article
Familiar Places: A History of Place Attachment in a South Sami Community
by Isabelle Brännlund
Genealogy 2019, 3(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3040054 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 5839
Abstract
In contrast to situations in most other countries, Indigenous land rights in Sweden are tied to a specific livelihood—reindeer husbandry. Consequently, Sami culture is intimately connected to it. Currently, Sami who are not involved in reindeer husbandry use genealogy and attachment to place [...] Read more.
In contrast to situations in most other countries, Indigenous land rights in Sweden are tied to a specific livelihood—reindeer husbandry. Consequently, Sami culture is intimately connected to it. Currently, Sami who are not involved in reindeer husbandry use genealogy and attachment to place to signal Sami belonging and claim Sami identity. This paper explores the relationship between Sami genealogy and attachment to place before the reindeer grazing laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I show that within local Sami communities the land representing home was part of family history and identity while using historical archive material, narratives, and storytelling. State projects in the late 19th century challenged the links between family and land by confining Sami land title to reindeer husbandry, thereby constructing a notion of Sami as reindeer herders. The idea has restricted families and individuals from developing their culture and livelihoods as Sami. The construct continues to cause conflicts between Sami and between Sami and other members of local communities. Nevertheless, Sami today continue to evoke their connections to kinship and place, regardless of livelihood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)
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14 pages, 1669 KiB  
Article
He Tātai Whenua: Environmental Genealogies
by Margaret Forster
Genealogy 2019, 3(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3030042 - 19 Jul 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 7787
Abstract
Whakapapa, an indigenous form of genealogy of the Māori people of Aotearoa New Zealand, is a powerful tool for understanding social phenomena. In this paper, the environmental histories of Aotearoa New Zealand are converted to whakapapa/genealogical sequences and kōrero tuku iho/narratives derived from [...] Read more.
Whakapapa, an indigenous form of genealogy of the Māori people of Aotearoa New Zealand, is a powerful tool for understanding social phenomena. In this paper, the environmental histories of Aotearoa New Zealand are converted to whakapapa/genealogical sequences and kōrero tuku iho/narratives derived from whakapapa, to demonstrate this explanatory power. It is argued that whakapapa is much more than a method for mapping kinship relationships. Whakapapa enables vast amounts of information to be collated and analysed, to reveal a multitude of narratives. It also facilitates a critique of indigenous rights issues, revealing Māori agendas for environmental management. Therefore, the whakapapa sequences and narratives created as part of this paper provide an understanding that is not restricted to the grand narrative or the past as whakapapa is never-ending, dynamic, fluid and future-focused. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)
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15 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
A Fire in the Belly of Hineāmaru: Using Whakapapa as a Pedagogical Tool in Education
by Melinda Webber and Kapua O’Connor
Genealogy 2019, 3(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3030041 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 11026
Abstract
The numerous iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) of Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) have a long whakapapa (genealogy) of influential leaders that have made a significant impact on the Māori world and beyond. However, ruinous media narratives that focus without relent on poverty, low [...] Read more.
The numerous iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) of Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) have a long whakapapa (genealogy) of influential leaders that have made a significant impact on the Māori world and beyond. However, ruinous media narratives that focus without relent on poverty, low employment, inadequate housing, and lagging educational outcomes—particularly among Māori—continue to negatively impact the ways students from this region define their identity. This paper presents a number of strengths-based narratives—focusing on tūpuna (ancestors) from Te Tai Tokerau whakapapa—that act as counter-narratives to this rhetoric. The paper discusses how these narratives can be used as powerful pedagogical tools that enhance Te Tai Tokerau Māori students’ self-efficacy, aspiration, optimism, and cultural pride, presenting them as powerful agents of their own destiny. This paper draws on data produced from a Marsden-funded study—led by Te Tai Tokerau descendents—that has collected and re-presented multifaceted hapū/iwi-based narratives that celebrate Te Tai Tokerau distinctiveness, success, history, and identity. This wider study has examined, contextualised, and celebrated diverse characteristics recurring in Te Tai Tokerau pūrākau (genealogical stories), pepeha (tribal sayings), waiata (songs), karakia (incantations), televisual materials, and written histories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)
13 pages, 589 KiB  
Article
A Brief History of Whakapapa: Māori Approaches to Genealogy
by Nēpia Mahuika
Genealogy 2019, 3(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3020032 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 42577
Abstract
Whakapapa is the Māori term for genealogy. It has been described by some as the skeletal structure of Māori epistemology because all things have their own genealogies. In research, whakapapa has been presented in tribal histories, Māori Land Court records, and consistently as [...] Read more.
Whakapapa is the Māori term for genealogy. It has been described by some as the skeletal structure of Māori epistemology because all things have their own genealogies. In research, whakapapa has been presented in tribal histories, Māori Land Court records, and consistently as a framework for mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and Māori research methodologies. This essay offers a brief overview of the ways in which whakapapa has been understood and negotiated in research particularly after the arrival of Europeans. Some early ethnographers, for instance, applied their own genealogical methods of dating to whakapapa, which influenced various Māori approaches from the twentieth century. With the advent of literacy and print, Māori experimented with new ways to record genealogy, and yet the underlying oral, ethical, and cultural practices that are crucial to whakapapa have remained integral to how it still lives and operates in Māori communities today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)
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Other

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11 pages, 618 KiB  
Project Report
Chamorro Roots Genealogy Project: Technological Milestones
by Bernard T. Punzalan
Genealogy 2019, 3(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3030038 - 10 Jul 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 6538
Abstract
With the advent of technology, the Chamorro Roots Genealogy Project has evolved from a personal family project into a CHamoru peoples’ project with a database containing over 344,000 names and globally accessible over the internet. The technological presence is not only for CHamoru [...] Read more.
With the advent of technology, the Chamorro Roots Genealogy Project has evolved from a personal family project into a CHamoru peoples’ project with a database containing over 344,000 names and globally accessible over the internet. The technological presence is not only for CHamoru-specific genealogists. Its accessibility is also important for an ever-growing CHamoru diaspora population of over 147,798 in the United States, where the majority of the CHamoru population now resides. In this paper, I will discuss some of the Project’s history, technological tools to network, communicate, and collaborate on the Project’s data. This includes the publication of the transcribed 1920 and 1930 Census of Guam with observational comments. The essay concludes with a brief observation of methods, use and results of social media as a key collaborating mechanism that is the genesis for further developing a comprehensive index of CHamoru family clan names and a first name-nickname dictionary. The global accessibility of these resources produced from this Project will continue to add to the availability of CHamoru genealogy resources locally and abroad. More importantly, perhaps it will provide a key data-mining resource for scholars to review and interpret data that will enable another aspect to the knowledge-base of CHamoru history from a genealogical lens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Perspectives on Genealogical Research)
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