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After completing this week’s readings from They Say /I Say, I wondered why this book was not introduced to me at the start of my reconnection to my masters study. I have however, given its wonderful accessibility, sent the book’s link to some of the RAW wāhine, who are immersed in study as well, knowing that they too are enjoying the ability to upskill in academic prose.
One of the biggest challenges with my study has been getting a suitable balance to my language. I often feel that academic writing can present as dry, repetitive and nonsensical, in terms of its presentation. This results in turning the reader off, no matter how passionate they are about the subject, before the piece actually gets to turn them on and hook them in. I have also found, that as a result of study, my day to day written communications with my team have become a lot more formalised and almost ‘academic’, that can in some cases confuse and offend them. Although I
have embraced by new ability to be concise, clear and complete in my correspondence, that previously had a grey long-winded approach, and lacked clarity. I have, however, had to reflect on a suitability (time and a place), for my new found skill, and moderate my language to suit my audience. They Say /I Say, talks to the ability to format academic writing in a templated way, which may initially lead the writer to query the sameness of the result, or perhaps introduce a passive learning style, as a student moves to write on auto pilot. However, this is quickly unpicked, when the content becomes more important than the template, and a template simply amplifies and completes the content .
Academic writing is entering into conversations with others. To write well ,is to engage the voices of others, and templates discussed here do more than just organise ideas, they help bring ideas into existence, by identifying rhetorical moves (questions asked to produce an effect). They demystify writing by returning it to its social and conversational roots, stretching what the writer believes, by putting it up against a belief that differs. Making sure that your argument is a genuine response to others views, is a critical part of the process.

The underlying structure of academic writing, and of reasonable public discourse is stating what you believe while listening to others around you.

It was interesting to read that there is no need to play it safe, something that I have endeavoured to do in all my correctional writing, so that I don’t offend, and end up with no opportunity to advance the conversation that the document is endeavouring to activate. Reading that it was okay for writing to be argumentative, so that you assert yours and others positions well, was a breath of fresh air.
I have loved so much about this book and am now motivated to buy it for myself, as well as gift some copies to our RAW wāhine involved in tertiary study. It was enlightening to be able to, in plain English (absolute relief), reflect on how to construct a well written academic piece of work, within an acceptable and credible academic framework.

Research Is Ceremony: Shawn Wilson.
Chapter One.
I have been drawn into this book on several counts,
not only do I love the storytelling format (where the author is writing to his sons), but also the clarity and simplification of the research definitions.
We are now well into our study for this paper, and I am beginning to get a strong understanding of what an Indigenous research paradigm is (the underlying beliefs that guide our action as researchers). Moreover, we cannot remove ourselves from our world, to examine it.

The broad principles that provide the framework for research are;
Ontology: The way we view reality.
Epistemology: The way we think about or know our reality.
In both ontology and epistemology, the relationships form a mutual reality.
Axiology: Ethics and morals.
Methodology: How we gain more knowledge.
Axiology and methodology create the accountability in a relationship.

This is the not the first time I have encountered the Indigenous ‘problem’ approach that underpins positive research, affected by the dominant race on Indigenous peoples, that identifies with one true reality. Research that studies these ‘Indigenous problems’ ,demonstrates a bias through choice of topic, methodology and promotion of outside solutions, rather than expanding on or appreciating resources available within Indigenous communities.
Within RAW, as we work actively and currently with Corrections to re-think the inside model of care, by endeavouring to deliver culturally enriched and purposeful outcomes. I acknowledge how researched this prison population has been (research completed on rather than with). I now know, how valuable (yet overlooked) the incarcerated wāhine voice will become in effecting transformational change.
My observations and commentary have come from ongoing participation, in the RAW wāhine lives and environments, both inside and outside the prison. Within the mahi of the RAW model, I am not just viewed as a Western outsider, but as a regular, engaged and listening participant, that understands and respects the privilege of being included. I have subsequently had to adjust my group behaviours to reflect another cultural norm.
Effectively, I been informally engaged in an Indigenous research paradigm, without even really acknowledging the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing. My mahi with the RAW wāhine, was simply a way of ensuring a change outcome that included the voices, and the aspirations of those that I was seeking to offer opportunity and change to. As opposed to another overlay of ‘Western expert’ outsider solutions to combat Indigenous problems.
Dare I interpret my actions as a “strategy of inquiry” (building on methodology to fill in how you arrive at a research destination). Where I have effected research with a diversity of method, to understand, contribute to and benefit a population. Through face to face, watching and doing, and sharing and participating, I have worked my way forward, to add validity and ‘privilege’ to the voice of the detained wāhine. These relationships have now culminated in a document that proposes informed restorative change to the modus of daily operation at Auckland Women’s Regional Correctional Facility.

Chapter two of Wilson’s book talks to four major research paradigms.
1.Positivism: One true reality that can be broken down into overriding laws, the domain of traditional Western science.
2. Post Positivism: This acknowledges that research and researchers are imperfect tools, that never allow one reality, therefore, driving at a goal of perfect objectivism, they often share in positivist goals to discover one truth.
3. Critical theory: Here the reality is more fluid, in that the researcher influences the subject through their interaction.
4. Constructivism: Many realities are acknowledged as belonging to the people and the locations that hold them, the aim is to get a consensus between researcher and subject.

One of the things that have absolutely loved about this paper is the diversity of delivery and understanding as to what constitutes valid knowledge. I have enjoyed navigating several different readings, some more academic than others, remaining interested and focused enough to extract their nuggets of information. This will be one paper that will leave a lasting impression in me. I finally feel as if I have been given permission to explore and validate different ways of knowing outside of Western scholarly frameworks. Something that has been discounted throughout most of my Western study, given my experiential knowledge (within RAW) journey lacks the academic imprinting that appears so important in a Western academy of knowledge.

I loved reading about the dissection of Leilani’s two voices. One being a privileged interpreter of experience and ancestry as a source of knowledge, the other about categorising and explaining a current reality. Self-talk verse’s academia. Though these two voices, her book attempts to understand how Hawaiian kupuna (elders) talk about knowledge and transformation.

As Leilani launches into her life story (left hand side of the page) she talks to her earliest memories of birth, that came to her through her dreams, moving onto her life with her adopted white parents that was sanctioned through photographs and her memories of her parents storytelling. Her voice in using personal experience and ancestry to tell her story, makes for a compelling, memorable and uncomplicated read, that clearly identifies the flavour of the time, and the challenges that would have existed.
The right hand side of the page, in its true academic style, reflects the chronological timeline of the colonisation and dispossession of Hawaiian natives from their culture and their land. Ironically this is exactly what is happening to Leilani has she navigates her life outside the true essence of her Hawaiian identity.
Interestingly, given the number of academic articles I have read in MĀORI570 and MĀORI571, I felt I had a strong understanding of this academic timeline, that held marginal interest to me, the reader, as I skimmed through its contents to give context to Leilani’s story on the left. The memory and the real understanding, has come from the left hand side (self-talk) where as a reader with my academic hat on, I am equally able draw as much knowledge from.

Over the long weekend, I have begun to read Pūkārua: Māori Myths retold by Māori writers. The book I talk to in week six, has now arrived and forms part of my holiday break reading.
It was with interest that I read the story of the earth mother, Paptuānuku, and sky father, Ranginui, broken apart by one of their six sons. The messaging in this story was particularity poignant for me as a woman grappling with many of Paptuānuku’s thoughts and challenges, as I endeavour to advance and support my two children and my three grandchildren. It was difficult to see this story as a pointless and unrealistic myth. When it presented as a story of growth and perspective, that could be intergenerationally drawn from as a source of knowledge, that enables the listener to live in the telling.

Yes. it was good for them. It was good for us. We needed room to grow.
It was only when Ranginui and Paptuānuku (who held each other so tightly), where forced apart by Tānemahuta (their son) that life could flourish.

References
Birkenstein, C., & Graff, G. (2018). They Say / I Say (4th ed.). WW Norton.

Holmes, L. (2013). Ancestry of Experience: A Journey into Hawaiian Ways of Knowing. Philosophy East and West. 63(2).

Wilson, S. (2008). Research is Ceremony : Indigenous Research Methods. Black Point, Nova Scotia. Fernwood Publishing.

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