A steady cadence was kept by a group of people as they danced a Round Dance, holding hands, wrapping up two days of lectures and discussion.
The dance “provides a way for participants to respect one another, give someone a hug, and to say goodbye,” Dr. Lori Lambert said.
The American Indigenous Research and Education Symposium was held in the Charlo Room of the KwaTaqNuk in Polson Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12 and 13.
Lambert, president of the American Indigenous Research Association and from the Montana State University Center for Translational Research, confirmed that more than 220 participants from around the globe attended the workshop, which saw its sixth year over the weekend.
Over the course of the two days, presenters shared findings on their research, including two keynote speakers Dr. Eduardo Duran, PhD, and Dr. Linda Tuiwai Smith.
DURAN IS a psychologist who is the author of renowned book “Healing the Soul Wound.” He was one of the first people to write and bring attention to “soul wounding,” also known as “historical trauma.”
On Friday morning, Duran spoke about what he called, “the intersection of dream time and the plant world,” as well as “shape shifting of emptiness” and how quantum energy can utilize five primary elements — fire, air, earth, water and space.
ON SATURDAY, Smith spoke about Indigenous peoples connecting internationally.
She said she has observed that academic institutions around the world are similar in terms of Indigenous knowledge.
Through conversation, people are learning more about Indigenous people around the globe, Smith noted.
The author of Decolonizing Methodologies, Smith shared some of her background that includes growing up in New Zealand foothills on “my mountain.”
Her studies have led Smith to researching what Indigenous people focus on.
Smith asked attendees to discuss with those at their tables things they have observed during their experiences or research.
At one table, the discussion included contemporizing Indigenous language.
On participant explained that for his language, the expression to describe a computer is “sits on the desk,” while a laptop is “sits on your lap.”
Another participant said he noticed the same point in Alaska, where tribal members began to “assign” words, letting nearby communities know “from this day, this word means” whichever it was assigned to.
Grandparents have taught a lesson over the years, and trying to make it relate to the present-day is something that Indigenous people are navigating, the participants said.
Smith briefly met with each table during the 20 minutes of the exercise, later concluding that each table should write down ideas and names so she can explore the suggestions in her research.
LAMBERT SAID through email that in 2011, she received a grant from the American Indian College Fund to research what Indigenous communities want from researchers.
While in Australia, Lambert learned of an Indigenous Research Association hosted by the University of Queensland, which inspired her to bring the concept local.
Last year, AIRA was granted nonprofit status with more than 1,500 members worldwide.
This year, more than 100 participants were college students, Lambert added.