Northwestern Events Calendar


Journey Through an Indigenous Archive – Robert Sullivan

Debt Dialogue Series graphic

When: Thursday, February 2, 2017
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Central

Where: Harris Hall, Room #108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Contact: Kelly Wisecup  

Group: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Co-Sponsor: Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Category: Fine Arts


In Aotearoa New Zealand, urbanisation and colonisation have altered traditional access to Mātauranga Māori knowledge, which is now handed down in some cases via memory institutions, as well as through oral histories within family and marae meeting house settings. What rights do the descendants of the knowledge creators retain, and what obligations do custodians have to benefit the creators, as well as to retain the tikanga or correct customary treatment, and the truthful retelling of these narratives?

Sullivan will give a personal account of his access to a family set of narratives which have partly been placed in the trusteeship of non-family members, and even published in the work of the New Zealand poet Kendrick Smithyman. As well as exploring some of the debts and obligations of this journey through poetry, he will also look at other stories, such as the recent Disney movie Moana, and New Zealand’s founding constitutional narrative, The Treaty of Waitangi

Robert Sullivan is a poet whose nine books include the bestselling Star Waka (Auckland UP, 1999) which was shortlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (2000). He is Head of the School of Creative Writing at Manukau Institute of Technology and his poem ‘Kawe Reo / Voices Carry’ is installed in bronze in front of the Auckland City Library. Sullivan belongs to the Māori tribes Ngāpuhi and Kai Tahu, and is also of Irish descent.

This talk is co-presented by the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies, the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group, the Center for the Writing Arts, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities as part of the Institute's 2016-2017 Debt Dialogue Series.

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