Fieldwork today or cultural theft ? (part 6)

Mark P. Line mline at
Sun Feb 9 21:14:35 UTC 1997

Peter Keegan wrote:
> Legal ownership results from the New Zealand government recognizing a
> treaty signed in 1840 between Maori and the Crown (i.e. British). The
> Maori version of the treaty guaranteed Maori would have continued access
> and protection of  our "taonga"( "taonga" roughly translate to
> "treasured possession", i.e. land, fisheries, scared sites etc etc.) We
> were able to convince the courts to rule that our language is also
> considered a "taonga". Thus the government supports Maori language
> revitalization efforts and openly states it is committed to
> biculturalism.

Is there any code or legal precedent regarding the status of Maori
language and culture _outside_ of New Zealand?

> Returning back to Nancy's proposal for a volume of early field workers
> to collate their experiences. I still have some major concerns. While
> this may be of historical value, my concern is that is it really
> appropriate to encourage another wave of Western linguists to go into
> the field ? i.e. In an ideal world I would argue that we need to send
> indigenous linguists who have been trained in the West. Indigenous
> linguists are more likely to be accepted (i.e. they are already are
> bicultural, or multicultural) and are more likely to respect the
> cultures and wishes of those indigenous groups in the field.

Could you explain what you mean by "indigenous" in this context, and how
one's indigenousness (in your sense) makes a linguist more likely to be
accepted in the field, and more likely to have a respectful attitude?

-- Mark

(Mark P. Line   ----   Bellevue, Washington   ----   mline at

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