The Indigenous Backstage Pass
In her poem "from turtle island to aotearoa," Anishinaabeg writer Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm writes about travelling to the other side of the world and finding ways to connect. For my part, I have taken the ‘reverse’ journey many times from Aotearoa to Turtle Island, and the poem has both nudged and nurtured my thinking about the promises and limits of Indigenous-Indigenous connections. In Indigenous Studies, we have made really important claims about the need to research our own people, and the limits of work conducted by outsiders. In this article, I reflect on the conundrum of being an Indigenous outsider in much of my current research project in which I, as a Māori scholar, engage the works of Māori writers alongside Indigenous writings from Australia, Fiji and Hawai'i. How does working in Indigenous Studies as a discipline shape my approach to researching others? Does being an Indigenous researcher give me a backstage pass?