Sharing of culture key in group's visit

By Zaryd Wilson

1 comment
TRADING STORIES: Cherokee elder and Two Feathers chair Mashu White Feather and board director Doreen Bennett are organising a cultural exchange in Whanganui. PHOTO/ SUPPLIED
TRADING STORIES: Cherokee elder and Two Feathers chair Mashu White Feather and board director Doreen Bennett are organising a cultural exchange in Whanganui. PHOTO/ SUPPLIED

Indigenous communities of the United States will trade stories with local Maori this month in a cultural exchange.

Two Feathers, an American international indigenous consultancy, will bring a group of American tribal representatives to Whanganui in an exchange with the Kimiora Trust.

While here they will share cultures, learn about iwi and the River Settlement.

It has been organised by Two Feathers board director and Whanganui woman Doreen Bennett who has been based in Missouri in recent years, and Two Feathers chair Mashu White Feather, a Cherokee elder.

The group will arrive in Whanganui on February 17 and will be in town until the beginning of March. Ms Bennett has been talking to indigenous communities across the US for the past five years and sits on the United Nations' Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

She said indigenous communities worldwide shared the same struggles and desires and had a lot to learn from each other: "The big ones I guess are still restoration of culture, language and traditions and climate change."

Ms Bennett said the American elders would be interested in the Whanganui River Settlement and how iwi achieved it.

"They always want to learn from us," she said. "New Zealand Maori seem to be a little bit ahead when you look at Australia and when you look at indigenous Americans."

There were a number of reasons for that, Ms Bennett said: "We've got one basic language that we all understand. And we're a small country."

Ms Bennett said the visitors will partake in a range of activities and be introduced to as many people and organisations as possible. A community seminar has also been planned.
"They'll be sharing some of their culture, sharing teachings and prophecies."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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