A Bicultural Society

Kayla Petersen
August 21, 2015
Lake Tekapo

As a member of the Myaamia Native American tribe back in Oxford Ohio, living in a bicultural society has taught me heaps about what it’s like for an indigenous culture to be respected and treated equally. When our group visited a wildlife preserve, we were greeted with a very loud and vibrant chant from a group of Māori dancing and singing a Haka. We had a guide that told us that many of the women and the men would be shouting, however the meaning behind the shouting was very warm and welcoming in their culture. It was amazing to contrast the differences between the Native American stomp dance and a traditional Haka welcoming.

Walking around a school that lives and breathes a bicultural identity has transformed my views on what it’s like to feel truly equal. The school not only offers various majors but also offers different courses such as Māori language and indigenous studies. Through my efforts to learn and understand what it’s like to be a part of a culture that has made extremely positive and encouraging steps in different revitalization efforts, I am able to research and provide examples for tribes around the United States to follow and increase awareness. Many people throughout the States face issues involving self-identification, and whether they identify through blood quantum or personal experience. 

Studying abroad in New Zealand has become an extremely exciting time in my life, where I am utilizing my life experiences to help benefit different Native American tribes throughout the Unites States. I still have a couple of months before I leave to come home, but I’m eager to keep learning as much as I can! 

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Kayla Petersen

<p>I&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">am a sophomore at Miami University in Ohio. I major in nutrition and have a concentration in Dietetics. &quot;Home&quot; is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">wherever I feel happy, and for that I find my home in many places. After undergrad I plan on taking part in a Dietetic&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Intership that will last about a year and then take the RD exam to become a Registered Dietitian. I am apart of the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Miami tribe, and hope to give back and work with the tribe after I become a Registered Dietitian. I am hoping that my&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">experience in New Zealand will help lead me to better understand how culture plays a role in people&#39;s health and diet.</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">The Maori tribe plays a crucial role in being able to research and compare the different revitalization efforts from the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Miami tribe.</span></p>

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