Identity loss and suicide rates in Maoris

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by S.A.M., Jan 23, 2010.

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  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    How did Maoris lose their identity when they have been in the same place since 1300? How can they recover this identity?

    What defines identity in a person? How is it formed?
     
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  3. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    You may not realize this, but i've already answered most of the first couple of questions for you, back in the thread about the stolen insignia from the Auschwitz gates.

    Specifically, I recall mentioning that being maori, and maoriness has gone through varying degrees of popularity. So while there have always been places where maoritanga is practiced, and things like whakapapa are remembered (marae, for example) there are people, generally, as I recall so called 'Urban Maori' who know their Iwi, and little else about their family history or culture (some have forgotten even that much).
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    So why do they have high suicide rates? What is the reason?

    {I started this thread because that one was interrupted before I finished my questions}
     
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  7. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    Ask a Maori.
     
  8. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Ask a suicidal Urban Maori, or failing that, a socioligist.

    I am, however, fairly sure that it's not something that's exclusive to Maori, I have heard it suggested that it's a widespread phenomenom wherever you get the integration of a Tribal society, and a non-tribal society, however I imagine there are a number of factors involved.
     
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    But these Maoris are not born in a tribal society, are they? So what are they identifying with or not identifying with? What do they need to "integrate" into in their place of birth?
     
  10. noodler Banned Banned

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    I'm only a somewhat maorified European, but I think that culture is connected (jaw-droppingly) to group identity.
    If you even travel to a fairly distant location in your own country, you experience a sense of dislocation of this cultural identity, most of us identify strongly with a location, with family and tribal roots, etc.

    Maori lost a lot of these ties as missionaries discouraged native culture, pupils at school were punished up until the 1950s for speaking their native language. NZ has a history with indigenous people just as narrow-minded and culture-defeatist (attempting to replace a culture with a superior one) as in Australia. What I suppose saved the Maori from the same levels of cultural displacement (although that's a completely arbitrary statement after two centuries) was their doggedness and resistance to cultural imperialism. The aboriginals in Australia were, and are, kind of doomed from the outset - they had nothing to fight with and still have little political say, at least Maori culture is resurgent and they have a voice in govt.

    I remember as a youngster how Maori culture was pretty underground, you had to travel to the boondocks to see it or go to tourist locations where it was 'allowed', like Rotorua
    Nowadays at schools there are classes and cultural competitions in waiata and karakia, haka and poi, all the 10-guitars stuff you can literally shake a stick at, and I haven't met a native who can't sing either.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  11. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    I think Noodler summed it up best.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    But wouldn't you say that it is the ones who are dogged and resistant to cultural "imperialism" are the least likely to be cut off from their own culture? So what governs the identity of Maoris who do not know more than their iwi? What do they identify as their culture? What are their circumstances? How do they form an identity?
     
  13. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    See, I had a very different experience of Maoridom/Maori Culture.
     
  14. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Whakapapa has a big role. In some tribes, if you can't state you're whakapapa, if you can't prove you're descended from certain people, you don't have the right to call yourself from that tribe.

    I guess it would be kind of like being 'excommunicated' from Islam, or being told that you're no longer considered a Ghujarat.
     
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Why would someone who does not know more than their iwi care about stuff like that? Do people who no longer believe in Allah want to go to the mosque? Fast in Ramadan? Go for Hajj?

    If they don't identify with a particular group think, why not adopt the identity of a group that matches their own?
     
  16. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    That'll teach me to try and relate something to someone in a way I think they might be able to understand.

    It's not neccessarily about caring about it.

    Can you imagine being, for example, a native born Saudi, but being unable to make genuinely declare (the?) Shahada.

    Being neither a depressed urban maori, nor a sociologist, I can only ever speculate.
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    The shahada is not culture. Islam is not genetic or even tribal. Is a native born Saudi homosexual part of the Saudi culture? Is he more or less likely to commit suicide?

    What defines identity in a person?
     
  18. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    I can't work out if your deliberately misrepresenting my statement, or simply not understanding it. I didn't claim that the Shahada was culture, however, I imagine (speculate) from my understanding of such things, that in a predominantly muslim culture, such as Saudi Arabia, being able to genuinely declare the shahada is an important thing.

    Or are you suggesting the declaring the Shahada is irrelevant to a Muslim?

    Didn't say it was.

    You're the practicing Muslim, you tell me.

    I imagine that he (or she) would be more likely to commit suicide, but that's speculation on my part.

    Ask a socioligist, but I imagine that culture dictates what defines identity.
    In other words, I imagine that what dictates identity in New Zealand, is different from what dictates Identity in India, or what dictates identity in Israel.
    I also imagine that what dictates identity for a maori is different to what dictates identity for a european.
     
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    The Shahada is declared by new Muslims. ie it is a statement that you accept Islam. It is part of prayers but not really something people go around saying to each other for any reason

    Shahada: I submit that there is no god but God and that Muhammed is his messenger.

    You don't need to say it out loud, it is a statement of belief you make to yourself.


    I'm trying to show the distinction between culture and identity. Its not one and the same. In Pakistan for instance, the best rated television show is a serious political talk show hosted by a transvestite. Is that Islamic culture? Pakistani culture? Muslim culture? Asian culture? Western culture?


    I don't think culture and identity is synonymous. Could you give me an example of components of identity in the maori which are different from those of an european?
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Who would be the right person to inquire about this from, and why?
     
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Someone who lacks an identity? Isn't a person who lacks something the best source of information for what he needs?

    I'm trying to figure out why Maoris born and brought up in post colonial New Zealand are looking back for an identity apart from the society they reside in.
     
  22. noodler Banned Banned

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    One big difference between identity in European culture and Maori is that ownership and familial relations are quite different concepts.
    Maori do not have the concept of material, capitalist ownership of anything, land, the clothes they wear or food - there is the tribe and ancestral history. Whakapapa is about this traditional tie of every Maori (which means "person, people") to their ancestry, which is all the taonga they possess or have gifted to other chiefs or tribes - the important distinction is that everyone shares the treasure of tribal inheritance.

    This is what kept them from outright slaughter of each other, since mana could be gained by gifts being given, including access to hunting and fishing grounds. Mana was and is the currency of Maori cooperativity, tribally and as a "nation" such as it was when Europeans with ideas of profit (different mana) appeared. This is why for instance, Maori leaders have less problems with gifts of taxpayer money than the "less corrupt" Euro crowd...
     
  23. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Didn't say it was, or do you think that I also meant that Christians go around getting baptised on a daily basis?

    Seriously. Is a TV show culture?

    I imagine the answer to that depends on who you talk to.

    Sure, here's two: Whanau, and whakapapa.

    In European culture, your family consists of your nuclear family, and maybe a few cousins or such.

    In maori culture you have Whanau which includes aunts, uncles, cousins - it extends much further than the european concept of family, people who you consider whanau don't even neccessarily have to be blood relatives.

    Whakapapa, most Europeans don't seem to care too terribly much about their family tree, or their lineage, except, for example where it leads to someone interesting (EG royalty, or a popular group - and before anybody starts whinging in my ear, I'm speaking from my experience here, which is all any of us can really do), however, in Maori culture it has a much stronger significance attached to it, for example, in Ngai Tahu unless you can trace your whakapapa back to someone in - I think it's called the blue book, it contained the results of a census that was done among the Maori population in, I think it was 1850, you have no right to call yourself Ngai Tahu.

    In Maori culture, your whakapapa carries a degree of power and status.
     
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