Indigenous Encounters

A student of Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago is using her research as the basis of a new programme on Otago Access Radio’s Connecting Cultures Zone.

Pia Kahn hosts Indigenous Encounters every second Tuesday evening at 7pm.

“I feel that indigenous people should have a voice in the mainstream,” Ms Kahn said.

“A lot of people don’t even know what indigenous means, so the radio show is a great way to educate the public about it and to give a voice to marginalised people. Also, it’s a way for me to research as part of my studies.”

Ms Kahn has a particular interest in indigenous groups of the Philippines. In investigating her own Tagalog heritage, she has the documented the impacts of colonisation on Tagalog language and customs.

“There are certain remote areas in the Philippines where Tagalog is still spoken in a way you don’t hear any more. So I’m concerned about certain words being lost in our culture because the national language is based on Tagalog but has loaned words from other languages.”

Moves to restore the lost arts and crafts of other indigenous cultures would also be explored on the radio show. Ms Kahn pointed to an initiative in Guam to revive construction of canoes and sailing vessels once used by ancient Chamorro settlers as an example worthy of coverage.

Two recent episodes featured interviews with Infinite Dakot-ta, an international artist who combines spoken word, hip-hop, indigenous chants, body movement and dance to convey a message of love, liberation, and the revival of indigenous cultures and values.

“I think there are certain cultural features in common with indigenous people,” Ms Kahn said.

“They are usually very connected to the areas they’re in, and the world view is nature-based and quite spiritual. Most have had to resist colonisation and commercial encroachments on their lives.

“Indigenous Encounters will explore some of the contemporary responses to that.”

Indigenous Encounters airs every second Tuesday at 7pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available

Photo: World view: Pia Kahn hosts Indigenous Encounters on Otago Access Radio.