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Blood Quantum “A Pūrākau approach to understanding the impact of ‘Blood Quantum’ in Māori Identity”

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” (Lorde, 1984, p.94) This thesis begins and ends with being Ngāi Tahu, the two fundamental questions that generated this topic are: Who determines Indigenous legal identity? Who defines tribal membership and affiliation? Although the idea of defining Indigenous Peoples, for political purposes originated in colonial times, the complications, and complexities of defining who an Indigenous individual remains a truly contentious issue. This thesis will draw on the Indigenous Māori methodology of pūrākau, or story work for its structure and method to explore the above questions relating to Indigenous identity. The pūrākau approach enables the research to harness mātauranga Māori knowledge such as whakapapa and korero tuku iho alongside western thought, which is now inked in academic disciplines such as in the study of law. This thesis explores notions such as Indigenous ‘blood’ and our Indigenous ‘DNA.’ It is argued that to understand the history, the politics, the laws of blood quantum and DNA, it is important to understand the mind of the coloniser and the tools they continue to use. The study of blood quantum has become an important aspect of the tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) of many Indigenous peoples. From a historical and cultural perspective, blood quantum standards divide and alienate communities, and perpetuate a discourse that promotes internalised self-hatred, alienation, and fractionation. This research will develop pūrākau as a pedagogy through creating learning tools. These new learning tools will counteract the possibility of our Indigenous Peoples from being trapped within these social constructions. The thesis will explore possible self-determination techniques which emphasize pūrākau in establishing identity through creating a journey of recovery through the application of pūrākau in decolonising blood quantum ideology. Ultimately, Indigenous Peoples of Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America need to be the ones in control of their identity, tribal affiliation, cultural continuity, destiny, and the way they are legally defined. Let's reclaim our stolen tools (Lorde, 1979)
Type of thesis
Edwards, A. J. (2020). Blood Quantum ‘A Pūrākau approach to understanding the impact of “Blood Quantum” in Māori Identity’ (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13766
The University of Waikato
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