Breadcrumbs

Leading New Zealand Indigenous studies researcher elected to prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences

5 May 2021

Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Well-known Indigenous studies Māori researcher and academic, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Te Rina Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou, Tuhourangi) from the University of Waikato, has been elected as an international honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

It is a rare honour - the first time a Māori academic has been elected to join the Academy, and only the third time a New Zealander has been elected with the late Canterbury evolutionary biologist David Lloyd elected in 1993 and former Prime Minister Helen Clark elected in 2012.

Professor Smith, author of seminal Indigenous studies text Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People, is in good company, with media entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey on the 2021 list of 252 new global members.

Other distinguished members include Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr, Georgia O’Keeffe, Toni Morrison and Nelson Mandela. There are more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners among their ranks.

“There are quite a few of my heroines on the list, including (Hawaiian human rights advocate and political scientist) Haunani-Kay Trask and (Indian scholar and literary critic) Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. I feel very honoured and humbled as a Māori woman to be elected,” says Professor Smith, who has been a leader in the field of Indigenous studies and kaupapa Māori research for more than three decades.

Her books, articles and YouTube lectures are prescribed texts in universities around the globe.

“I never started my work because I thought organisations such as this would be interested in anything I do, but it demonstrates some of the changes occurring in the knowledge world in terms of increased diversity, the inclusion of women and people of colour and Indigenous cultures. It’s a sign that things are changing and I feel good about that.”

The Academy was established in 1780, and celebrates “extraordinary people who help solve the world’s most urgent challenges, create meaning through art and contribute to the common good from every field, discipline and profession”.

“We are honouring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” said David Oxtoby, President of the American Academy.

Professor Smith has strong relationships with Indigenous researchers and communities around the world, including North America and Australia.

She also has links to the United States, having lived in Carbondale, Southern Illinois as a teenager when her father was doing his PhD there.

“It was the 1960s, and the civil rights movement was gaining strength,” recalls Professor Smith, who is a passionate advocate for Indigenous and civil rights. “Living in the US at that time helped give me perspective to the issues faced by Māori in New Zealand at that time.”

Professor Smith is one of the first Māori women to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2016, is also a member of the Waitangi Tribunal. She contributes to both research and Māori communities in a number of other roles and projects, and is currently doing research in the areas of health and family violence.

The Academy is planning to hold its annual induction weekend for new members in April 2022 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Professor Smith hopes to attend if Covid-19 travel restrictions allow.

For more information on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences see www.amacad.org


Latest stories

Related stories

Newly promoted academics

New Professorial Appointments for Waikato

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley has announced academic promotions for one new Professor…

Pou Temara, Mark Bowden, John McIntosh, Mike Sutton

2021 New Year Honours list recognises Waikato achievements

A former University of Waikato staff member and four alumni have been recognised for their…

Rangi Matamua

Aotearoa Star Man continues winning streak

The Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies has added another Ngā Whetū o Matariki award…

Findings of the independent review into public claims of racism at the University of Waikato released today

The reviewers commissioned to assess public claims of racism at the University of Waikato have…

Kīngitanga Day celebrations go virtual

The University of Waikato commemorated its special relationship with the Kīngitanga in a new way…

rangi

Māori astronomer receives Prime Minister's award

University of Waikato Professor Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe), has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Communications…

newsroom.co.nz

The state removal of Māori children from their families is a wound that won't heal - but there is a way forward

Too many New Zealand children are born into a state of crisis, as two recent…

Te Tohu Paetahi graduate credits programme for changing his life

For Anaru Palmer, a year studying te reo Māori through Te Tohu Paetahi at The…

Luke Moss

Desire to normalise te reo leads student to create his own clothing line

At first glance, Luke Moss would appear to be like any other university student. But…

Debashish Munshi, Priya Kurian and Sandy Morrison

100% climate resilient?

New research asks how prepared is Aotearoa’s highly valuable tourism sector for the coming impacts…

Mr G’s final ‘HOME’ artwork “Kotahitanga” embodies the essence of Waitangi Day

World-renowned street artist Mr G has spent Waitangi Day working on the final artwork in…

Maui Hudson

Indigenous genomics under the microscope at SING conference

The University of Waikato is hosted the first ever SING Indigenous Genomics Conference as international…