Memory and Remembrance in New Zealand

Explaining the various locations of the Dakota, Nakota and Lakota on the northern Great Plains, North America, to the Kiwi and Aussie attendees at the New Zealand Historical Association biennial conference on November 21, 2013, at University of Otago, Dunedin, south island New Zealand. A New Zealand scholar later said he was fascinated by this because he'd never seen such a map. This meant to me that another global knowledge-transfer had been achieved. This map comes from Mark Diedrich, "Mni Wakan Oyate (Spirit Lake Nation): A History of the Sisituwan, Wahpeton, Pabaska, and Other Dakota That Settled at Spirit Lake, North Dakota" (Fort Totten, North Dakota: Cankdeska Cikana College Publishing, 2007), 47.

Explaining the various locations of the Dakota, Nakota and Lakota on the northern Great Plains, North America at the New Zealand Historical Association biennial conference on November 21, 2013, at University of Otago, New Zealand.

Before I head off to another day of conference papers this morning, I thought I’d do a short recap of the session I attended and presented in yesterday afternoon, representing North Dakota State University and the Center for Heritage Renewal here at the University of Otago, the southern-most university in all the world.

Each presenter has 10-15 minutes to work with, and this is always the challenge of presenting: it’s how to communicate a rather complex idea to an audience — in this case on the other side of the world — using the allotted time parameters. My talk must have resonated with the other attendees and presenters, including George Davis and John Moremon (we chatted a bit after the talk).

I got what I came for, too: my goal was two-fold, the first to present a case-study history on one US-Dakota site of memory and mourning on the northern Great Plains (complete with the history of “official” and counter-official remembrance), and then ask Maori and Kiwi scholars to direct me to various sites of remembrance that resulted from the 19th century British-Maori wars. Of the latter, these conversations are continuing, so I’ll round out this blog post so I can get to those said conversations today.

My presentation was followed by George Davis, who considered the remembrance of ANZAC Day memorials, or how memory groups conceive of the physical and mental landscapes, in this case relative to the First World War. And the final presenter came from Aussie John Moremon, who considered how the Aussie and New Zealand government helped (or didn’t help) WWII veteran Calvin Coghill’s relatives through the grieving processes after finding out that Calvin had been killed in action in the European Theatre. Geoff Watson chaired our panel discussion, dutifully keeping all of us within our time limits.

George Davis explains the symbolism of the memorial wreath of ANZAC day.

George Davis explains the symbolism of the memorial wreath of ANZAC day.


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