Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Beauty of Diverse Cultures

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Today I am going to begin the gradual transition towards orienting my blog to focus on my upcoming project in Hawai'i.  For those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning as well as those who have discovered my online presence more recently I welcome you to follow along.

I have alluded to my love of Hawai'i in previous posts.  As today's blog entry I invite you to read the contents of a cover letter I composed when I applied for a position within the United States Department of the Interior at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.  The position I applied for was a Cultural Resources Program Manager.  I was never contacted for an initial interview.  Nonetheless, the letter I composed conveys my appreciation of Hawaii quite well.  Here it is:

I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel and experience the diversity of the world’s cultures since my childhood.  As a very young man I was sent to work with the Lakota Native American people living on the Rosebud Reservation as part of my formation training while a novice member of the Society of Jesus.  This time represented my first intensive cross-cultural immersion experience as an adult.  Upon leaving the Rosebud Reservation I found my personal development and perspective significantly changed.

I later pursued a fairly unconventional masters degree program offered by Naropa University.  Dr. Pamela Colorado, PhD created the program.  Her intention in creating the program was to offer students often of Caucasian background the opportunity to rediscover their own indigenous cultural traditions, stories and cosmologies.  Dr. Colorado has made it her life’s work to bring about a healing convergence between indigenous cultures and the modern world as well as between indigenous modalities of scientific inquiry and Western science.  I found the academic training and mentoring to be both intellectually rigorous as well as deeply healing.  I had previously foregone the opportunity to practice my training in atmospheric science due to my belief that the sciences as I had learned them were not sufficiently holistic in their perspective.

The degree program required all students to participate in residential learning intensives held once a semester on the island of Mau'i where Dr. Colorado makes her home.  I was mentored by elders from a variety of indigenous cultures including the Hawaiian people, the Aleut of Alaska and Native American tribes from the continent of North America.  These learning intensives introduced me to the traditional cultural practices, history and mythology of the Hawaiian people.  Our learning intensives introduced us to several sacred sites on the island of Mau'i.  During one intensive my student cohort traveled to an ancient petroglyph site to remove graffiti!  It is this unique program combined with my additional academic education and professional work experience that I assert qualifies me for the position of Cultural Resources Program Manager.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Dr. Colorado please visit the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network website.  Her life work is amazing and very rich.  I encourage you to consider contributing to her vision in whatever way might interest you.

I know the island of Mau'i best.  This will be my second time visiting the island of Moloka'i.  I look forward to having you following along!

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!