From the 21st – 24th of June, Terri Cassidy (Kaiwhakaoho Mauri) represented Te Rau Matatini at the 44th Anniversary International Treaty Conference in the United States of America. The conference was hosted by the International Indian Treaty Council and the Sicangu (Rosebud) Treaty council in Mato Paha (Bear Butte), South Dakota. The theme of the conference was:
Treaty Right to Food, Treaty Right to Water, Hecel Mitakuye Oyasin Wiconipi Ktelo: “So that all my relatives will live.”
The kaupapa for attending the conference was to explore and hear the aspirations of other indigenous voices. The outcomes of the attendance were many including being accepted as an affiliate and a request to co-host an International Indian Treaty conference in Aotearoa.
The learnings from the conference have allowed a new understanding and a different lens from a Māori worldview and about best practice. Treaty issues for Indigenous peoples are holistic, and their worldview encompasses environments, social, mental, and spiritual to address issues such as prison, murders, teen suicide, meth, alcoholism, violence, abuse, infant mortality, housing, and poverty. It reiterates the impacts of colonisation and that systemic racism is still happening overseas and in Aotearoa.
A lot can be learnt from the Native Indian experiences, their journey; what has worked and what is not working. Key messages included the art of storytelling to affirm who you are and your whakapapa; that it is a living kaupapa, the past is in the now; Spiritual wellbeing is vital and reinforces that everything has a purpose and is interconnected.