Professional Doctorate in Indigenous Development and Advancement

I completed my Doctorate as an international doctoral candidate based in my home city of Olympia in Washington, USA. After my Masters, I hadn't intended to pursue a doctorate initially but was compelled to join because of the Awanuiārangi Indigenous Studies programme.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to further my education by my Chehalis Tribe. This doctorate was the perfect way to repay that faith in me. I focused on indigenous language revitalisation – a personal passion of mine – and in particular on Māori and Hawaiian efforts because their successes have been tremendous despite the different approaches they use. I wanted to contribute to the indigenous language revitalisation field in the hope of assisting indigenous groups who want to revitalise their own languages.

My experience was simply amazing! As an international student based in the United States, I was fortunate that we met for week-long classes each quarter in addition to the online component, and my cohort maintained frequent contact outside of class for study sessions and writing. One of the benefits of studying with Awanuiārangi was the focus on decolonisation and indigenous ways of knowing. This was life affirming. It caused me to re-evaluate my life and experiences as well as develop my critical thinking skills and approach to the colonised education and life systems in which we are often mired.

Would I recommend this programme to other international scholars? Absolutely – it is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I am one of the very first doctors in both my family and my Tribe. This programme is amazing and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all indigenous people and their allies.

Dr Conwell was the first international doctorate of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and graduated March 2018.  She also received Te Onehou Eliza Phillis Award For Outstanding Iwi Research

Dr Marla Conwell and Dr Mary DuPuis, Professional doctorate graduates