My name is Danni. I’ve been a University of Washington student at the Tacoma Campus for nearly a year. I’m headed into my senior year, working towards a degree in Communications and hopefully a bright future as a journalist. For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of becoming a journalist. I’ve always been interested in the power of writing and the media in controlling the perceptions, opinions, and subsequently, lives of individuals. From my perspective, much of Western media has taken advantage of its influence, systemically portraying minorities such as people of color, women, and certainly indigenous peoples in a negative light, thus solidifying the oppression they face every day of their lives. Throughout my adolescence my mother always told me that if you didn’t like the way something was, do your part in trying to change it. Her words combined with my love for writing became the main motivations behind my aspiration to do my part in challenging the mainstream media’s often misleading representations, and assist in producing progressive, truthful media content.
Moreover, I come from an incredibly culturally diverse background, being a descendant of black, white, Native American, and Filipino genealogies. However, despite my diversified genetic makeup, I’ve spent the majority of my life confused about where I fit in. Ever since I can remember, I’ve attempted to redefine myself in order to fit into the arbitrary definitions of what it means to be a descendant of these various identities, however to this day I’ve yet to fully understand myself and the cultures of my ancestors. This was one of the greatest motivators in my choosing this study abroad exploration in Aoteroa. I’ve always been both inspired and internally jealous of the ability and resilience of indigenous peoples, such as the Maori, to not only revitalize their cultures from its attempted decimation, but also to know so wholly who they are. Not only has it inspired me to look deeper into my own ancestry and personal connection to indigeneity, but also to further understand the plight of these systemically ignored peoples.
Thus far, I’ve been so humbled by the experiences of this trip, and the strength of the Maori people in keeping their culture alive. I’m still unsure of where I fit in the world, or who I am. But in everything I do I’m attempting to piece together my own identity, just like the countless cultures across the world attempting to do the exact same thing. I’m curious for what else this study abroad exploration has to offer, but I can’t wait to find out!
Thanks so much,