Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Future Story -- "Whale Rider"

We can build our future through story. This is a difficult task to do in great detail, so care must be taken in telling the future story--because most of us are not able to predict the future. This is essentially what our text tells us. On top of that the wizened professor said this is the story most grapple with.

Still of Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider
I have been wracking my brain for a future story I could relate to--to hold up as a model. Somewhere in the caverns of my mind the movie Whale Rider came to me as a likely candidate. As I rewatched it the Who I Am story of the protagonist Paikea, clearly was at odds with the Who We Are story traditionally held by the Whangara tribe of New Zealand. These traditional values held firm to patriarchal leadership even to the detriment of its own survival.

Her grandfather's vision was traditional and as Stephen Denning describes in the required text "People knew and kept their places, geographically as well as socially. Tradition was largely undisturbed by innovation. Overall change proceeded at a pace barely perceptible. Each generation was a replica of its predecessor. The central element of wisdom was seen as permanence." Paikea was born the future leader and broke taboos and precedence from the moment of birth; however as a girl who wanted to assume the role of leadership she was not recognized by her grandfather and chief who disdainfully said: "When she was born, that's when things went wrong for us." Yet she strove to honor and respect him while patiently loving him and seeking his attention and instruction all the while.

With unbelievable dedication, Paikea continues to embrace and model her vision. Her vision is to share knowledge so everyone can become a leader. In the process of rebirth to this new type of leader her grandfather nearly dies of a broken heart and Paikea nearly dies by drowning. Yet they both awaken together to the new leadership possibilities on the community's horizon. The movie ends beautifully showing communal unity.

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