Advice from Spiderman to Indigenous Researchers

Words have power.

Now that we are few months into the K.I.N blog. I realise, even more so, the power that words can have. I have had many reactions to the blogs I write. Not all of them positive, but that’s because I tend to write provoking pieces. People react.

I wrote a micro-poem awhile back,

all words

have an energy

inside them

linking words

creates a force

behind them

never underestimate

the power

of a poem

I wrote this as a response to the reactions of tears, laughter, joy, confusion and sometimes bewilderment, that some of my poems have on people. Words have power. People react.

It can be quite an unsettling thing to realise that you have an actual superpower through words to create reactions in people.  Wordsmiths and the masters of words, can, if they want, create intense intellectual, emotional and spiritual reactions in people. That can be a scary thing to be the caretaker of. This puts us, as indigenous researchers and writers in positions of incredible power.  We know how to wield the magical potency of words and are privileged with many platforms to voice them, and so we have a responsibility to use our words wisely.

The main point I wish to make here, is to be conscious and careful, as indigenous researchers about what we open up in people. Once you understand this power of reaction, it can be easy to use words to manipulate reactions in people that serve yourself.  A lot of our indigenous communities are vulnerable, sensitive and insecure. Inciting anger and fear is an easy emotion to evoke. I see a lot of our indigenous leadership is based on inciting ‘anger’ to gain a following. I also see the theme of ‘unfairness’ as a means of gaining reactions from people.  I’m not always convinced that all our problems need the energy of anger to solve them or by constantly feeding our people that life is unfair.

On the flipside, what if you pen words that create no reaction, no emotion and no intellectual movement at all? What if you have a voice that no-one wants to listen too? Maybe that is an even scarier proposition. But that is another blog.

Words have power. People react. We have a responsibility. So, I leave you with the words of Peter Parker, aka, Spiderman to sum this up…..

“with great power, comes great responsibility”


  1. Amber Nicholson

    I read the four agreements yesterday and Don Miguel Ruiz wrote about your word being the force that expresses your creative power. Your intentions, your dreams, what you really are, will be manifested through word. The power of the word, is the power of will.

    Words, as forms of breath, and have their own mauri and receive their mana from the speaker so need to be used wisely. I can only hope that my voice, through my research, will create unicorns. Or at least maybe some horns?? (I’ll take spiders)

    A wise person (ahem) once said to me: when you throw something potentially provocative out, you best be ready for the responses. As my journey continues I am gaining more confidence to put my voice out there. I really enjoyed your poem. Ahakoa he iti, he kaha. Just like Spiderman.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Manuhiri

    We all carry with us a particular frame of reference based on our upbringing, our life experiences. And so how we approach what we read, and how we react to what we read, is often as a result of our own interpretations based on our understanding of the world. I guess what I’m saying is the power isn’t solely the responsibility of the writer, but the reader must also recognise they have a responsibility too.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Abigail McClutchie

    WORD! I agree with all that has been said in this blog.

    The thing I love about words is you get to name things. When you name things with words, then you get to define them with words you choose. When you define them you have the power. That is you can agree or disagree or totally ignore what others say about what and how you have named something. At the end of the day when you name things you own what they mean.

    Poems are so special. Each word carefully crafted and holding its place with purpose. Dr Wayne Dyer talked about his words flowing through like they were channelled through him.

    Mauri to the ora on that one!


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