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The Native Nations Institute (NNI) is honored to host Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Jason Mika, a descendant of the Ngāi Tūhoe, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Kahungunu tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand. Mika is a senior lecturer at Massey University Business School (Te Kura Whai Pakihi) and co-director of its Te Au Rangahau Māori Business and Leadership Research Centre. Mika has followed the work of NNI and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development since the mid-90s. Two years ago he met up with NNI's Executive Director Joan Timeche (Hopi) in Auckland and the two discussed ways to collaborate on future research.
In 2018, Mika was selected as a Fulbright Scholar; his research while at the University of Arizona (UA) will focus on Indigenous entrepreneurship, and more specifically tribal perspectives on how and why Indigenous businesses succeed in the United States. He will be a guest lecturer during his two months at UA, where he will have the opportunity to share his expertise on Maori enterprises. When talking about successful entrepreneurship and Nation building, Mika emphasizes that both Indigenous governments and tribal entrepreneurs must be set up to promote and support a Nation's economic development. An essential part of this framework must include contemporary solutions while maintaining connections to ancestral culture and traditions—lessons also found within NNI's core principles. Both NNI and Mika look forward to the opportunity to build partnerships through student and faculty exchanges and joint initiatives in research.
Dr. Mika is grateful to share this experience with his wife Ana, and their three children aged 11, 9, and 6. The Mika kids, all enrolled in local Tucson schools, have embraced their American school experiences, and so ensure the benefits of the Fulbright exchange will endure through them.
Read Jason's article: Living in America: Tales of a Ford Block Native