Willow Kipp with her mother Michelle Guzman and Shawn Whitegrass with gifts.
By LACEY WHELAN
NEW ZEALAND — Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Willow Kipp recently returned from a trip to New Zealand as apart of a Missoula delegation with Palmerston North University, in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
The overall goal was to better relationships between U of M and Palmerston North University and to hopefully begin an indigenous to indigenous exchange program for students and faculty.
Overall there were 16 Missoula delegation members that went to New Zealand. The members were there from March 18 through the 27. Kipp was offered a chance to paint on a wall in the city as a mark of the indigenous relations. She also worked with the local Maori artists and they were able to complete it within two days.
Mural painted by Willow Kipp in New Zealand.
While there, Kipp and her mother, Michelle Guzman Kipp, attended several international relations dinners, lunches, art tours and activities throughout their stay, and all of the Missoula delegates were given the opportunity to stay with the mayor, international director, and Maori Massey professors. The host was Honni Morris and his sister Janis Morris. They also were invited by the Chief of the Maori and his wife to stay at their Marriah, which is a famous ancestral home.
Kipp and Michelle were asked by Toni Grace, who is the International relations director for Palmerston North, to open the Festival of Cultures dance competition, which showcased over 150 different cultures from across the world. The two of them did not compete in the festival, but she said they were honored to be asked to open the festival, and also showcase four other performances, Kipp says, “The opening of the festival was definitely the most notable.”
Before returning home, Kipp, Michelle and their singer Shawn Whitegrass from Browning, Montana were gifted items after one of the meetings at Massey, University. Those also visiting were gifted items including Michelle Shawn, Rose and Aldina Beardontwalk (both Salish-Kootenai) after their tour of the Immersion School.