By Susan Y. Najita
In Decolonizing Cultures within the Pacific, Susan Y. Najita proposes that the anxious historical past of touch and colonization has develop into a vital potential during which indigenous peoples of Oceania are reclaiming their cultures, languages, methods of realizing, and political independence. specifically, she examines how modern writers from Hawai‘i, Samoa, and Aotearoa/New Zealand consider, re-tell, and set up this violent background of their paintings. As Pacific peoples negotiate their paths in the direction of sovereignty and chart their postcolonial futures, those writers play a useful position in invoking and commenting upon many of the makes use of of the histories of colonial resistance, permitting themselves and their readers to visualize new futures via exorcising the previous. Decolonizing Cultures within the Pacific is a priceless addition to the fields of Pacific and Postcolonial experiences and likewise contributes to struggles for cultural decolonization in Oceania: modern writers’ severe engagement with colonialism and indigenous tradition, Najita argues, offers a strong instrument for navigating a decolonized destiny.
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Extra info for Decolonizing Cultures in the Pacific: Reading History and Trauma in Contemporary Fiction
This is not to say that the fashioning of a popular nationalist culture is not possible or even necessary. On the contrary, the forging of such identities is necessary for political mobilization and the reclamation of lands, political voice, and self-determination. However, both Linnekin’s and Trask’s perspectives on Hawaiian identity gesture toward the possibility of either an unbroken continuity with or access to an authentic pre-contact past, both of which suggest that a coherent identity exists or is possible.
Conversely, how do these genealogical gaps function within anti-colonial nationalism? As a mode of reclamation, orality provides a language to articulate a new mode of belonging based upon genealogy that leads out of and beyond the traumatic past (Hulme). It also provides a language of alliance based upon oral and aural modes of understanding (Pak). But, oral traditions can also appropriate. The fāgogo can perform genealogy, grafting the nationalist future on to the history of resistance (Wendt).
Far from inhabiting a “postcolonial” moment, indigenous sovereignty movements in places such as Hawai‘i, Guam, or French Polynesia continue to struggle for self-determination even as this struggle is affected by diasporic migration and calls for multiculturalism. The native cultural nationalisms that emerge in these locations are situated in relation to histories of multiple colonization, and contexts of ongoing colonialism and emergent decolonization. ” In other words, moving beyond a simplistic understanding of colonizer–colonized, indigene–settler, allows one to note the indigene’s changing relationship to white or European settlers, other oppressed Europeans, and to non-white immigrants and laborers.
Decolonizing Cultures in the Pacific: Reading History and Trauma in Contemporary Fiction by Susan Y. Najita