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By Susan Y. Najita

In Decolonizing Cultures within the Pacific, Susan Y. Najita proposes that the aggravating background of touch and colonization has turn into a very important potential wherein indigenous peoples of Oceania are reclaiming their cultures, languages, methods of understanding, and political independence. particularly, she examines how modern writers from Hawai‘i, Samoa, and Aotearoa/New Zealand be mindful, re-tell, and installation 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 function in invoking and commenting upon a number of the makes use of of the histories of colonial resistance, permitting themselves and their readers to visualize new futures by means of exorcising the prior. Decolonizing Cultures within the Pacific is a beneficial addition to the fields of Pacific and Postcolonial reviews and in addition contributes to struggles for cultural decolonization in Oceania: modern writers’ severe engagement with colonialism and indigenous tradition, Najita argues, offers a robust 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

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Marshall Sahlins describes Polynesian concepts of descent in terms of a structure of cultural repetition: “Just as the father is to his sons, so the ancestor stands to his descendants as a general class to its specific instances, a ‘type’ to its ‘tokens’” (1981: 13). In this way, it is possible for an elder to narrate the doings of his ancestral lineage over many generations “in the first person pronoun,” what has been termed “the kinship I” (13–14). According to the way descent is reckoned in Maori culture, for example, the world “unfolds as an eternal return, the recurrent manifestation of the same experiences .

32 Recent studies of victims of human rights atrocities set aside the pathologizing discourse of trauma. ”33 Trauma poses a particular threat to the reclamation of history, since complete recovery of the traumatic event (“kernel”) is often impossible. As the “extreme limit case” of psychoanalysis, trauma not only threatens the signifying components of language but also may bar history altogether (LaCapra 1994: 66). Hence, trauma acknowledges that reclamation may be only partial, losses may not always be made good, and wounds may never heal.

The works by Campion and Hulme examined here are written primarily amid calls for recognition of Maori as a bicultural partner. However, their responses are very different. As a counter-example to others in this study that explore indigenous nationalisms, Campion’s fi lm examines the emergence of white settler nationalism via the appropriation of key narratives of Maori cultural nationalism. In contrast, Hulme’s The Bone People—written prior to Maori negotiations with the Crown in the 1990s—imagines a bicultural mode of belonging based on the shared oppressions of boy convicts and native Maori.

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