Re: Tahiti News

Maddog (Christopher.Morgan@JCU.EDU.AU)
Fri, 15 Sep 1995 12:13:25 +1000

Hi all,

In response to my posts about continuing colonialism in the Pacific, I've
received some thoughtful, if divergent, responses. A selection:

Cameron Laird wrote this (to ANTHRO-L):

> >ultimately subject to rule by the USA and France, respectively. The
> > ludicrousness of this situation is evidenced by Chirac's assertion
> > that Tahiti IS France.
> .
> .
> .
>I'm sure Maddog knows this, but it's worth making explicit
>in anthropologic conversation: Chirac's assertion sounds
>less ludicrous in French. This is not only because it
>serves French national interests, but because the French
>cultural notion of "nation" is different (subtly) from
>those common in English-speaking countries. It does not
>excuse brutality or injustice committed by the state of
>France, but it is both interesting and potentially use-
>ful to understand yet another variation on the question
>recently raised here about what is a "people" (and where
>is their land).

George Smith wrote this (to me, personally):

>I don't know about the other colonies, but Hawaii IS the U.S..
>It's officially 1/50th of the U.S., and cannot be thought of as
>a colony.

Houston Wood wrote this (to the postcolonial list):

>After Pu`uhonua Kanahele was denied bail twice by federal magistrates in
>Hawai`i, an appeal for bail was filed with the Ninth Circuit Court in San
>Francisco. Yesterday a panel of 3 judges ruled 2-1 to uphold the denial of
>bail and continue holding Kanahele.
>In another case relating to driving with SOVEREIGN license plates, in which
>the Nation has raised the issue of jurisdiction, Kanahele is scheduled for
>trial on Friday, Sept. 15, in state court. The Nation is calling for a
>rally outside of the Alakea Street Courthouse at 8:00 am. Please join us!
>For other background on this situation, including news articles, letters to
>the editors in Hawaii's papers, and excerpts of letters in support of
>Kanahele's release, please visit the Nation's Political Prisoner Web page:

It seems to me that Cameron's point puts an interesting spin upon the
French perspective (which I'll admit I hadn't considered) while in no way
legitimizing continuing French sovereignty. However, the linguistic
argument doesn't explain the ideologies underlying George's post, which are
clearly diametrically opposed to those held by indigenous Hawaiians who
support leaders like Pu`uhonua Kanahele. IMHO, what we have here are
distinct discourses concerning sovereignty and the State, which although
perhaps "subtly different", act similarly in perpetuating the anachronistic
colonial hegemony under which indigenous subjects in the Pacific remain
alienated from their own land by virtue of the legalistic fiction of
Western sovereignty.

Sorry to rant (& please excuse the cross-posting/quotes). From the report I
just heard on the radio, it seems that if the Frogs decide to conduct a
second test, all hell's gonna break loose in Papeete (again).

Bow Wow,

P.S. I'll be away for a couple of weeks, so I'll catch up via digest &
respond when I return.

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