The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 13, no. 1 (2001)


From Rolling Thunder to Reggae: Imagining Squatter Settlements in Papua New Guinea, p. 1
Michael Goddard
Abstract: As Papua New Guinea’s well-publicized “law and order” problem continues unabated, calls are often made for the destruction of squatter settlements and the dispersal of their inhabitants as a solution to urban crime. This article examines the popular imagery of urban “squatter settlements” in Papua New Guinea, which represents them as criminogenic habitats of unemployed and impoverished migrants. The imagery is generally as misleading as that of squatter and shanty environments elsewhere in the third world–a topic that is familiar in critical academic literature. But it is argued here that the shared imagery cannot be submitted to an analysis that simply draws on political-economic generalizations about housing and marginalization in “developing” nations. The notion of squatter settlements in the independent nation of Papua New Guinea has a specific origin in the imagination and attitudes of Europeans in the preceding colonial period. The historical transformations through which the imagery has been perpetuated are examined to understand how present-day urban Papua New Guineans can continue to demonize settlements in the face of lived experience that contradicts this censorious discourse.
Keywords: crime, housing, poverty, squatter settlements, urbanization.

Academic Responsibilities and Representation of the Ok Tedi Crisis in Postcolonial Papua New Guinea, p. 33
David Hyndman
Abstract: Since the start of the Ok Tedi mining project in Papua New Guinea in 1981, Broken Hill Proprietary has operated it. Weak environmental protection laws and a series of ecological disasters have endangered the greater Ok Tedi and Fly River socioecological region. A grassroots indigenous popular ecological resistance movement made an out-of-court settlement with the mining company in Melbourne in 1996. Early in 2000 the indigenous movement took Broken Hill Proprietary back to court in Melbourne to block the company’s attempt to abandon the Ok Tedi mine. Research started with Wopkaimin subsistence ecology in the 1970s. Later the political ecology of the Ok Tedi crisis was evaluated, as was ecological change in social terms; both are illustrated through the politics of cultural and ecological representation. After the successful convergence of radical environmentalists and indigenous popular ecological resistance against the Ok Tedi mine, research shifted to liberation ecology to study the emancipatory potential of struggles and conflicts against environmental degradation. The responsibilities of academics conducting research in the Ok Tedi crisis are examined. The Ok Tedi crisis challenges the proposition that academics can act as honest brokers through mining companies to negotiate deals for local communities. Academics engaged by mining companies as consultants or employees must work according to managed science and circumscribed briefs. The approach of critical liberation ecology, which directs research to community empowerment, represents a freedom of critical inquiry only available in the academy.
Keywords: ecology, liberation ecology, mining, Ok Tedi, Papua New Guinea, political ecology, research conduct

“How We Know”: Kwara`ae Rural Villagers Doing Indigenous Epistemology p. 55
David Welchman Gegeo and Karen Ann Watson-Gegeo
Abstract: We examine Kwara`ae (Solomon Islands) indigenous epistemology and indigenous critical praxis, including sources of knowledge and strategies for validating and critiquing evidence and knowledge construction. To illustrate indigenous epistemology in action, we focus on the Kwara`ae Genealogy Project, a research effort by rural villagers aimed at creating an indigenous written account of Kwara`ae culture. In recording, (re)constructing, and writing Kwara`ae culture, project members are not only doing indigenous epistemology, but also reflecting on and critiquing their own indigenous strategies for knowledge creation. We hope that the work illustrated here will inspire other Native Pacific Islander scholars to carry out research on their native or indigenous epistemologies.
Keywords: indigenous epistemology, indigenous critical praxis, Kwara`ae, Solomon Islands, villagers conducting research

Creating Options: Forming a Marshallese Community in Orange County, California p. 89
Jim Hess, Karen L Nero, and Michael L Burton
Abstract: Founded by individuals pursuing higher education in the United States, the Marshallese community in Orange County today also represents family and national interests in access to business opportunities, employment, education, medical services, and other goals. This community has become an “official” Marshallese overseas community, site of the first Marshallese consulate in the mainland United States, and a link between overseas Marshallese and the home islands. Individuals and family units traverse networks of inter-linked households, highlighting processes of Islanders’ investments, including at least a short-term reversal of theoretically expected remittance flows. We explore the process of community formation, and compare rural and urban sites in the Marshall Islands to call attention to the community’s place in a system of geographically dispersed locations within the global political economy.
Keywords: community formation, exchange relationships, family relationships, Marshall Islanders, migrant communities, migration decisions, Orange County


Our Own Liberation: Reflections on Hawaiian Epistemology, p. 124
Manulani Aluli Meyer
Abstract: As the Hawaiian political and cultural movement continues to grow, issues of representation, power, and control are being critiqued—now by Hawaiian minds. In this essay I look at the fundamentals of Hawaiian epistemology and begin to link them with the educational reform now underway in Hawai`i. With the guidance of twenty mentors, I outline seven epistemological categories that begin to solidify a distinct way in which to view teaching, learning, intellect, and rigor. These categories, now struggling to be useful in the Hawaiian Charter School movement, will inevitably also serve as a way to critique the current colonial system in Hawaiian language immersion, spotlight the oppression embedded in well-meant content and performance standards, and highlight the hidden curriculum of assimilation and the acultural assumptions in pedagogy that exist in Hawai`i’s colonial schools. This outline of a Hawaiian philosophy of knowledge expands, invigorates, and redefines ideas of empiricism, intellectual rigor, and knowledge priorities–all through Hawaiian ontological lenses. Like any definition of culture put forth by indigenous practitioners and scholars, it pushes the envelope of what it means to think, exist, and struggle as a nonmainstream “other,” and as it details the liberation found in identity, it must also, inevitably, outline the systems that deter its full blossoming.
Keywords: culture, empiricism, epistemology, Hawaiian, intellectual, ontology, philosophy

The Oceanic Imaginary, p. 149

David and Goliath, p. 163
Vilsoni Hereniko

Response to “The Oceanic Imaginary,” p. 169
Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard

(Re)visioning Knowledge Transformation in the Pacific: A Response to Subramani’s “The Oceanic Imaginary,” p. 178
David Welchman Gegeo

An Interview with Subramani, p. 184
Vilsoni Hereniko


Micronesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000, p. 200
Samuel F McPhetres, Gonzaga Puas, Donald R Shuster (Guam), Donald R Shuster (Palau), Julie Walsh

Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000, p. 225
Kerry James, Keli Kalolo, Steven Levine, Margaret Mutu, Asofou So‘o, Karin von Strokirch


Emerging Class in Papua New Guinea: The Telling of Difference, by Deborah B Gewertz and Frederick K Errington, p. 262
Review Forum by Michael French Smith, Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi, and Scott MacWilliam, with a Response by Deborah B Gewertz and Frederick K Errington

Getting Under the Skin: The Bougainville Copper Agreement and the Creation of the Panguna Mine, by Donald Denoon, p. 273
Reviewed by Glenn Banks

Australia and the Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century, by Roger C Thompson, p. 275
Reviewed by Barrie Macdonald

Strategies for Sustainable Development: Experiences from the Pacific, edited by John Overton and Regina Scheyvens, and Pacific Development Sustained: Policy for Pacific Environments, by Colin Hunt, p. 278
Reviewed by Ben Burt

Adolescence in Pacific Island Societies, edited by Gilbert Herdt and Stephen C Leavitt, p. 281
Reviewed by Donald H Rubinstein

From Primitive to Postcolonial in Melanesia and Anthropology, by Bruce M Knauft, p. 286
Reviewed by Edward LiPuma

Nanshin: Japanese Settlers in Papua and New Guinea, 1890-1949, by Hiromitsu Iwamoto, p. 287
Reviewed by David Y H Wu

Charles Abel and the Kwato Mission of Papua New Guinea 1891-1975, by David Wetherell, p. 288
Reviewed by Mary N MacDonald

Double Vision: Art Histories and Colonial Histories in the Pacific, edited by Nicholas Thomas and Diane Losche, p. 290
Reviewed by Jeanette Hoorn

Turning Tide: The Ebb and Flow of Hawaiian Nationality, by Niklaus R Schweizer, p. 292
Reviewed by Kanalu G Terry Young

Pana O‘ahu: Sacred Stones, Sacred Land, edited and compiled with photographs by Jan Becket and Joseph Singer, p. 293
Reviewed by David Hanlon

Bad Colonists: The South Seas Letters of Vernon Lee Walker and Louis Becke, by Nicholas Thomas and Richard Eves, p. 295
Reviewed by Paul Lyons

The Undiscovered Country: A Novel, by Samantha Gillison, p. 297
Reviewed by Steven Winduo

Islands of the Frigate Bird, by Daryl Tarte, p. 299
Reviewed by Katerina Teaiwa

Compassionate Exile, p. 302
Feature Review by Teresia K Teaiwa

Vot Long Pati Ia! (Your vote, our party), p. 307
Reviewed by Michael Goldsmith and Keith Barber