The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 21, no. 1 (2009)

The Contemporary Pacific 21.1 cover imageAbout the Artist: Lingikoni Vaka‘uta, vii

The Pacific Islands, viii

Editor’s Note, ix
Terence Wesley-Smith


Beyond “Migration”: Samoan Population Movement (Malaga) and the Geography of Social Space (Vā)
Sa‘iliemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor, 1

Abstract: New flows of population movements have called into question both conventional categories of “migration” and their assumptions, encouraged by concepts such as diaspora and transnationalism. Despite the incorporation of the new concepts diaspora and transnationalism in migration studies in Oceania, conceptual problems remain because traditional categories of migration, diaspora, and transnationalism continue to dominate mobility literature with notions of severing ties, uprootedness, and rupture as Pacific Islanders move from the periphery (villages) to the core (Pacific Rim countries). In this article, I argue that indigenous conceptions of migration and development provide a better understanding of people’s movements and the connection of migration to development for Island societies and economies. Through an ethnogeographic study of Salelologa, a Samoan village with members in Sāmoa and overseas, I use Samoan concepts for migration, malaga, and social connectedness, vā, to examine the processes, ideologies, and interactions that ‘āiga (kin group, family members) maintain and retain in the diaspora as they seek ways to improve households and human betterment. This discussion of a Samoan philosophy and epistemology of movement expands, invigorates, and redefines ideas of migration, development, transnationality, place, and identity through Samoan ontological lenses. Harnessing an awareness of indigenous concepts is not enough, however, unless indigeneity and its concepts are fully integrated into theoretical approaches to mobility research in Oceania.
Keywords: indigeneity, epistemology, malaga, vā, development, ideology, Pacific Islander

The Red Wave Collective: The Process of Creating Art at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture
Katherine Higgins, 35

Abstract: The Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, is a space where Oceanic identity is expressed through painting, sculpture, music, and dance. For a decade, artists have been expressing a burgeoning Oceanic identity infused with traditions and histories expressed in the contemporary period through art. The founder and director, Epeli Hau‘ofa, has nurtured a space for Oceanic arts that encourages a participative process of learning that speaks to the potential of each individual while simultaneously forming a dedicated community of artists learning from one another. What is unique about the Oceania Centre is the process of creation in which artists are forming and asserting their identity. This identity is respectful of and concerned with traditions, histories, current conditions (cultural, social, and political), and overall experience of Oceania. The process of participative creative exchange at the Oceania Centre is integrated throughout its painting, sculpture, dance, and music programs to produce expressions that move like waves with the fortitude and force of the ocean. As with any process, the creativity at the center is dynamic and not limited to the contemporary or traditional. The art evolves. It invites the ancestors into conversations in the present to dream of the future. Beginning with a brief history and introduction to Hau‘ofa’s vision, this article focuses on the Red Wave Collective, the group of painters and sculptors practicing at the Oceania Centre. These artists arrive at the Oceania Centre from different walks of life. Their qualification to join: experience of life as an Oceanian. Excerpts from interviews with some of the Red Wave painters and sculptors offer a glimpse into the value of participative learning space and the dynamic process of creativity at the Oceania Centre.
Keywords: contemporary art, Oceanic art, Epeli Hau‘ofa, Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, Red Wave Collective


A Well with No Water
Brij V Lal, 73

The “Sea of Little Lands”: Examining Micronesia’s Place in “Our Sea of Islands”
David Hanlon, 91

Abstract: Paul Rainbird has written on the assumed absence of certain cultural practices that informed Jules-Sébastien-César Dumont d’Urville’s identification of Micronesia as a definable and major area of the Pacific. What followed d’Urville’s misnaming was the ethnological reification of Micronesia as a coherent cultural entity. Colonialism, most recently and most particularly American colonialism, has contributed to the reification of this anthropological construct in politically significant and intellectually constraining ways. This essay reflects on a variety of linked histories—anthropological, colonial, and literary—that help explain the area’s limited connections to the rest of contemporary Oceania and its related, more general circumscription from the field of Pacific studies. It also focuses on recent writings that destabilize the term Micronesia in favor of more localized histories, ethnographies, and literature—a process that is consistent with Hau‘ofa’s vision of “our sea of islands.”
Keywords: American empire, anthropology, decolonization, Micronesia, Pacific studies, Oceania


Micronesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008
John R Haglelgam, David W Kupferman, Kelly G Marsh, Samuel F McPhetres, Donald R Shuster, 114

Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008
Lorenz Gonschor, Jon Tikivanotau M Jonassen, Margaret Mutu, Unasa L F Va‘a, 145


Pacific Performances: Theatricality and Cross-Cultural Encounter in the South Seas, by Christopher B Balme
Reviewed by Jane Desmond, 184

Waikīkī: A History of Forgetting and Remembering, by Andrea Feeser and Gaye Chan
Reviewed by Marata Tamaira, 187

Island of Shattered Dreams, by Chantal T Spitz
Reviewed by Paul Sharrad, 190

Solomon Island Years: A District Administrator in the Islands 1952–1974, by James L O Tedder
Reviewed by Ben Burt, 192

Security and Development in the Pacific Islands: Social Resilience in Emerging States, edited by M Anne Brown
Reviewed by Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, 194

The Insular Cases and the Emergence of American Empire, by Bartholomew H Sparrow
Reviewed by Laurel A Monnig, 197

Eagle vs Shark [feature film]
Reviewed by Joel Moffett, 200

Resistance: An Indigenous Response to Neoliberalism, edited by Maria Bargh
Reviewed by Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu, 202

Memories of War: Micronesians in the Pacific War, by Suzanne Falgout, Lin Poyer, and Laurence M Carucci
Reviewed by Mac Marshall, 205

The Growth and Collapse of Pacific Island Societies: Archeological and Demographic Perspectives, edited by Patrick V Kirch and Jean-Louis Rallu
Reviewed by Terry L Hunt, 207