Black Islanders: A Personal Perspective of Bougainville, 1937-1991
- About the Book
Bougainville is seldom out of the news, yet how much do the press, the financial and mining world and the politicians understand events on that island? The Pacific's most damaging independence movement seems to operate amid claims and counter-claims, internal rivalry and a fog of deception. What do the BRA really want? More importantly, what do the islanders really want?
It is more than fifty years since Emeritus Professor Douglas Oliver began his fieldwork among the people of southern Bougainville. His periodic returns from Harvard and Hawaii, and his work elsewhere in the Pacific, provide an unequalled base for explaining the continuities and complexity of Bougainvillean realities. His approach is that of the anthropologist, examining today's events against a background of the peoples' diverse cultures and history, past emnity and mutual dependence.
Oliver distinguishes present fact from present disinformation. As has not been done before, he shows how the unintended consequences of past good intentions – by politicians, bureaucrats, missionaries, miner and Big Men – have contributed to the current impasse. Will the current division between Bougainvilleans be sobering model or seductive example for other parts of Papua New Guinea? Is over-population, long-term, a much graver problem than the bitter present struggle over the fruits of mineral development?
Black Islanders sheds much light on a struggle which is crucial to the future of Papua New Guinea and perhaps other countries in the region. It is compulsory reading for politicians, newsmen, academics, members of the general public – all those who are concerned about the fate of Bougainville.
- About the Author(s)
Douglas L. Oliver, Author