'I Hē Koe?: Placing Rapa Nui
Abstract

Abstract:

In August 2010, conflict between indigenous Rapa Nui people and the Chilean state in "Easter Island" escalated as Rapa Nui occupied institutions and lands claimed by the Chilean state. This article introduces competing discourses by which the events of August 2010, as well as subsequent conflicts, might be assessed: archaeological, tourist, Chilean, indigenous, and cosmopolitan ethnography. Ethnographic analysis illuminates the point that the nonindigenous discourses fail to coherently "place" the significance of Rapa Nui people in Easter Island and hence cannot coherently ground the sense of Rapa Nui resistance. By contextualizing the events within indigenous epistemology, the events are shown to be continuous with over a century of rational Rapa Nui resistance to Chilean colonialism on the island. The article thus provides a discursive ground for interpreting recent and ongoing conflict in Rapa Nui in terms of Rapa Nui discursive practice.