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Creole Indigeneity

Between Myth and Nation in the Caribbean

Shona N. Jackson

Publication Year: 2012

During the colonial period in Guyana, the country’s coastal lands were worked by enslaved Africans and indentured Indians. In Creole Indigeneity, Shona N. Jackson investigates how their descendants, collectively called Creoles, have remade themselves as Guyana’s new natives, displacing indigenous peoples in the Caribbean through an extension of colonial attitudes and policies.

Looking particularly at the nation’s politically fraught decades from the 1950s to the present, Jackson explores aboriginal and Creole identities in Guyanese society. Through government documents, interviews, and political speeches, she reveals how Creoles, though unable to usurp the place of aboriginals as First Peoples in the New World, nonetheless managed to introduce a new, more socially viable definition of belonging, through labor. The very reason for bringing enslaved and indentured workers into Caribbean labor became the organizing principle for Creoles’ new identities.

Creoles linked true belonging, and so political and material right, to having performed modern labor on the land; labor thus became the basis for their subaltern, settler modes of indigeneity—a contradiction for belonging under postcoloniality that Jackson terms “Creole indigeneity.” In doing so, her work establishes a new and productive way of understanding the relationship between national power and identity in colonial, postcolonial, and anticolonial contexts.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Cover

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pp. 1-9

Contents

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pp. ix-11

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

This work has its origins in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when, growing up in Guyana, I experienced something that has stayed with me ever since. Every afternoon around four o’clock, sunlight would flood our family’s living room, and our already hot house in South Ruimveldt became...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-39

Guyana extends vertically into South America. The bulk of its inhabitants, Indians and blacks, live in or near the capital on the Atlantic coast. Much of its indigenous population is spread out on reservations closest to the coast, such as the Moruca Reservation in the North-West...

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1. Creole Indigeneity

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pp. 41-74

On the eve of the Haitian Revolution in 1791, most of the half-million enslaved peoples in the most profitable of all the French colonies had been brought directly from Africa. It is this character of the Haitian population that is often thought to have been fundamental in its ability...

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2. Labor for Being: Making Caliban Work

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pp. 75-109

Chapter 1 advanced a theoretical framework for understanding Creole belonging that addressed both its materialist and idealist underpinnings, thus laying the groundwork for the exploration in this and subsequent chapters of the rescripting of indigeneity as a socio-discursive...

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3. "God's Golden City": Myth, Paradox, and the Propter Nos

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pp. 111-144

Chapter 2 centered on the Calibanesque tradition. It addressed appropriation of the figure of Caliban by anticolonial and postcolonial writers who saw the discursive figure in terms of the conditions of speech for the black subaltern inside the West who seeks voice within the politics of cultural...

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4. From Myth to Market: Burnham's Co-operative Republic

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pp. 145-180

Chapter 3 sought to demonstrate the role myth plays in Caribbean modernity. It argued that the rearticulation in neo- and postcolonial discourses of the myth of El Dorado, in particular, allows its imagistic and ideological structures to continually inform modern, Caribbean...

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5. The Baptism of Soil: Indian Belonging in Guyana

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pp. 181-210

Amid barely recorded protest by Indigenous Peoples in 1997, the Timehri International Airport in Guyana was renamed for the late president Cheddi B. Jagan, with support from the then–Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Vibert DeSouza.1 DeSouza endorsed the renaming because...

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CONCLUSION: Beyond Caliban, or the "Third Space" of Labor and Indigeneity

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pp. 211-233

This book began by highlighting a disarticulation between the modes of being and belonging of Indigenous Peoples and Creoles in the Caribbean that congeal around labor. Its principal argument was that the ways in which Creoles indigenized, or came to belong to the Caribbean,...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 235-237

This has been a long and difficult work, and I think that I can say, without too much confusion, that the person who finished this book is not the one who began it. Both thank the following people for reading portions of the manuscript: Koritha Mitchell, M. Jimmie Killingsworth, Nandini Bhattacharya,...

Notes

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pp. 239-265

Bibliography

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pp. 267-283

Index

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pp. 285-310


E-ISBN-13: 9780816681952
E-ISBN-10: 0816681953
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816677757

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2012