Studies of the Kanak independence movement have tended to focus on the turbulent 1980s in New Caledonia and their aftermath, but the roots of the modern nationalist movement go back to Kanak and Caledonian students who attended universities in France in the 1960s. They were radicalized by what they experienced, including the May 1968 student-worker uprising, and they went home again in 1969 to find colonialism alive and well in their own country. Their protest movement gradually grew into a pro-independence political party, when Jean-Marie Tjibaou was still a moderate cultural activist and political autonomist. The words and actions of Nidoish Naisseline, in particular, merit closer examination in tracing the genealogy of anticolonial Kanak and Caledonian radicalism. They show that when he became high chief on an outer island, his own politics began to change, though he remains to this day a local leader who supports indigenous rights.