In 1917, while in the midst of mobilization for the Great War, French authorities in New Caledonia sought to mobilize the French army, local settlers and Indigenous Kanak allies in the repression of a local "revolt." This article critically examines the archive of one of the punitive expeditions that followed during New Caledonia's "1917" war. By identifying and tracing the agreements and disagreements that emerged over the use of violence before and during the expedition, I challenge the dominant representations of the violence involved, including the notion of a punitive expedition.

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