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TALATEU Introduction INDIGENEITY IS ABOUT deep roots as well as long-distance routes (Clifford 1997).Searching deep into one’s roots reveals ancestral routes.As a highly mobile indigenous Tongan, I started traveling back and forth between Tonga and the United States at the very young age of five.My travels,accompanied by my parents and my siblings, were mainly to sustain my vā (sociospatial ties) with my maternal grandparents, who resided over five thousand miles away in Salt Lake City, Utah. I must admit that the life of a traveling native Tongan was neither fun nor glamorous.The cold weather in Salt Lake City was not always welcoming to me,a boy from a tropical island in the heart of the South Pacific.I missed my family and friends in Tonga. I eventually stayed with my grandparents and attended school in Utah. My parents, however, remained in Tonga.Throughout my upbringing, I moved back and forth between my parents in Tonga and my grandparents in the United States, attending elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools in both Tonga and the United States. My story is a thread in a large tapestry of traveling indigenous peoples through the world. Tongans, the native people of the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific, are a highly mobile indigenous group. Like their seafaring ancestors, they are constantly on the move across tā and vā,‘time and space.’Today, they crisscross the Moana (Pacific Ocean) not on watercraft but on aircraft from Tonga to Aotearoa (New Zealand),Australia,Hawai‘i,the continental United States,and countries throughout the world. This indigenous practice of travel has led to 4 TALATEU more Tongans residing outside of Tonga than in the homeland of Tonga (Lee 2009, 8). As native Tongans move to different time zones and places, they take with them aspects of their indigenous culture.Perhaps the most significant part, from my view, is their indigenous sense of marking tā-vā (time-space). Noted cultural geographer David Harvey identified space and time as the “foundational concepts for almost everything we think and do” (1996, 208). On the island of Maui, mobile indigenous Tongans, who migrated more than three thousand miles from Tonga to Hawai‘i, are actively and artistically arranging tā and vā to reconcile tempospatial conflicts and to create harmony and beauty. Tauhi vā,the indigenous Tongan art of mediating sociospatial conflicts,is a way of symmetrically rearranging tā and vā to mark indigeneity. Symmetry, in an indigenous Tongan sense,is the quality of proportionality,balance,or similarity. Within the nation-state’s contemporary definition of indigeneity, mobile Tongans are not considered indigenous to Hawai‘i.However,ancient ancestors link Tongans to Hawai‘i and Hawaiians to Tonga. Tongan and Hawaiian oral traditions point to Moanan (Oceanian) gods Tangaloa/Kanaloa, Maui, and Hina as common ancestors to both Tongans and Native Hawaiians. Tangaloa/Kanaloa, Maui, and Hina lived in both Tonga and Hawai‘i. Another common ancestor is Lā‘au ali‘i of Hawai‘i, who appeared in Tonga as the foreign chief Lo‘au (see chapter 5). Most Tongans, including myself,are direct descendants of Lo‘au.Due to these common ancestors , Tongans and Hawaiians are indigenous in a genealogical sense to both Tonga and Hawai‘i.Genealogy is a more appropriate anchor for claims to indigeneity (Kauanui 2008; Tengan, Ka‘ili, and Fonoti 2010). My use of ancient genealogy to define indigeneity is grounded on the tā-vā theory, specifically, the Tongan arrangement of time and space. Espousing an ancestral perspective (see Māhina, Ka‘ili, and Ka‘ili 2006, 20), this indigenous time-space orientation honors the past as well as people from the past—elders and ancestors (see chapter 3).One’s ancestral lands,ancestors,and roots are highly significant.The search for the roots of indigenous Tongans reveals ancient routes crisscrossing Tonga and Hawai‘i. Mobility is an integral part of indigeneity (Clifford 1997; Kauanui 2007). This is especially true of highly mobile indigenous Moanans such as Tongans, Hawaiians, Samoans, Tahitians, Rarotongans, Tokelauans, Niueans, Tuvaluans, and Māori. The ancient ancestral and genealogical ties of Tongans (and other Moanans) to Hawai‘i clearly illustrate the limitation of the contemporary concept of indigeneity. This issue is relevant to the fields of indigenous/native studies, cultural studies, and anthropology. INTRODUCTION 5 I am also defining indigeneity to include ancient systems of thinking and behaving. Native Hawaiian epistemologist Manulani Meyer maintained that “indigenous is simply a synonym for that which...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780816537525
Related ISBN
9780816530564
MARC Record
OCLC
1001352219
Pages
200
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-23
Language
English
Open Access
No
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