Response to 'A Pacific Reader: Literature, Culture and Text'

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The project of reclaiming an identity following colonization is made all the more difficult due to the fact that an integral part of colonization is the (frequently intentional) demolition of indigenous culture, history, and identity, to the point that some indigenous people find it impossible to re-establish or re-frame their identity in terms other than those of the colonizer. This is particularly true in places like the Pacific, where the effects of colonization continue to reverberate, whether subtly, through lingering economic and political inequalities, or more obviously, through the constant influx of wealthy, white tourists. Indigenous authors in the Pacific have attempted to overcome these lingering effects of colonization and reclaim their cultural through various means, and not all attempts are successful. By examining some of these texts in conjunction, it will be possible to see how some of the most effective attempts at reclaiming or reframing an indigenous cultural identity comes not from an ultimately fruitless attempt to reclaim a lost past, but rather from acknowledging the influence of colonization without buying into the ideological underpinnings of that colonization. To begin it will be helpful to examine some theoretical texts dealing with the effects of colonization in the Pacific, in order to provide some critical explanation for the themes evident in the fiction and poetry of the region. Jan Vansina offers the ideal entry point to the question of

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