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Indigenous identity and resistance : Researching the Diversity of Knowledge : [book review] van Meijl, Toon May 22, 2012

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Book Reviews 237 execution seems indisputable. It is less clear that seeking to improve the lives of the worst off of the inner-city children of Britain by removing them to new homes was inappropriate. Rhetoric aside, undoubtedly they were going from one hard life to another hard life, but some would have been decidedly better off, others worse off, although, as it is impossible to know what would have become of each child had they been left in their homes, we cannot with any certainty assess how many were better off. Furthermore, when the number of children displaced by the two programs is compared with the population from which they came, it is clear that the implications for aboriginal communities were incomparably greater. Estimates suggest that from a population of  thirty-two million in 1871 rising to fifty-three million in 1961, about 100,000 children were sent from the United Kingdom to Canada, the primary destination for child emigrants after 1869, while about 150,000 aboriginal children were sent to Canadian residential schools out of a population in 1871 of  just 23,000, rising to 220,000 in 1961. Nevertheless, the book provides a well-documented insight into the child rescue ideology of four British individuals and their organizations, and the concerns raised are of continuing relevance to modern efforts to help children orphaned by major catastrophes and wars. As they conclude,  “the more negative aspects” of the legacy of the nineteenth- century child rescue movement “should lead us to be wary of the quick solutions in what is a very complex area” (175). Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada   CHARLOTTE NEFF INDIGENOUS IDENTITY AND RESISTANCE: Researching the Diversity of Knowledge. Edited by Brendan Hokowhitu et al. Dunedin, NZ: Otago University Press; Portland, OR: Distributed by International Specialized Book Services, 2010. 255 pp. (Maps, B&W photos.) US$49.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-877372-83-4. This collection of essays by mostly indigenous scholars from New Zealand and Canada aims at conceiving and formulating “the underpinning tenets of a ‘universal’ Indigenous Studies” (10). In order to transcend the significance of local contexts, languages and cultural values, they organized two international colloquia to discuss the transcultural principles of Indigenous Studies. This volume contains the results of their comparative debates and advocates an epistemic challenge to so- called universalizing discourses that emerged under a colonial gaze. At the same time, it promotes recognition of a transcultural space in which indigenous situatedness is emphasized, and a multiplicity of truths is acknowledged and appreciated. Pacific Affairs: Volume 85, No. 1 - March 2012 238 The book is divided in two sections. In the first part, papers focus on identity issues, mainly related to land, language and “lore,” while in the second part, papers address a range of issues that come up in research into indigenous societies and that evoke indigenous resistance. After a theoretical introduction into the aims and objectives of this collective enterprise, the book opens with a chapter on the problematic conflation of mixed ancestry and Métis as a category of indigeneity in Canada. The second chapter argues that telling, singing and writing are important practices through which indigenous peoples reassert their relation to land. The following essay addresses the transformation taking place in cultural practices, more specifically in whaik rero, Maori ceremonial speechmaking. Hana O’Regan contributes a moving piece about her personal struggle to learn the Maori language at a later age, and the problems this entails when bringing up children in a “second” language for cultural and ideological reasons. Her personal account is followed by a rather basic reflection on the advantages and disadvantages of an emic approach versus an etic approach, advocating so-called “etmic” studies, but without taking into account any of the very influential books that have been published about this subject in recent years. Michael Reilly’s paper aims at rediscovering and reconstructing the indigenous meaning behind a story told by a Mangaian chief to a Protestant missionary who translated the narrative for publication in 1876. The second part of the volume on resistance opens with a comparative analysis of political representation in Canada and New Zealand, followed by a case-study of a local project of community governance, the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society. The topic of research and resistance is also covered in two essays on the representation of indigenous voices in women’s art and the medium of fiction. The penultimate chapter argues that gender differences and uneven access to property rights and power are generally analyzed within a global perspective on governance, including a neo-liberal ideology and a discourse of human rights. However, these continue to disqualify Aboriginal women as subjects, as a consequence of which the discrimination against them is usually considered a cultural problem. The first and what appears to be the main editor of this collection, the Maori scholar Brendan Hokowhitu, not only contributes the introduction, but also a reflexive epilogue, in which he presents a “genealogy of indigenous resistance.” The weakness of his final statement in this volume is that it is exclusively based on the history of New Zealand Maori, while it also fails to provide a lead to an answer to the very important question of the meaning of indigeneity for contemporary generations, especially for those who feel alienated from the cultural traditions that continue to be crucial in the political and ideological representations of indigeneity. Howowhitu describes the widespread separation of the meaning of Book Reviews 239 indigeneity from the present as an “ontological blunder,” restricting the conception of indigenous culture purely to traditional terms, and therefore he seeks an alternative understanding of contemporary indigeneity. In this context, it is also a little surprising that he does not draw on postcolonial theory, for example the subaltern studies school inspired by the work of the eminent historian Ranajit Guha, which has published a series of groundbreaking volumes addressing exactly this dilemma in sophisticated theoretical debates. Although these reflections do not immediately resolve the problems that indigenous adolescents experience in shaping their contemporary identities, they could have uplifted the reflections in this volume. However, it should also be realized that the sheer fact of raising the question of contemporary indigeneity, which implies an indirect critique of a focus on indigenous traditions, is a giant step forward in Indigenous Studies. The personal account of the struggle of achieving fluency in the “mother tongue” in which an indigenous person was not brought up, for example, is a moving piece since until recently indigenous peoples were reluctant to address these issues openly. For that reason, there can be no doubt that this volume will inspire the next generation of indigenous scholars. University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands TOON VAN MEIJL RACING THE SUNRISE: Reinforcing America’s Pacific Outposts, 1941-1942. By Glen M. Williford. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010. xviii, 394 pp. (Tables, figures, maps, B&W photos.) US$37.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-591-14956-9. The attack on Pearl Harbor officially brought the United States of America into world conflict and opened a second front for a country focused upon developments in Europe. World War II has been covered in-depth by historians from nearly every angle and recent Hollywood coverage of the Pacific Theater of Operations has exposed a new generation to the conflict with Japan. Yet as much as we know about the period between the bombing of Hawaii and the surrender statement of Emperor Hirohito four years later, there remained questions about the period immediately prior to the awakening of “the sleeping giant.” Glen Williford’s Racing the Sunrise meticulously details where America stood in Asia as the 1940s began and explains how a country devastated by the losses of a single Sunday morning responded in the face of tremendous odds. The obvious research effort behind the development of this work uncovered enormous amounts of information relating to the shipping schedules, men and war material allotments, political juggling and


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