Blackness is Life in Hawai‘i and Oceania
Joyce Pualani Warren
Black Lives Matter in Hawai‘i and Oceania. That is a simple fact. What is less simple is understanding how and why they matter through Kanaka Maoli and broader Oceanic worldviews and experiences. This understanding must be reclaimed from the centuries of settler colonial attempts to erase our rich histories and relegate us to inferior and dependent positions within our own homelands. One way to understand how and why Black Lives Matter in Hawai‘i and Oceania is to remember the many ways that Oceania has always constructed blackness and darkness as rich sites of creation, kinship, and potential.
From the deep darkness of Pō, which birthed the world, the gods, and all of humanity, to the many peoples whose Blackness is Indigenous to Oceania, to the communities of Afro-diasporic folks who have made their homes in Oceania: Black lives have always mattered here, because blackness is life here.
1) How can Kanaka Maoli and broader Oceanic traditional understandings of blackness and darkness guide our relationships in the 21st century?
Lili‘uokalani, translator. An Account of the Creation of the World According to Hawaiian Tradition. 1897. Rpt. as The Kumulipo: An Hawaiian Creation Myth. Pueo Press, 1978
Blackness, Anti-Blackness, and the Lāhui
Enomoto, Joy. “Where Will You Be? Why Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
Anti-Blackness in Hawai‘i and Oceania
Arvin, Maile. “Possessions of Whiteness: Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness in the Pacific.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. 2 June 2014.
Black Communities in Hawai‘i and Oceania
Jackson, Miles, editor. They Followed the Trade Winds: African Americans in Hawai’i, special issue of Social Process in Hawaiʻi, vol. 43, 2004.
Black Nationalism and Black Power in Oceania
Perkins, Rachel, director. Black Panther Woman. Australia: Special Broadcasting Service Corporation, 2014.
Native Pacific Women’s Experiences of Blackness
Awatere, Donna. “New Zealand: the First National Black Women’s Hui.” 1980. International Women’s Issue of Off Our Backs, vol. 11, no. 3, 1981, pp. 2-3, 29.
Oceanic Responses to Black Lives Matter
Smith, Carla J. Black Lives Matter!: The African-American Experience in Post World-War II Guam. 2016. University of Guam, Master’s thesis.
Blackbirding and Indentured Labor in Oceania
Banivanua-Mar, Violence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Indentured Labor Trade. University of Hawai‘i Press, 2006.
Literary Representations of Pō
Grace, Patricia. Potiki. University of Hawai’i Press, 1986.
Wendt, Albert. Pouliuli. 1977. University of Hawai’i Press, 1980.