Decolonization in Oceania

Decolonization Movements and Indigenous Futurisms in Oceania 

Drawing on our own engagement as project co-leads with activists in Indigenous-led movements for decolonization in Oceania, our project, “Decolonization Movements and Indigenous Futurisms in Oceania,” focuses on social movement activism in two U.S. possessions in the region: the unincorporated territory of Guåhan (Guam) and the occupied state of Hawai‘i. Moreover, we take our cue from Tongan scholar Epeli Hauʻofa’s (1994) concept of Oceania as an interconnected sea of islands and Chinese-British-Fijian scholar Tracey Banivanuau Mar’s (2016) emphasis on the planned (and unplanned) dialogues which emerged as a result of the the colonization process. Accordingly, we envision this site as providing a forum for bringing together Indigenous scholars, activists, and scholar activists who are working to enact a future that supports Indigenous self-determination in Oceania and to provide a generative starting point for examining the role of non-Indigenous communities of color in the process. We also see these efforts as assisting in cultivating what Kanaka Maoli scholar Noelani Goodyear Ka‘ōpua (2017) describes as Indigenous futurisms, a framework that takes its cue from Afrofuturism scholarship and works to promote the self-determination of Indigenous communities across the region and to collectively imagine what that process could (and should) look like.

We launched the project in fall 2020 and are currently in the process of organizing a fall 2021 symposium to convene a broad cross-section of scholar activists from Guåhan and Hawai‘i and members of the Brown community. This gathering will serve to document the timely, important work already being done in communities and identify potential points of collaboration moving forward. Rather than functioning solely as a one-time gathering, it is our goal for the event to help support the development of an ongoing dialogue that will continue through future generations of activists’ engagement with the ideas, histories, and issues raised during the convening. To assist us with meeting this goal we developed this website to document the activities of the fall 2021 symposium and to serve as a digital platform containing recordings from the symposium, oral histories with community educators, and lesson plans to support the future cultivation of decolonization activities in Guåhan, Hawai‘i, and across Oceania.