forrest wade young on rapa nui

02Apr13

Forrest Wade Young, ‘Rapa Nui’, Contemporary Pacific 25, 1 (2013).

Bit in lieu of abstract:

“¡Fuera la Schiess! ¡Fuera! ¡Fuera Platovsky! ¡Fuera! ¡Fuera Chilenos! ¡Fuera! ¿Cuándo Immigracion? ¡Ahora! ¡Horo te henua! ¡Horo te henua! ¡Horo te vaikava! ¡Horo te vaikava!” (Get out Schiess [family]! Get out! Get out Platovsky! Get out! Get out Chileans! Get out! When immigration [laws]? Now! Demand the island! Demand the island! Demand the ocean! Demand the ocean!) These exclamations, first yelled by leaders and then collectively yelled by more than a hundred Rapa Nui people in cars and on foot, were repeated, with some variation, over and over for more than an hour during a march along the main streets of Hanga Roa town on 23 July 2011. They are symbolic of many of the sociocultural and political concerns articulated in Rapa Nui during the year under review.

On the first and second days of August 2011, international and national organizations concerned with indigenous peoples and local groups met at the auditorium of the public school Lorenzo Baeza in Rapa Nui for two days to discuss indigenous human rights issues and social problems confronting the Rapa Nui people. The majority of the Rapa Nui community was in attendance. The meetings, officially entitled “Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights: Implications for the Rapa Nui People,” were sponsored locally, independently of the Chilean state-organized municipality and governor’s office, by leaders of Rapa Nui hua’ai (clans/extended families), Parlamento Rapa Nui, Consejero Nacional Indígena Pueblo Rapa Nui ( CONADI), and Makenu Re’o Rapa Nui Women’s Organization. At the request of the local sponsors, two nongovernmental organizations helped facilitate and develop the proceedings: Observatorio Ciudadano (which is concerned with Chile’s indigenous peoples) and the Indian Law Resource Center of Washington DC (which provides legal representation for indigenous groups throughout the Americas). Jose Alywin, Consuelo Labra, and Nancy Yañez were the leading representatives of Observatorio Ciudadano. The Indian Law Resource Center was represented by its founder and executive director, attorney Robert “Tim” Coulter, and by Leonardo Crippa, the center’s attorney who filed precautionary measures at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights amid the 2010-2011 occupations and political demonstrations of Rapa Nui against Chile. In addition to myself, there were three official international observers of the proceedings: Clem Chartier, president of the National Council of Mètis Aboriginal Peoples of Canada; Alberto Chirif, a Peruvian anthropologist affiliated with the Indigenous Work Group for Indigenous Affairs ( IWGIA); and Dr Nin Thomas, a Māori professor of law at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Following the meetings in Hanga Roa, members of the local, national, and international organizations continued the discussion of the plight of Rapa Nui with Chilean state officials in Santiago and Valparaiso. The delegation ended with a public discussion at the Universidad de Chile.



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