Christopher Green

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9998

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Green, Christopher (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Re-collecting Kanak Pasts: Indigenous Identities and Sovereignty in New Caledonia"

CHRIS GREEN, then a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in August 2020 to aid research on ‘Re-collecting Kanak Pasts: Indigenous Identities and Sovereignty in New Caledonia,” supervised by Dr. Deborah Thomas. This dissertation is an attempt to understand what Indigenous independence leader, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, recognized about the power of the museum to self-determine Kanak identity. Moreover, this tool for self-determination thus became an important instrument of Indigenous sovereignty as the Kanak sought their independence from France. The grantee wanted to answer the question: What can the Kanak, and Tjibaou in particular, tell us about the political work that museums do for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders? The research points toward a heritage-based strategy of self-determination that might yet be useful for local Kanak to accomplish their sovereignty goals. The project’s aim is to demonstrate to Kanak activists, leaders, and museum professionals the power that their ancestor, Tjibaou, saw in museums to help their cause, a power that has now been widely co-opted in non-Kanak communities. It’s hope is that this clarity will empower Kanak communities to use heritage in ways that advance their own aspirations ultimately towards self-determination.