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The fire that devours me: Tahitian spirituality and activism in the poetry of Henri Hiro

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Tahitian activist and poet/playwright Henri Hiro expressed his views of colonialism in French Polynesia in both French and Tahitian while actively participating in the anti-nuclear and independence movements. The late poet has been an inspiration to other Oceanian artists and activists, especially in islands like American Samoa where present-day colonialism challenges the position of a postcolonial critique and notions such as indigenous and native sometimes seem to substitute for and weaken arguments of sovereignty and culture/language foundations. The author, a poet and artist from the US territory of American Samoa, looks at the relationship between Polynesian spirituality and movements of Oceanian independence, exemplified in the difference between the Polynesian belief in Hiro's te tupu - the flourishing essence of life - and the western belief in nature as separate from the human quest for identity.
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Keywords: American Samoa; Fare Vna'a Acadmie Tahitienne; French Polynesia; Henri Hiro; Ma'ohi; Michou Chaze; Oceania; anti-nuclear; polytheism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Samoan, United States.

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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