Museum of Impossible Forms is delighted to present Learning from revolutionary Kanak feminism in Kanaky-New Caledonia a talk by researcher Anaïs Duong-Pedica.
Kanaky-New Caledonia is a group of islands situated in Oceania. The islands became a French settler colony in 1853 when France proclaimed them as one of its possessions. The way the formation of colonial power worked was by dispossessing Indigenous Kanak from their lands to displace and limit them to reserves in order to build a penitentiary as well as plantations and, later, nickel exploitations for which labour was sent from France and the Asia-Pacific region. Part of this colonial project was to minoritize Kanak people to minimize their ability to revolt against the settler state and threaten French sovereignty in the islands and in Oceania more generally. Kanak people have a long history of collective and organized resistance against French colonialism which has led to Kanaky-New Caledonia being on the United Nation’s list of countries to decolonize and to referendums for independence.
In this talk, we will see how settler colonialism operates in a gendered way and how Kanak women resisted and resist the negation of their humanity in a colonial, racist, sexist, capitalist system. We will specifically focus on the feminism of the GFKEL (Group of Exploited Kanak Women in Struggle) from the 1980s, as well as trace some connections between Kanak women’s struggles for sovereignty and against patriarchy and other feminist liberation struggles in Oceania. We will conclude by discussing how remembering their revolutionary actions is beneficial to all women in contemporary Kanaky-New Caledonia, whether they are Indigenous, settlers, or arrivants, and the importance of adding Indigenous and specifically Oceanian feminisms to our international feminist history and imagination.
The presentation will also include a short interview with activist Roselyne Makalu. Roselyne Makalu is a young Kanak woman who has been active since 2012 in the Kanaky Collective in Support of the liberation of West Papua, for which she had a radio show from 2012 to 2013 on the pro-independence radio station Djiido radio. She is a pro-independence activist interested in the mechanisms to decolonize the country. More recently, she created and presents “La Pause Décoloniale” (“The Decolonial Break”) on Djiido radio, a show dedicated to women’s perspectives on colonialism and their visions of decolonization in Kanaky/New Caledonia.
As well, we will screen an except from “Liberty, Equality, Kanaky” (1987) directed by Martin Butler and presented by Jacques “Kiki” Karé.
We encourage you to listen before the talk the podcast: The Funambulist interviews Quito Swan (2021): “Black Internationalism from Bermuda and Africa to the Oceanian Struggles” https://thefunambulist.net/podcast/the-funambulist-podcast/quito-swan-black-internationalism-from-bermuda-and-africa-to-the-oceanian-struggles
Anaïs Duong-Pedica is a white-Vietnamese PhD researcher from Kanaky-New Caledonia (KNC) temporarily based in Finland. Her thesis is on the politics of mixed-race identity and settler colonialism in KNC. She currently teaches on whiteness, womanhood and feminism and participates in anti-racist and anti-colonial interventions in/from Finland.