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The Literatures of the French PacificReconfiguring Hybridity$
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Raylene Ramsay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380376

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380376.001.0001

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. Locating the First Man in the (Hi)stories of Kanaky

. Locating the First Man in the (Hi)stories of Kanaky

Internal Kanak Hybridities

(p.152) 4. Locating the First Man in the (Hi)stories of Kanaky
The Literatures of the French Pacific

Raylene Ramsay

Liverpool University Press

The modes of recovery, re-contextualizing, and re-writing of the Kanak creation story of the first man, Téâ Kanaké are compared across three versions; the play-spectacle, (Kanaké), written by the independence leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou for the Kanak cultural revival festival in 1975’, Déwé Gorodé's woman-centred Kënâké ou KNK 2000; and the young Kanak poet, Denis Pourawa's illustrated version of the founding myth for children. The shared oral culture of origin, depiction of customary pathways, and socio-political purposes of these three distinctively Kanak texts is never in doubt. A closer reading, however, reveals significant differences and oppositions. Gorodé's ambivalent text indirectly puts Tjibaou's patriarchal and masculine Kanak universe and his politics of reconciliation into question, placing women's daily lives and questions at the centre. The mythico-poetic and also didactic version of Pourawa, representing the younger generation of writers, partially sets its adaptation of the traditional tale of the Ancestor within an urban and ethnically mixed society of modern storytellers surrounded by kids on skateboards. Emerging Kanak writing itself contains inner spaces of cultural encounter and contestation, internal hybridities.

Keywords:   Jean-Marie Tjibaou, Téâ Kanaké, Déwé Gorodé, Kënâké ou KNK 2000, Denis Pourawa, Kanak literature, The First Man, Creation Myth, Indigenous Hybridity

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