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NEITHER CARGO NOR CULT Ritual Politics and the Colonial Imagination in Fiji

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For research material.Im not the author. thanks.Originally published: 15 June 1995 Author: Martha Kaplan
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    NEITHER  RGO NOR  ULT RitualPoliticsandtheColonialImaginationinFijiMarthaKaplan ® uke UniversityPress  urham and  ondon  995  CONTENTS   List of Figures   Preface:NeitherCargo nor CultxiAcknowledgmentsxvii 1 Introduction:Culture History andColonialism1 2 EmbattledPeople of theLand: The RaSocialLandscape 1840-1875193NavosavakaduaasPriest of theLand464ColonialConstructions of Disorder:Navosavakaduaas  DangerousandDisaffectedNative 62 5Navosavakadua sRitualPolity986RoutinizingArticulatingSystems:JehovahandthePeople of theLand 1891-1940123  NarrativesofNavosavakadua   the  98 8 and  99 8  6 8NavosavakaduaamongtheVatukaloko1789Conclusion:DoCultsExist?DoStatesExist?201Bibliography   Index2r9  1 INTRODUCTION: CULTURE HISTORY AND COLONIALISM   Agency and Meaningin Colonial History What shapes the lives of colonizedpeople?Is their agencya product of in digenous culrnralsystematics,rejecting,encompassing,transformingexternalchange? Or iscolonial powerthe prevailingforce   theirlives;do they re spond to react to resistincursion,   anagencyalreadytherefore shaped by colonialhegemonicstructures? How areanthropologiststounderstanden counters,conjunctures, domination asymmetries of power, beyond firstcontact moments intothe complexsocieties of aconnectedcolonial and postcolonialworld? How particular,canwe rethink a part of Fijiancolonialhistorypreviouslycalledacargo cult> In establishing our rapprochement with history, it seems to me that anthropologistshave used threeanalyticstrategies to write about agency,meaning, L Forreaders unfamiliar with theveryterm cargocult, considerthesequotationsfromafamousessay by F.   Williams,anadministrator-anthropologistinNewGuinea   the 1920 and 305. During thelatter months of theyear1919there  eg n in the Gulf Divisionthatsingularandreallyirriportanr movementknown asthe  ailal a Madness.Originating   theneighbourhood. of Vailala,whenceitspreadrapidly through thecoastalandcertain of theinlandvillages,this movement involved, on theone hand asetofpreposterousbeliefs among itsvicdms -. in particulartheexpectation of anearlyvisitfromtheirdeceasedrelatives-and,onthe otherhand collectivenervoussymptoms of asometimesgrotesqueandidioticnature.  2 NEITHER CARGO NOR CULT andcolonialhistory. One strategyinsists on thepriorityofculturaldifference.Heretheconcept of culture and culturaldifference,thepreeminentcontribution of anthropologytothesocialsciences,isinvokedtoshapeaccountsboth of indigenouschangeand of indigenousapprehension of externalincursion. One leadingexampleisMarshallSahlins s structureandhistory includinghisrecentwork on themultiplecosmologiesdrivingthecapitalistworldsystem  1981,1985, 1988, 1992). AnotherexampleisDavidLan s  1985) account of theagency of spiritmediumsintheguerillawartoliberateZimbabwe.Thisapproachproducesnarrativeswhichinsist upon localcategories of meaningandlocalagencyforanunderstanding of encounterswiththeworldsystem or colonizingpeoples. In contrast,asecondanalyticstrategyseescolonialpowerastheoverwhelmingtension-chargedhistoricalwatershedforeverchangingtheworld of thecolonized. Here colonialsocietiesareunderstoodtobeproducts of theagencyofexternaltransformativedominators, and colonizedpeoplecanemergeagainasagentsintheir own rightonlyascolonized,local,alreadytransformed,resisters.Instances of thisapproachincludeworldsystemscholarssuchasEricWolf  1982) who findtransformingagencyincapitalistpenetration,andalsostudieswhich,influencedbyFoucaultorGramsci,focus on discourseandparticular(herecolonial)systems of meaningandpracticebeyondtherealm of politicaleconomynarrowlydefined -law, literature,sexu ality-that dominateandtransform(see,e.g., Cohn 1987, Said 1978, Stoler 1989). Formanysuchscholarstheemphasisis on colonialconstructions of others,especiallythoseaccountswhichfindanyscholarshipconcerning others sointricatelyimplicatedinwesterncategoriesorinthemechanisms of colonialdominationthatconcepts of  culture and  culturaldifference themselvesbecomeartifacts of colonialcategorizing(Said 1978, andsee,e.g.,CliffordandMarcus 1 986). Athirdstrategyfindsaspaceinbetweeninsistenceonculturalcontinuityandinsistence on colonialtransformation. Ai; figuredinMichaelTaussig s  I987) recentwork on terror,thatspaceischaotic:neitherindigenous nor Perhapsoneofthemostfundamentalideaswasthattheancestors,ormoreusuallythedeceasedrelatives,ofthepeoplewereshortly to return to visitthem. They wereexpected in alargesteamer,whichwastobeloadedwithcasesof gifts- tobacco,calico,knives,axes,food-stuffs,andthelike. (Williams 1977:331-41) From suchdepictionscamethegeneral term  cargo cult: In this book itismyintentiontochallengetheveryidea that this is ageneral phenomenon or a useful analyticconcept(seepreface,thisvolume).   INTRODUCTION 3 colonial but an cpistemicmurk in between. The epistemicmurkextendsfromparticipantstochroniclers.InTaussig sviewsuchspacesalmostdefyportrayal,sinceevencounterrepresentationsandcounterdiscoursesriskreplicatingcolonizer sdiscourses;montageandincompletenessarethetechniquesheusestorepresentthechaoticshefinds.Establishingastrategyforwritingacolonial history-as ananthropol ogist- is not ahypotheticalquestionhere.Iwanttobeginwithfournarratives out of Fiji spast and present:acolonialofficial sessay,apresent-dayFijian srecollection of anancestor,abriefreconstructionofwhatI think Navosavakaduamighthaveintended,andacosmologicalhistorybyanIndo Fijian visionarymystic.IntheirdisjuncturesandinterrelationslietheproblemsI want toaddress. Intersecting Narratives: Navosavakadua or the Tub? A  olonial Officer s NarrativeofTuka In 1891 JohnBatesThurston,Britishcolonialgovernor of Fijifrom 1888 to 1897, askedA. B. J oske, 3 irrepressiblememoirist and commissioner and magistrateinthe hill districts and Raprovince,tosummarize  the movement inanarticlefor The Australasian aSydney-basednewspaper.Iexcerptfromthisarticle: Superstitionin  iji In thecountryroundaboutKauvadra,the Mount Olympus of Fiji, thereseemstohavebeenalwaysprevalentasuperstitioncalledbythenativesthe Iuka, the priests ofwhichprofessed to possess an elixir of life   The firsthistoricalknowledgeofitwasabout 30 yearsago,when,owingtothespread of Christianity, the nativesofdifferentdistrictsbecameabletohavefreerintercoursewithoneanother[due to thecessation of warfare   AboutthenSaraSaro,ahighpriest of the  Iuka, gavea good dealoftroubletothelateKing Cakobau   [and was evenrually put to deathbyhistribal chief 2. In differenthistoricalperiodsthepeople of Fijidescended from SouthAsianindenturedlaborershavebeen known as  Indians, iji Indians: and Indo-Pijians IfollowhistorianBrij Lal (e.g., 1992) inusing Indo-Fijian: 3·AdolphBrewsterIoskclaterchanged his nametoA. B. Brewster,andasBrewsrerpublished TheHiJ Tribes ofFiji (1922) and other worksonFiji.  4 NEITHER CARGO NOR CULT However, SaraSara leftadescendant,said t behis son-one Dugamoi-who, engraftinghisnativelegends and superstitions on the Biblicalnarrativescom poundedanewTuka   [Dugamoi]establishedagreatreputationamongthe followers of the  Iuka asa high priestand prophetwho gave him thetitle of  Na VosavaKadua [sic]literally,the manwho speaksonlyonce andmust beobeyed. TheChiefjustice of thecolony._.holdsthistitle of honoramongstFijians. Dugamoi firstcameprominently into notice about the end of theyear1877. He thenmadea tourthrough theleastcivilizedportions of VitiLevu [the mainisland of the Fiji group], predictingamillennium when all who died. asfaithfulvotaries of thefaith would riseagain, and aided by divinepowerssweep all unbelievers from the f e oftheearth   The people of theeasternhighlands of Fiji, partially conquered under KingCakobau sreign,closelyrelatedtothose of theeasternhighlands, who in1876 had beeninrevoltagainstBritishauthority,and who during that tryingperiodhadbeen with greatdifficultykeptsteady,becameveryuneasyandexcited, and to secureabsolutepeace Na VosavaKa duahadto be   deported to one of theeasternislands of the group, but aftera short period of detentionhewasallowedto return to hishome.Againhestarted to preachhisnewandimprovedversion of the  Iuka supplementingnativelegends withwhat he found  n theBible.Thesedoctrineshavegraduallyspreadoverthe northern coastsandeasternhighlands of  iji In theyear1885 Na Vosava Ka duabegan to have men drilled.Althoughthenewreign of the  Iuka wastobeusheredinbythemiraculousassistance of thegods,probablysoldierswere thought tobeauseful,   not necessaryadjunct. No doubtNa Vosava Ka duaaimedatthe overthrow of the British Government inthe group andtheextinction of theChristianreligion and of thewhitesettlers. The drilling of troopsspeedilycame under thenotice of theauthoritiesandwarrants under theEnglishstatuteprohibitingillegaldrillingwereissued. At first,thesewarrantswereresisted, but afterabriefperiod of anxiety to theauthoritiestheringleadersweresecured without bloodshed. The chiefprophet, Na Vosava Ka dua,wasexiledto Rotumah [asmallislandoutsidetheFiji group, whichtheBritishcolonizedandadministeredfromFiji]andothersweresentenced to variousterms of imprisonment. With theremoval of theleaderandprimespirit of this movement itwas thoughtthat thefanaticism would die out anaturaldeath, but thereremainedmanypriests of the  Iuka who found that thesteadyspread of Christianityandprogress of settledgovernmentinterferedmaterially with therevenuetheyformerlyderivedfromthesimplecredulity of theirfellowcountrymen. These men during thepresentyearstirredupavigorousrevival of the  Iuka Theypredictedthere-appearance of Na VosavaKaduaexalting him intoadivinepersonage whom theforeign Government had invainendeavoredto kill   INTRODUCTION 5 Avillage  lled Drau-ni-ivi and afew of itsoutlyinghamletshavebeenthecentrefromwhichthisdisturbing movement has radiated.Whalesteeth,answeringtotheChupatties[sic] of theIndian Mutiny havebeensentOutfromtherecalling upon thefaithfultorallyandbeunitedfortheoverthrow of theGovernment. It is afoolish,fantastic and fanaticmovement. This is now its third ourbreak,anditbecameabsolutelynecessary that it should be putdown with a strong hand. The votaries of itmainlydwellintheglens and valleys of aruggedandalmostinaccessibledistrict. Knowing nothing of the power of theGoverrunentandseeing but littleofthesymbols of authority, they considerthemselvesallpowerfulandImportant. In time the delay of miraculousaid must havebeenexplainedbytheirpriests,to whombutone explanation would havebeenpossibleunlesstheyconfessedthemselvespowerlessimpostors.This would havebeenthenon-satisfactorypropitiation of theirtutelarygods and ancestralspirits   Tothosecognisant of thetraditionsandinnerthoughts of Fijiansitiswell known there could beonly one satisfactoryoffering to Fijian gods, and that is human sacrifices,the burnt offeringalike of AssyrianandDruidicalsuperstitions. The foregoingisabriefsummary of thesrcinandprogress of the  Iuka su r~ stition,whichhasbeentotheGovernmentfromthefirstasource of troubleanduneasiness.ItsrecentvigorousrevivalinducedtheGovernor to personallyinvestigatethematter,andfor this purpose   he made athreeweeks tourthrough thecentralmountainous districts of VitiLevu   His Excellencydeemeditthewisest andmost mercifulcoursetoremove [the peopleof.Drauniivi J atleastforawhile to a more civilised portion of thegroup wherethere would belittlelikelihood of theirperniciousdoctrines gaining credence   to preventthespread of the Tuka su r~ stition among theSimple,yetwild,half-Christianized,half-civilizedtribeslivingintherangesattheback of Drau-ni-ivi   The Drau-ni-ivipeoplehavethereforebeenremoved,andare now located on good fertile Crown lands  n theisland of Kadavu   The KadavuIslanders,possessingalargeintermixture of Tonganblood,areperhapsthe most advanced and intelligent   of our Fijianpopulation.There is thereforenofear of the Tuka doctrinesbeingreceivedbythemotherwisethan with ridiculeanditmayreasonablybe hoped that findingthemselves among astrong but law-abidingandcivilisedcommunitytheDrau-ni-Ivipeople will profitbytheirassociation withthem byqualifyingthemselvesfor what they will certainly long for-apermissiontorerurn to their own mountain district.  17 October 1891, attached to ColonialSecretary sOffice minute paper 94/2036)4 4-. References to minutepapers in the ColonialSecretary sOfficeseries,heldattheNationalArchives of Fiji, will henceforthbeby number only. The firsttwodigitsindicatetheyear,andthelast digits the number in the series.
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