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Ono Tupuna, the richness of the ancestors. Multiples Landscapes Relationalities in Contemporary Indigenous Rapa Nui

  • Author(s): Rivas, Antonia
  • Advisor(s): Briggs, Charles L
  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy
  • et al.
Abstract

Contemporary Rapa Nui is formed by a multiple and complex set of interactions, encounters, and circumstances that comprise the core of their indigenous identity, like many other indigenous people's realities. In this dissertation, I argue that there is not a simple or straightforward way of thinking about indigenous identities without falling into the trap of essentialism and stereotyping. Indigenous people are not what remained of ancestral civilizations, nor are they either invented nor folklorized commodities produced by “neo-shamanism” discourses. Recent theoretical contributions to the understanding of the relationship of native peoples with their territories have been fundamental to rethinking the meanings of indigeneity, but I argue that they continue to essentialize indigenous people relations with their past and the ways in which they are understood in the present. That is why in this dissertation I propose thinking about indigeneity through a notion of "multiple relationalities" as crucial for constructions of indigenous identity.

In this dissertation, based on an extended fieldwork in Rapa Nui (which was formerly known as Easter Island), I contribute to the ways of thinking about indigeneity and ancestrality, especially concerning the manner in which is the relation of the indigenous peoples with their territories is understood. Indigenous territory is framed in multiple ways, constituting notions of landscapes that overlap, creating the unique and unrepeatable space of indigenous people's lands. This dissertation focuses on understanding how these landscapes are configured in Rapa Nui, and how they relate to configurations of indigenous identities Rapa Nui. Consequently, I argue that looking closely at the diverse and complex maps that have been constructed of Rapa Nui landscapes will allow us to analyze the nature of the Rapanui territoriality. I refer to these landscapes as the landscape of the ancestors and the Rapanui nation (chapter 3), the landscape of Chile and the State (chapter 4), and the landscape of tourism and collapse (chapter 4). Understanding how these landscapes are created, overlapped and contradicted, allows us to bring closer Rapanui identities and realities, and at the same time, to complicate broader indigeneity discourses that circulate globally

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