Anti-colonialism and Black Power: Indigenous Periodicals in the Pacific



From the 1970s to today, publications have played and continue to play an important role in the indigenous struggles against settler colonialism in Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Kanaky (New Caledonia). Angélique Stastny writes about their genealogy, their similarities, as well as their many specificities.

Black Consciousness and Black Power in the Pacific ///

Stasny Funambulist7
Cover of the first Polynesian Panther Party newsletter Panther’s Rapp, (January-February. 1975), Ponsonby, Auckland.

Black consciousness and Black Power profoundly shaped indigenous activism in the Pacific in the 1960s and 1970s. Black consciousness was not new to indigenous politics, but the indigenous activist groups that emerged at that time in the Pacific marked a break from older political methods. They advocated self-determination and liberation, reflecting the ideological circulation of Black Power internationally, which had originated in the United States in the 1960s. Influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, the negritude movement and Frantz Fanon’s writings, Black and African American activists and thinkers were the catalyst of a movement that would inspire and redefine anti-colonial struggles worldwide. Black consciousness and Black Power spread far and wide and resulted in alliances of colonized peoples that fought for liberation from colonial and racist systems of exploitation and domination. Black Power ideas of color-conscious unity and political separatism were adapted by North American Indigenous communities and quickly reached other indigenous activists internationally. Indeed, belief in black empowerment and self-determination through radical means appealed to marginalized indigenous nations and communities that were leading their own struggles against settler colonialism; among them were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in so-called Australia, Māori and Pacific people in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Kanak people in Kanaky (New Caledonia).