Settler citizenship and Indigenous diasporas: Patrick Saulmatino Thomsen, Lana Lopesi, Kevin Lujan Lee, ‘Contemporary Moana Mobilities: Settler-Colonial Citizenship, Upward Mobility, and Transnational Pacific Identities’, The Contemporary Pacific, 34, 2, 2022


Abstract: In this article, we deploy two theoretical concepts—settler-colonial citizenship and transnational identities—to explore the complex facets of what we term “contemporary Moana mobilities.” Drawing on the Samoan methodology su’ifefiloi, which embraces Pacific forms of storytelling as sites of knowledge production, we provide three first-person vignettes that recount the experiences of a Samoan New Zealander living in South Korea to frame settler-colonial citizenship as an intergenerational symbolic and legal privilege afforded to migrants and their descendants who settle in settler-colonial states. Further, we argue that this opens additional multinational mobility pathways into other countries for children of diasporic Pacific communities within settler colonies like New Zealand, which remain blocked off to our communities and families who reside on island. Given this, we also propose that the identities of upwardly mobile transnational Pacific Islanders are constituted through simultaneous embeddedness in the racial hierarchies of multiple nation-states and are performed for specific audiences in specific national contexts, which then shape the character and politics of these complex identity expressions. Ultimately, we gesture to the importance of better understanding the conditions and consequences of empire and settler-colonial citizenship as global processes—and how this is reshaping the landscape of contemporary Moana mobilities.

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