Ko E Tala-Tukufakaholo ‘O Tonga: an alter-native holistic historiography of Tonga history from their own traditional oral culture and through their own people’s eyes (2017)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
I begin with a quote from the book by Hawaiian scholar Robert Borofsky titled; Remembrance of Pacific Pasts: An Invitation to Remake History (2000), an interview of the Middle-Eastern scholar Edward Said (ES) by Robert Borofsky (RB) titled; “Postcolonial” Politic -A View from afar (Middle-east)”; R.B: Some scholars suggest people in the Third World have tended to construct their social identities around Western notions of nationhood and, as a result, have become entwined within Western hegemonic frameworks even when opposing them. E.S: I am not sure I agree with that….It is another example of the West imposing itself on others. Or take the question of whether or not people have a history. Everybody has a history. I would say to be human is to have and to make history. That is what distinguishes us from animals. 4 Are we truly colonized in terms of history and historiography? Is that even possible? Is our way of doing history being censored and controlled? Is our oral way of historiography being prohibited and forbidden? Or, rather as in (ES) words, is the Tongan situation an example of the West imposing itself upon us? Or are we not given the autonomy to present our history via our own traditional historiography and through our people’s eyes, independent of Western hegemony? This thesis aspires to present Tonga history in an alter-native Tala- Tukufakaholo historiography as a response to Ian Campbell’s claim that “Tongan historiography shows a state of intellectual dependence that might also be called colonial…” meaning – “a territory of the mind is being colonized and controlled.”5
This thesis suggests the Tala-Tukufakaholo concept, as a holistic alter-native framework, presents our history through our own eyes fundamentally, to complement the conventional.
This complementation of the conventional also challenges a move to shift from debating the colonial climate of the field into a more holistic approach that will embrace all the colonized, the marginalized and the broken-hearted.6 It attempts a response to Campbell’s assertion by following the Tongan scholar Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki’s aspiration to have “Tongans writing Tonga history as seen through the eyes of Tongans themselves.” 7 While all history is either evolutionary or accidental events,8 this thesis hopes to prepare Tongans to view life, history and historiography as an evolutionary Tala-Tukufakaholo – a traditional holistic framework. Being part of a “moaning and groaning” generation because of colonization, it aspires that we pass on to the next generation something positive, that will lead them away from colonial thoughts to live and view life in a more holistic way. And as the Psalmist says; “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD….”9
4 Robert Borofsky, ""Post Colonial Politics - a View from Afar (Middle East)-an Interview with Edward Said," in Remembrance of Pacific Pasts: An Invitation to Remake History, ed. R Borofsky(Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2000). 445-446. 5 Ian C Campbell, "A History Policy for Tonga," in Tonga - Land, Sea and People, ed. Tangikina Moimoi Steen and Nancy L Drescher(Nuku'alofa: Tonga Research Association, 2011). 30. 6 This statement is to be understood in the context of the Colonizers, Imperialists and the globalization development. 7 Cited in Campbell, "A History Policy for Tonga." from Taufe’ulungaki’s Book Reviews published in Matangi Tonga 5 (2), (March-April, 1990); 44). 8 C.H Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments: Three Lectures with a N Appendix on Eschatology and History (London Hodder and Stoughton Limited 1950 ). 95. 9 Psalm 102.18, (NRSV).
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