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Ancestral Cartography: Trans-Pacific Interchanges and Okinawan Indigeneity

In: Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas
Author: Laura Kina1
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This article examines how Okinawan Indigenous identity is influenced by “minor” Trans-Pacific interchanges between the Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement and Native American discourses on Indigeneity. Drawing from interviews with fellow Okinawan diaspora artist Denise Uyehara, the author explores their parallel responses as fourth generation Okinawan Americans to the recent resurgence of Okinawan Indigenous cultural history, practice, and identity. Uyehara’s collaboration with Native American artists in the performance Archipelago (2012) with Adam Cooper-Terán (Yaqui/Chicano), Ancestral Cartographic Rituals (2017) in collaboration with the late Payómkawichum, Ipi, and Mexican-American artist James Luna (1950–2018), and the immersive theatre project Shooting Columbus (2017) collaboration with The Fifth World Collective, is put into conversation with Kina’s painting series Sugar and Blue Hawai‘i (2010–2013) about Hawaiian sugar plantations and her trilingual illustrated children’s book Okinawan Princess: Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos (Bess Press, 2019) written by Hawai‘i Creole author Lee A. Tonouchi.

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