Gender and Austronesian Indigenous Identities: Narratives of Women in Seediq Bale and Utu

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Yu-wen Fu Associate Professor, Department of Western Languages and Literature, National University of Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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As early as 1989, Kimberlé Crenshaw had proposed investigating the interconnection between gender and ethnic identities, especially in her work about black identities. Subsequently, many scholars have extended investigation of the interconnection to the field of Indigenous studies. However, most studies focus on women’s suffering, rather than their active engagement in the process of anti-colonial resistance and Indigenous identity formation. Despite painful colonial histories—including displacement and assimilation—Indigenous peoples have resisted and survived and have been revived. Indigenous women played a crucial part in these processes, but their contributions were often neglected or forgotten. Through analyses of two renowned post-colonial films—Seediq Bale (dir. Wei Te-sheng, 2011) from Taiwan and Utu (dir. Geoff Murphy, 1983) from New Zealand—this essay explores how Seediq and Maori women showed great strength in Austronesian indigenous people’s resistance to colonialism and in their campaign to rewrite history.

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