The Tongan Art of Sociospatial Relations
In Marking Indigeneity, Tevita O. Ka‘ili examines the conflicts and reconciliation of indigenous time-space within the Tongan community in Maui, as well as within the time-space of capitalism. Using indigenous theory, he provides an ethnography of the social relations of the highly mobile Tongans.
Focusing on tauhi va, Ka‘ili notes certain examples of this time marking: the faikava gatherings that last from sunset to sunrise, long eating gatherings, long conversations (talanoa), the all-night funeral wakes, and the early arrival to and late departure from meetings and celebrations. Ka‘ili also describes the performing art of tauhi va, which creates symmetry through the performance of social duties (fatongia). This gives rise to powerful feelings of warmth, elation, and honor among the performers. Marking Indigeneity offers an ethnography of the extension of time-space that is rooted in ancient Moana oral traditions, thoughtfully illustrating the continuation of these traditions.
“A penetrating study of how Tongans conceptualize and enact tauhi va, the maintenance of positive social relationships. This outstanding book will be of interest to readers of cultural anthropology, indigenous studies, and Pacific studies.”—Susan U. Philips, Professor Emerita, University of Arizona