Tropical Depression: Nuns in the Pacific

Saint-Louis mission girls, 1890. Source: Collection service des Archives de la Nouvelle-
Calédonie 1 Num 2 148, fonds de l’Archevêché de Nouvelle-Calédonie.

Women played an integral part in the “civilising mission” in New Caledonia and elsewhere in the Pacific. The Marists were in New Caledonia from 1843 and the male missionaries were followed a few years later by the Sisters of Saint-Joseph de Cluny and then the Sisters of the Tiers-Ordre. Their role was to convert the indigenous population, principally through the creation of schools and “education centres” for children and young people who would be separated from their clan. The aim was to erase indigenous language and culture in favour of that of the missionaries and, later, colonisers and to create local indigenous missionaries who would convert their own people. Girls and women would be taught to cook, clean and sew (in the Western tradition and thus severing their connection with their own cultural practices). The billowy, colourful “robe mission” that today serves as the traditional dress of Kanak women, for instance, was foisted upon them as a modest cover-up by the nuns and priests on the mission.

La robe mission or Mother Hubbard dress as worn by Kanak women in New Caledonia

For the nuns arriving in New Caledonia from France, conditions were rudimentary and life was very different from what they had known in Europe. For some, this culture shock was overwhelming and a few Sisters were sent to Villa Maria in Hunters Hill, Sydney to recover from their physical and mental ills – their tropical depression. This poem reflects on their experiences.

Tropical Depression

Surreptitiously
you scratch
the weeping pustules
poisonous mosquito kisses
forming sceptic angel footprints
up and down your unloved legs
blood drunk mission fleas
etching itchy art on infected arms
throbbing tracks of parasitic misery
tattoos forever testifying
to your proselytising
Pacific dream

No sleep for you
lying prone on lice straw mattress
conversion disillusion
black swamp mind unravelling
unpicking tender stitches
sewn by fellow Sisters
sniping, snaking artifice
shining like sunbeams
through their skeleton hollow eyes

Floating, screaming, unleashing
a lagoon of injured tears
salty balm for
self-inflicted stigmata
Sisters whisper
you thrash and whimper
spirit severed
calm prevails

Pilgrimage aboard a saintly vessel
port, then town, then hermitage
sweet solid walled tranquillity
mental exhaustion
expelling demons
healing holy scarification
relocating your vocation
to another Oceanic destiny

©Karin Speedy 2016

Further Reading

Hosie, John. 1987. Challenge: The Marists in Colonial Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Speedy, Karin. 2013. “Mission-educated girls in nineteenth-century Saint-Louis and their Impact on the Evolution of Tayo”, Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures, 7.1, http://www.shimajournal.org/issues/v7n1/f.%20Speedy%20Shima%20v7n1%2060-79.pdf

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “Tropical Depression”, original poem in Snorkel literary magazine, issue 23, http://snorkel.org.au/023/speedy.html

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Shouting through the Silence

DN Joubert

From Hunter’s Hill Museum Archives, Sydney

As any readers of this blog have gathered, I have a bit of a thing for archives, particularly the colonial archive. Archives house myriad, if mediated, stories of much of our past. Yet, as a mirror of the societies they recorded, they are notorious for their selective exclusions and tendency to allow the voices of the privileged and powerful to resonate through the centuries. This is not to say that others are not there. They are. It’s just that they are not as loud, not as visible and the historian has to work harder to find them.

The exclusion of other/Indigenous/non-white voices was always part and parcel of the colonial project, an epistemic continuation of the everyday violence ‘subaltern’ people experienced during their lifetimes. Rereading the colonial archive through a postcolonial lens often enables recovery of the lost narratives and a retelling of colonial history that highlights Indigenous or subaltern agency and resistance. Historians, particularly those working on slave, convict and indentured labourers and other marginalised groups, engage with fragmented archival material in order to piece together the stories of those who have been excluded from the colonial archive and, until recently, colonial history.

Charroi-Beaufonds-Georgi

Beaufonds sugar factory (near st Benoit, Reunion) at the end of the 19th century, Henri Georgi, Centre des archives d’outre-mer, Wikipedia

In an article that has just been published called “Constructing Subaltern Silence in the Colonial Archive: An Australian Case Study”, I deconstruct an 1857 instance of kidnapping in the Pacific by a Sydney-based consortium of well-connected merchants and sea captains, headed by Didier-Numa Joubert. The Gilbert (I-Kiribati) and Solomon Islanders they ‘recruited’ were taken on board an old whaling ship, the Sutton, to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and sold into indenture. In the article, instead of attempting to recover the voices of the Pacific Islanders, I focus on the methods by which their voices were silenced. A close reading of the archival documents available in the colonial archive (in London and Paris) allows me to describe the very deliberate production of subaltern silence and show how particular agents of empire, men with trans-imperial connections, were able to draw on these interconnections, knowledge and experience to create and exploit it.

Map_OC-Oceania

Despite the thorough, cynical and ruthless efforts to obfuscate the voices of the Pacific Islanders on the part of the men holding the power in this ‘transaction’, the gaps left by so many untruths speak volumes. The ghosts reposing in the interstices of the archive can, indeed, speak. While I was writing my academic article, concentrating on teasing out a recipe for the construction of subaltern silence, I was also listening to these ghostly revelations. As I am apt to do, I turned to creative writing to express them, writing a longish poem that experiments with polyphonous voices. It expresses what I understand to be the most likely version of events. And here it is.

Secrets of the Sutton

Her whaling days over
leaky, saggy, weighed down
with blubbery death stench
the Sutton
a Baltimore clipper-built barque
18th century relic
unseaworthy really
receives a cheap lick and spit

She’ll be good
for one more
South Sea
adventure

Villainous voyage
quick fire trickery
fast money plunder
for her slick talking owner
and duplicitous
filibuster crew

Marist collusion
or cynical suggestion
of non-existent missionary middle-men
coconut-oil tales of
short sojourns
on a neighbouring isle
a pound of tobacco
in return
for copra dreams

A pair of Judas beachcombers
fair weather interpreters
embark to aid
the kidnapping mariners

Come hither
strapping young men of the Gilberts
your brown bodies our bread
your muscles our meat
inspect below decks
mind the swivel guns
no we’re not slavers
but we’ll lock the hold
as we haul anchor
and head out to sea

Solomon Islands
ideal dumping ground
for mutinous Micronesians
knife-wielding prospective assassins
according to sailor testimony
one on New Georgia
the other one…

where was it again?
no one can quite recall

tossed out trussed up
no food or water
life expectancy measured
in hours not days

Fourteen Solomons bondsmen
traded for shiny glass trinkets
join fifty-one Gilbertese captives
packed in tight down below
sixty-six days
of suffering and gagging
on putrid dank air
whale flesh planks
unwashed bodies
fear
vomit
human excreta
bilge water slops underfoot

In the cabin are
muskets and pistols
cutlasses and axes
gunpowder and canisters
an arsenal to save us
from native rebellion
to keep us safe from
the savages down there

Disembark the cargo
on the Isle of Bourbon
France’s sugar bowl
in the Indian Ocean
1848 emancipation
leaving a desperate craving
for slave replacements
on boom production plantations

Top price fetched
for fresh strong flesh
Pacific Islanders snatched up by planters
on five-year French indentures
for forty pounds sterling a head
Coconut and tobacco promises
exposed as nowt
but fraudulences…
the seamen decamp
to British Mauritius
where petty jealousies play out
on the imperial stage

Those bloody Frogs!

Governor Stevenson sniffs slavery
statements solicited
but not from the Islanders
muted and left to their cane-cutting fates
yarns spun criss-crossing
fact with fanciful fiction
flurry of indignant diplomatic dispatches

What, they’re not our natives?
Nevermind
Nothing more we can do

Sham enquiry over
scandal hits Sydney
headlines scream high sea irregularities
kidnapping
privateering
slaving
these dastardly acts
damaging money-making prospects
with South Sea cannibals
so ripe for exploiting
furious merchants
pen letters to the editor
their ocean-going
capitalist
dreams
at stake

The captain should swing!

Ship owner Joubert
backed by French consul
deftly dismisses attacks on his honour

Outrageous accusations!
Nothing untoward
occurred on board
a French sanctioned delegate was present
no laws were broken
no harm was done
no persuasion needed
the natives were more than willing
why, they were happy ship helpers
of course they knew what they were signing
those beachcomber interpreters
double-dealing scoundrels trying to scam us
pay them no heed

Lie, defy, deny
expert extrication
establishment players emerge from the mêlée
rich man reputations intact
no charges laid

It was all above board
a legal business transaction

Newspapers fall quiet
blackbirding implicitly sanctioned
Queensland’s future assured

What of the abductees from the Islands?
How did they fare on faraway fields?
Did they find their way back to the Pacific?
Or were they buried an ocean away?

No news of the men
caught in this nefarious traffic
nothing to report
no update
no footnote
the colonial conspiracy
to banish their voices
to hide their stories
to silence the archive
creates
an echoing void of indifference
that violently shouts
the truth
from the page

©Karin Speedy 2016

For further details on this incident see:

Speedy, Karin. 2015. “The Sutton Case: the First Franco-Australian Foray into Blackbirding,” The Journal of Pacific History, 50, no. 3, 344-364.
DOI:  dx.doi.org/ (for those with institutional access).

Speedy, Karin. 2015. “Sydney’s Global Slavery Scandal of 1857”, Imperial & Global Forum, imperialglobalexeter.com/2015/ (free access to this blog post).

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “Constructing subaltern silence in the colonial archive: An Australian case study”, Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol. 18, Jul 2016: 95-114.

World Poetry Day: Tayo, a resistant language

As it is World Poetry Day (hooray for world poets!) and as a footnote to my most recent post, Saint-Louis: New Caledonian Marist Mission Station turned Creole/Melanesian Village, I have decided to put up a poem I wrote when reflecting on the young people, taken from their homes by the Marists, who were instrumental in creating a new creole language, Tayo, in the village of Saint-Louis (Kanaky-Nouvelle-Calédonie).

girls

Saint-Louis “girls”, reproduced with permission in Speedy 2007

Tayo

Child stealers
black robes flapping
like sails on a devil ship
agile tongues
pidginising
in silken effort
to persuade parents
presents and promises
made with a sign of the cross
spiriting away
those little bodies
impressionable
malleable
easily convertible
future fluent mouthpieces
of the men on the mission

Stolen boys
needing nourishment
crying out
for absent mothers
squealing
like injured flying foxes
caught in a cruel trap
of Latin, French and catechism
hard labour in the cane fields
corporal punishment
ever more liberal lashes
for errant field hand scholars
Saint-Louis rum
the prize winning by-product
of Catholic capitalism

Stolen girls
strictly schooled
by feuding Sisters
in stiff white amborella bonnets
skinny limbs
drowning beneath
the loose floral folds
of the robe mission
cultural asphyxiation
gasping
resisting
in those letters
written a thousand times over
till the Sisters are satisfied
and blood flows
from their nibs
the Vicar Apostolic
well pleased with their progress

Stolen children
grown up
in spite of
institutionalisation
education
exploitation
white-ification
eschewing vocations
to discover the censored delights
of the flesh
now plump and visible
under those newly traditional
gaily coloured
cotton smocks
forming couples
founding families
spouses from different clans
on neutral ground
old language patterns
subsumed
in the heady mix

Stolen voices
spurning
the French tongue
forced down their throats
in its straight-laced
straight-jacket
pious purity
instead
incorporating
interweaving
creolising
the grammar
syntax
rhythm
music
of their
never-forgotten
ever-present
ancestors
distilling their spirits
to form
the heart
the core
the soul
of their new village language
linguistic testament
to their
theft
conversion
adaptation
resilience
life
©Karin Speedy, 2016

Photo from: Speedy, Karin. 2007a. Colons, Créoles et Coolies: L’immigration
réunionnaise en Nouvelle-Calédonie (XIXe siècle) et le tayo de
Saint-Louis.
Paris: L’Harmattan.

Saint-Louis: the New Caledonian Marist Mission Station turned Creole/Melanesian Village

Saint-Louis%2c New Caledonia

Saint-Louis, photo credit: Karin Speedy

The Pacific of the 19th century was not only theatre to trans-imperial (British/French) secular tensions, but was also a battleground between Protestant and Catholic for the souls of the indigenous peoples of the region. Reading Tony Ballantyne’s discussion in Entanglements of Empire of the spatial history of Protestant mission stations in New Zealand and his description of them as contact zones of cross-cultural exchange and contest, I was struck by the similarity of the discourses produced in the Catholic mission stations of the Marists in New Caledonia.[1] Interestingly, despite the missionaries’ evident aims of Europeanisation, the mission stations emerged in both New Zealand and New Caledonia as sites of cultural mixing, negotiation, struggle and, ultimately, in the case of Saint-Louis in New Caledonia, creolisation.

While the Marists were itinerant in New Zealand, they established several mission stations in New Caledonia, the largest and most important being at Saint-Louis, some 17 kilometres from Noumea. I have written quite extensively on the emergence of Tayo, the Pacific’s only documented French creole language, which is the community language of Saint-Louis.[2] While I will not go into the details of the complex linguistic processes at work in the formation of the language this post, I want to show how important it is to have a clear and detailed historical picture of the nature and workings of a space in which a creole language emerged. In doing so, I will be deconstructing some of the more simplistic claims that the Marist mission station was a site of first contact or beginning point for the new language.

What was the function of a mission station?

For the Marists in New Caledonia, the mission station was a vital instrument in the civilising mission, a place where they settled Kanak (Melanesian) converts from different parts of New Caledonia, separating them from their families, to train them as catechists or to school them in European ways.[3] Alongside the schools and seminary, the Saint-Louis mission station had a strong agricultural focus. For the mission station to remain self-sufficient, the Kanak neophytes had to spend many hours per day toiling in the fields. They cultivated food crops, built a saw mill and a grain mill before the Marists moved into large-scale sugar production, constructing a sugar mill and rum distillery. At this point, the work took on plantation-like proportions with many Kanak providing what was in essence slave labour for the missionaries.

missiond

Saint-Louis, E. Dardoize, reproduced in Speedy 2007a with permission

Work, along with schooling in the French language and religious instruction were the foundation blocks the Marists used to ‘civilise’ their Kanak converts. Father Rougeyron, one of the founders of Saint-Louis, took his cue from Marist intervention among the French peasantry when he gave Saint-Louis the double vocation of Model Farm and technical training centre for young Melanesians. In 1867, Rougeyron wrote with delight to his niece of the ‘progress’ made by the indigenous converts:

What we are doing here is what monks used to do back in France. We group people  around us and get them to clear the land. We teach them how to work and be good Christians. You really should see them – how happy they are! [4]

The multilingual founders of Saint-Louis and the beginnings of Tayo

AiresCoutumieresNC

Linguistic Map of New Caledonia, source LACITO-CNRS 2011, reproduced in Speedy 2014 with permission

New Caledonia is a linguistically diverse space with over 30 indigenous languages spoken. In descriptions of Tayo, linguists Chris Corne and Sabine Ehrhart put forward 1860 as the foundation date, a sort of ground zero, when the Marists successfully established a mission station at Saint-Louis.[5] They set up camp with neophytes from Touho in the north (speakers of Cèmuhî) and were soon joined by Kanak from the surrounding areas in the far south (speakers of Drubea and Numèè). In 1880, Kanak from Bouloupari (speakers of Xârâcùù and Xârâguré) fleeing French reprisals following the 1878 Franco-Kanak war arrived at the mission. The village of Saint-Louis developed along ethno-linguistic lines, with the emergence of four distinct quarters, each with its own distinct and mutually unintelligible Melanesian language. This linguistic diversity meant that the neophytes needed to form a language of intra-village communication, which provided the incentive for the creation of Tayo.[6]

11230847_10205769993721036_3652364760950795270_n

The Melanesian Village of Saint-Louis, reproduced with permission in Speedy 2007a

However, this depiction of a Pacific Babel needs to be nuanced. Considering the history of contact that the founding Kanak converts had with the Marists and other   Europeans, the assumption that they would not have been able to communicate with each other is highly doubtful. As I explain below, the first Kanak to arrive in Saint-Louis, the Touho and a smaller group from Pouébo-Balade, would have already had French as a second language or at least a pidgin which they used to communicate with the Marists. Some of them may have spoken French well. The later arrivals from the far south and Bouloupari would most likely have had some command of the local New Caledonian French-based pidgin which they would have been able to introduce in the interim to communicate with both the Marists and other neophytes at Saint-Louis. This French-based pidgin came about after French annexation (1853) and subsequent contact between Kanak and French administrators and colonists. According to Hollyman (1964:58), it developed from the beach-la-mar or English-based pidgin spoken in New Caledonia from the 1840s through trade and was spoken throughout the 19th century. It contained French, English, Polynesian and Melanesian elements.[7]

What is more, the Marists were not monolingual French speakers either. From their arrival and first installation at Balade in the north of the main island in 1843, they started learning local languages. Initially operating via the Polynesian lingua franca that Kanak and Europeans had been using since first contact,[8] the missionaries learned the language of Balade and then tried to learn the languages of the peoples in their later installations. In 1851, François Leconte wrote of the missionaries:

Missionaries who have previously sojourned in either Tonga or Wallis Island therefore have a distinct advantage over their fellow clergymen as they can make themselves understood in almost all parts of the island before having studied the language of the tribe [that they are attempting to convert].[9]

Of the first Marists to arrive in New Caledonia, Father Viard, who had a good command of Tongan, led the evangelisation. It took Monsignor Douarre and Father Rougeyron about a year to learn the local Kanak language. In 1845, Father Rougeyron wrote of his initial struggle with this linguistic task:

The language of the New Caledonians seems very difficult to me, both because of its characteristics that are so different from our European languages and because of its pronunciation. As the only Europeans on this island, with no interpreters and no grammar or vocabulary books […] we have had enormous challenges to overcome. In the last three months we have started to babble in New Caledonian and give some instruction [to the New Caledonians].[10]

That same year, Father Rougeyron, whose language skills steadily improved, began work on his dictionary. In 1860, Rougeyron’s Dictionnaire de Pouébo et d’Ouvéa was completed.

As Kanak contact with European whalers, sandalwood and bêche-de-mer traders increased from the 1840s, the language of communication, which had initially been via the Polynesian vehicular language, shifted to an English-based pidgin that originated in New South Wales or the New Hebrides (Vanuatu). Once French settlement got underway and the gallicisation of the indigenous population began, a local French-based pidgin developed. After coexisting for about fifteen years, the French-based pidgin replaced the English-based pidgin by about 1875-1880.[11] As the Kanak began speaking these European-based pidgins, the Marists were also able to   use them as languages of evangelisation.

Nevertheless, learning the local Melanesian language continued to remain high on the agenda for the missionaries. When the three Marist Sisters arrived at La Conception in 1858, for instance, we are told that along with teaching the children French, teaching the women to sew and taking care of the sick, they were also expected to learn the local Kanak languages. The Marists and the neophytes of Saint-Louis, then, would most certainly have had ways of communicating with each other.

In addition to learning Kanak languages, the Marists naturally began teaching French to their converts. This was the practice from their first installations at Balade and Pouébo. They used to take young people, the children of chiefs in particular, under their tutelage to teach them language and literacy.[12] These educated converts then became intermediaries in the Marists’ dealings with other Kanak. When, in 1847, the Marists were forced to temporarily flee their northern installation, they took the young people with them on their travels – to the New Hebrides, Sydney, the Ile of Pines, Yaté and Futuna. Once the group returned to Balade and Pouébo in 1851, these young people participated in the foundation of new mission stations.[13]

La Conception and Colonial Machinations

map nc

In 1855, after a series of failures elsewhere, Father Rougeyron decided to set up a mission station at La Conception in the south of the colony, not far from (what is today) Noumea. He took with him 120 converts from Balade. In 1856, 90 converts from Touho and 158 from Pouébo joined them. These neophytes lived together for four to five years at La Conception before the Marists took a group of 30 of them to set up the nearby Saint-Louis reduction.[14]

Unsurprisingly, the settling of hundreds of northern Kanak in southern New Caledonia was greeted enthusiastically by the local military administrators who saw the mission stations as providing a buffer zone between the fledgling civilian settlement in Port-de-France (Noumea) and the local Kanak. They also regarded the converts as allies in their quest to rid the south of its “hostile” indigenous population in order to seize their lands for farming. They used the converts as guides and soon asked them to participate in the military campaigns against the local so-called “rebel” tribes. The converts were rewarded with provisions, booty and children, who they had taken prisoner and who they were allowed to take to La Conception to be raised in “Christian families”.[15]

The foundation members of Saint-Louis, then, had been with the Marists for at least four or five years. Some of them, especially those who the Marists had taken under their wing as young people, may well have been living alongside the Marists for much longer. Some also had contact with the French and other Europeans through military service and public works. It is improbable, then, that they did not already have some command of French.

Local pidgins

The first language of communication at Saint-Louis could not, as Corne and Ehrhart have argued, have been a pidgin that came about at Saint-Louis itself after 1860 solely due to the diversity of Kanak languages spoken there. Rather, most of the converts were multilingual prior to their arrival at Saint-Louis. They had Kanak languages that they could use to communicate with people from their own clan – we must not forget too that most would have spoken more than one Kanak language due to the tradition of societal multilingualism in New Caledonia. They also would have had command of the pidgins (French and/or English-based) which were widely used as vehicular languages in the colony at this time. Some, particularly those who travelled with the Marists as children, would have attained a good level of French. Right from the beginning, then, the linguistic ecology of the mission station at Saint-Louis was more complex than linguists have portrayed it to date.

Bi- and multilingualism would have been the norm rather than the exception with the evangelising and civilising mission of the Marists pushing everyone towards French. Could Tayo have grown out of the local pidgins that underwent expansion and modification by the various Melanesian, European and other languages spoken at Saint-Louis? Later arrivals at Saint-Louis would have reinforced the pidginised elements in the emerging creole. The input of the New Caledonian pidgins could perhaps account for the retention of “generalised” Melanesian features in Tayo that Jeff Siegel has argued for in other contact languages.[16]

The name of the language ‘Tayo’ comes from the Polynesian and subsequent pidgin word ‘tayo’ (friend) which designated the Kanak man as opposed to the Kanak woman (‘popinée’ – again from Polynesian ‘wahine’) in colonial New Caledonia. Other lexical items that entered via pidgin, such as ‘poka’ (pig), are also found in Tayo (cf. Ehrhart 1993: 115).[17] If you are interested in grammatical and other linguistic transfers, see my 2014 article here.

Complex contact situations

The development of a new language is very complex. It is important to understand   the historical context and linguistic ecology of a creolophone society at the time the creole was developing if we hope to comprehend why or how the language came into being. This short reanalysis of the founding of Saint-Louis indicates that the mission station was not a ground zero where people who had never encountered each other before came into first contact. Instead, there had been a history of interaction between the Marists and the converts as well as with other Europeans prior to the settlement in the far south. The French input into the creole language was not as simple as the label ‘Marist French’ implies as the Marists were (unevenly) multilingual and may have reinforced (consciously or not) the transfer of elements from the Kanak languages and the Polynesian, English and French pidgins that they spoke. Moreover, the French of the Marists was not standardised and they would have had regional variations as evidenced in their letters.

The Kanak input consisted of four or five mutually unintelligible Melanesian languages that shared a number of general grammatical patterns as well as similar worldviews. The Melanesian features may have entered directly or indirectly through the pidgin of the first arrivals which was reinforced over the first twenty years of settlement as new pidgin-speaking converts arrived.

girls

Sister Marie-de-la-Croix and her Saint-Louis “girls”, reproduced in Speedy 2007a with permission

I have not had space to discuss the important role that the mission-educated girls (Kanak and Kanak-European girls) had in the creation of the creole but they certainly transmitted not only their reportedly “good” second language French into Tayo but also most likely reinforced the transfer of Kanak features into the emerging creole.[18] Nor have I gone into the full complexity of the mission station once it moved into sugar production and the Kanak converts came into close contact with speakers of Reunion Creole, convict French and New Hebridean pidgin (Bislama) in the Saint-Louis fields. These all provided additional opportunity for input/influence/transfer, with Bislama perhaps reinforcing general Oceanic patterns in the emerging Tayo and Reunion Creole perhaps reinforcing emerging creole features.[19]

51g2jtN79dL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The peculiar space of the Marist mission station as a nexus of cross-cultural interaction and locus of tensions between evangelisation, civilising mission and capitalist production led to the development of Tayo. The mission station ultimately failed in its goal to produce Kanak missionaries who would return to their ancestral lands to convert their brethren. Most converts (men and women) opted to marry, stay in Saint-Louis and form a new “tribe” (les Saint-Louis). This new artificial regrouping of Melanesians from all over New Caledonia and others from diverse origins and backgrounds resulted in a creolised language and culture and a re-Melanesianisation of the appropriated European space.

 

NOTES

[1] Ballantyne, Tony. 2015. Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Maori, and the Question of the Body. Auckland: Auckland University Press.

[2] See, for example: Speedy, Karin. 2007a. Colons, Créoles et Coolies: L’immigration réunionnaise en Nouvelle-Calédonie (XIXe siècle) et le tayo de Saint-Louis. Paris: L’Harmattan., Speedy, Karin. 2007b. “Reunion Creole in New Caledonia: What influence on Tayo?”, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 22.2, 193-230, Speedy, Karin. 2014. “Reflections on creole genesis in New Caledonia”.  Acta Linguistica Hafniensia: International Journal of Linguistics, DOI: 10.1080/03740463.2014.897817.dx.doi.org/ (or the author accepted manuscript on academia.edu:  https://www.academia.edu/7749715/Reflections_on_creole_genesis_in_New_Caledonia

[3] See Speedy (2014) for extensive references for this post.

[4] My translation of a letter from Father Rougeyron to his niece dated 2 July, 1867. Copie de la correspondence du Père Rougeyron Nouvelle-Calédonie à sa famille 1843-1900, MSS 525/9

[5] In 1856, the Marists made a first attempt to set up a mission at Saint-Louis but it was abandoned due to hostilities from local Kanak.

[6] See, for instance: Corne, Chris. 1999. From French to Creole : the development of new vernaculars in the French colonial world. London: University of Westminster Press, Ehrhart, Sabine. 1993. Le créole français de St-Louis (le tayo) en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Hamburg: Buske.

[7] Hollyman, K. J. 1964. L’ancien pidgin français parlé en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Journal de la société des océanistes, 20.2, 57-64.

[8] Prior to European contact, small groups of Polynesians had at various times arrived and settled in parts of the east coast of New Caledonia and Uvea (where a Polynesian language, Faga Uvea, is still spoken today). Polynesian languages were thus spoken in New Caledonia and some lexical items entered local Melanesian languages. Initial contact with European explorers was facilitated by the presence of Polynesian languages and speakers, who sometimes acted as interpreters. Indeed, in Balade, Polynesian became the lingua franca for communication between European explorers, missionaries and traders (Hollyman, K. J. 2000. “Les pidgins anglais et français de la region calédonienne”, Observatoire du français dans le Pacifique. Etudes et documents, 13, 25-64). The Europeans used pidginised Polynesian (or Maritime Polynesian Pidgin) as reported by Drechsel (Drechsel, Emmanuel. 2007. “Sociolinguistic-ethnohistorical observations on Maritime Polynesian Pidgin in Herman Melville’s two major semi-autobiographical novels of the Pacific”, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 22.2, 231-261).

[9] Quoted in Hollyman (2000: 28).

[10] Letter from Father Rougeyron to Jean-Claude Colin, New Caledonia, 1 October 1845. Quoted in Essertel, Yannick. 2008. “L’évangélisation en Nouvelle-Calédonie et en Nouvelle-Zélande: etude comparative de deux phases pionnières entre 1838 et 1853”, in F. Angleviel and S. Levine (eds.), New Zealand – New Caledonia, Neighbours, Friends, Partners / La Nouvelle-Zélande et la Nouvelle-Calédonie, Voisins, amis, partenaires, Wellington: Victoria University Press, 83-106, 97.

[11] Hollyman (2000: 46-47).

[12] Essertel (2008: 99).

[13] Delbos, Georges. 1993. L’église catholique en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Un siècle et demi d’histoire. Paris: Desclée.

[14] Delbos (1993: 100-101).

[15] Dauphiné, Joël. 1995. Les débuts d’une colonisation laborieuse: le sud calédonien (1853-1860). Paris: L’Harmattan, 23-24, 31-32.

[16] See Siegel, Jeff. 2007. “Transmission and transfer”, in U. Ansaldo, S. Matthews and L. Lim (eds.), Deconstructing creole, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 167-201.

[17] In the Loyalty Islands and some northern Kanak languages, the term ‘puaka’ is used to designate the pig and comes from Polynesian. Pidgin ‘poaka’, from English ‘porker’ appears to be the source of ‘poka’ or ‘poca’ as used in Kanak languages in the north and far south of New Caledonia.

[18] For details see: Speedy, Karin. 2013. Mission-Educated Girls in Nineteenth-Century Saint-Louis and their  Impact on the Evolution of Tayo. Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures 7, no.1, https://www.academia.edu/3202762/Mission-Educated_Girls_in_19th_Century_Saint-Louis_and_their_Impact_on_the_Evolution_of_Tayo

[19] See Speedy (2007a,2007b,2014) for details.