Fieldwork today or cultural theft ? (part 5)

Michael Everson everson at
Fri Feb 7 07:40:48 UTC 1997

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At 15:21 +1300 1997-02-07, Peter Keegan wrote:

>No, we argue that we "own" our culture and language. We also "own" the
>right to define how the rest of the world sees us.

Well, you can hope to try -- and I really do support such an effort, Peter.
But it's not clear to me that this "right" exists.

>In the past we
>suffered much from Non-Maori misrepresenting us. Naturally we're cautious
>about what is written about us and our attempts to retain our language.

This is completely understandable.

>>Can you expand on your belief that the right to talk about a certain topic
>>is dependent on one's skin-color?
>It has nothing to do with skin-color, rather, it is birthright.

Birthright. "A right of possession or privilege on has from birth, esp. as
the eldest son." (Concise Oxford Dictionary)

>I don't automatically have a right to speak for all Maori. When I do speak on
>Maori topics I do so because I have gained clearance from the appropriate
>Maori authorities. Thus who gets to speak for Maori is based on birthright

Birthright. Birthright? Rights because of where and what and to whom you
were born? Rights denied others because of where and what and to whom they
were born? "Speaking for Maori" is not the same thing as "speaking about
Maori", I suppose.

But I don't know if such rights are inherent. I think your statement is not
quite in synch with, at least, the freedoms specified in the United
Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948

Ability is a very good criterion.

Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta
15 Port Chaeimhghein .ochtarach; Baile .tha Cliath 2; .ire (Ireland)
Guth.n:  +353 1 478-2597, +353 1 283-9396
27 P.rc an Fh.thlinn; Baile an; Co. .tha Cliath; .ire

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