This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

12 July 2006

Kanaky (New Caledonia)

Photo by Laurent Guiader, 2005.
Kanaky is the locals' name for New Caledonia. Kanaky - the land of the Kanaks. In the center of Nouméa you'll find a spot that has been constructed for, and as an homage to, the Kanaks (pictured above). Of Kanaky's 200 000 or so inhabitants, the Kanaks make up the largest cultural group at 42.5% of the population. The island still belongs to them, in theory (but far from in practice). Unlike what has happened to the American Indians and the Australian Aboriginals, the culture has not been entirely stripped from the Kanaks. Their 32 dialects are still alive, they follow their own customs and laws, they still live in "cases" (huts), but they are also integrated in schools, and less so in the workplace. My feeling is that their land is exploited (for nickel) and that they are little compensated. They are often less qualified for the better jobs in New Caledonia and suffer from poverty and alcoholism. But the fact that their culture still lives gives me hope that they will one day regain possession and power of their homeland.

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