Autochthony/Localization/Aboriginality and island peoples in world system

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Evans, M 2007, 'Autochthony/Localization/Aboriginality and island peoples in world systems', 3rd International Small Island Cultures Conference, Sydney, NSW, June 29 - July Small Island Cultures Research Initiative.

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Peer Reviewed



Under International Whaling Commission regulations there are two types of whaling. The class of Aboriginal subsistence whaling has a preferred status in terms of access to whale resources; different criteria are used when weighing the value of whale use and the precautionary principle in terms of conservation values. The designation of which communities qualify as Aboriginal subsistence whalers and why is uneven however. Tongan whalers for example, were not designated as Aboriginal subsistence whalers, presumably because although they were using small, wind powered boats, taking very limited numbers of whales, and providing whale meat to small local markets, the Tongan whaling tradition was of relatively recent vintage, and derived from earlier European whaling traditions and technologies. By the time of the IWC moratorium on whaling, Tongan whalers represented a thoroughly localized practice, regardless of the origins of that practice. This paper examines when and where a practice becomes so localized that it becomes, for all intents and purposes of the practitioners, an autochthonous tradition. Some ideas about the notions of localization, aboriginality, and autochthony are developed, specifically in reference to hybrid practices in small island cultures, and the way these practices are characterized on the world stage.