Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i
Decolonization Of Rapa Nui Advocated At UN Church Center
By Dr. Forrest Wade Young
NEW YORK CITY, New York (May 23, 2014) – On May 13th and 14th 2014, Santi Hitorangi, special advisor to the President of Rapa Nui Parliament—Leviante Araki—advocated for the political decolonization of the Rapa Nui Nation from the state of Chile during the "Decolonization Dialogues" at the United Nations Church Center in New York City. The dialogues were addressed to an audience of over a hundred participants of the 2014 13th annual UN Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and sponsored by the General Board of Church & Society of the United Methodist Church, the World Council of Churches, and members of the Decolonization Alliance organization housed at UN Plaza.
Emphasizing that decolonization must engage cultural minds, social bodies, and state governments both political and theological decolonization were discussed during the dialogues. Hitorangi, a panel speaker, was joined by fellow Decolonization Alliance members of the Pacific Islands: Menase W. Kaisiepo and Rosa Moiwend advocating for the political decolonization of West Papua, and Leon K. Siu who advocated for the political decolonization of Hawai`i. Theological dimensions of decolonization were emphasized by Sarah Augustine of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr. Heather Elkins of Drew University, Rev. Dr. Thomas Fassett of the Seneca Nation and the United Methodist Church General Board, and Jerry Freefa of West Papua and the Indigenous Peoples Reference Group to the World Council of Churches. Moderators of the dialogues included Kai Landow of the Decolonization Alliance and United Methodist Church representative to the United Nations and International Affairs Rev. Liberato Bautista.
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