Incompatible Struggles? Reclaiming Indigenous Sovereignty and Political Sovereignty in Kanaky and/or New Caledonia

The question of sovereignty in Kanaky and/or New Caledonia has been the central political issue for its people for nearly 5 decades. Anthony Tutugoro, PhD student at the Doctoral School of the Pacific, analyses the strategies of the proponents of Indigenous sovereignty and political sovereignty.

The question of sovereignty in Kanaky and/or New Caledonia has been the central political issue for the people of the archipelago for nearly five decades. Over that period, the idea of restitution has matured for the Indigenous population of the territory, with the notion now taking on multiple meanings. The dominant strategy is to achieve sovereignty on a political level through a referendum in which a large part of the New Caledonian population votes (see the following discussion on voter eligibility).

The first part of the paper reviews the different visions and strategies undertaken in New Caledonia in efforts to reclaim sovereignty. The second part exposes the mistrust that can be witnessed between the actors involved. The third part explores possible points of convergence between the approaches of these actors. The paper concludes by considering some scenarios that could take shape in the political landscape of New Caledonia.

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