Archipelagic American Studies
Drawing on North American Haida artist Bill Reil’s The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, Aotearoa/New Zealand poet Robert Sullivan’s Star Waka, and Pangso no Tau writer Syaman Rapongan’s Eyes of the Sky as anchor texts, this chapter demonstrates how Indigenous cultural production from the Pacific decontinentalizes American studies through the powerful metaphor of the canoe navigating across the “pathway” of the sea. All three poets/artists evidence multiple kinds of Pacific connection and commonality, as multiple kinds of Indigenous canoes travel across the Pacific. Nonhuman beings such as whales, flying fish, and amphibians, and artistic objects such as canoes literally travel across an indigenous Pacific. These beings, objects, and canoes detail complex cosmological genealogies at both the macro and micro scale of multispecies relationships. All this renativizes islands into a countercontinental site aligned with Oceania. Through multiple kinds of Pacific connections and commonalities among North America, Aotearoa, and Austronesian Taiwan, this chapter opens up Pacific pathways and islands as locations of archipelagic American Studies.