This article discusses different understandings of the origins of a ritual associated with the Antankaraña polity of northern Madagascar. If we are to understand how history is “made” differently at different points in time, we must consider the interrelatedness of historical narratives and the sociopolitical contexts in which they are produced and interpreted. By focusing on one purportedly commemorative rite and the different ways in which it has been interpreted at different points in Malagasy history, this essay suggests one example of how acts of commemoration and the historical narratives they imply might be studied in relation to the political interests they serve.

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