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Writing on the border: Irian, Indonesian literature and Gerson Poyk's "Matias Akankari"

Hill, D.T. (1993) Writing on the border: Irian, Indonesian literature and Gerson Poyk's "Matias Akankari". SPAN, 34 & 35 . pp. 178-183.

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In his short story "Matias Akankari" Gerson Poyk uses the term "Irian Barat" (literally "West Irian") for the territory which lies to the west of the central north-south international border dividing the island of Papua. To the east of that border now lies Papua New Guinea. To the west, a land in dispute, a former Dutch colony incorporated into the independent state of Indonesia under controversial circumstances between 1963 and 1969. Initially called Irian Barat in Indonesian its name was later changed to "Irian Jaya" (literally "Glorious Irian") after its incorporation. Within the territory a separatist movement continues to press for independence through secession from Indonesia. They reject the name 'Irian' as an Indonesian artifice and prefer to use "Papua Barat" (West Papua), emphasising common links with Melanesian cultures and heritage to the east, rather than with non-Melanesian Indonesia to the west. Similarly they refer to the people of their territory not as 'orang Irian' (Irianese), but as 'orang Papua' (Papuans) or 'Orang Melanesia' (Melanesians).

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
School of Arts
Publisher: Murdoch University
Copyright: The Author
Notes: SPAN Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies Number 34-35 (1993)
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