It has become a convention in Melanesia that there is a vital relationship between group identity and land. Understandably then, as Papua New Guinea's National Capital District has continually spread across the traditional territory of the Motu and Koita people, many people in the two groups fear their identity is threatened by their loss of land. Applying a historical perspective to their experience and contemporary apprehensions, this article critiques the discursive connection between land and identity, arguing that identity is connected not to 'land' but to places, and that toponymy is integral to the temporality of identity. In this regard, the contemporary orthography of urban Koita toponymy provides evidence of the resilience of identity - related to places - in the course of long-term socio-political change.
|Number of pages||26|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|