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Thank you so much for sharing your views with me. It certainly helped me a lot. I now know that there is a Banaban language (note that I am using "is" instead of "was") and that our identity is fully entrenched in the Kiribati constitution and the Banaban Settlement Act which is recognised by the Fiji Government. Another important thing that I now know is that we are related - the truth is I did not know. What is our relationship - ngke ai raau?
Mauri inanon te bong ae moan te raoiroi aei.
Of course we may be like Kiribati in all that we do but that is what we Banabans suppose to believe in (by their way of thinking). They expect us to believe that there is no such thing as Banaban race, language, culture,identity, etc and even dance as you've just mentioned. Let all Banabans be WARNED that we should not be fooled by this stupid attitude of domination. Even though we are outnumbered (as Banabans) by thousands
our Identity and culture stands EQUAL with rest of the world, and that is the reason why I'm so proud being a Banaban among other nationality ties that I have.
Now to the discussion of the day. Your IKiribati friends mentioned that,'Banaban dance is the new version of Kiribati dance'. Roba, now let us pause here a minute and ask ourselves, 'how can someone comment on a culture that he/she is not even part of or knew it's exsistance?' I can talk Banaban, Koasrae and even Kiribati culture because I'm part of all the 3, now are these friends of yours part Banabans too? If the answer is 'NO' then this is where the 'attitude of domination' comes in as I've mentioned above, they are trying to convince you to believe that Banaban Identity don't exsist, thus my warning.
Our Banaban dancing is nothing new to a true Banaban because we know what we are talking about. Banaban cultural dance has been part of Banaban culture since the early times of our Forefathers. The first written record of Banaban dancing ( te Karanga) was in 1910-1913 by Arthur Mahaffy (acting Resident commissioner on Banaba) see 'Te Rii ni Banaba page 86'. Even before the arrival of the Europeans, Te Aka clan had already evolved in their mythes and legends the exsistance of Banaban dance, see 'Te Rii ni Banaba page 53, tittled 'Swaying Tree Dance'. The dance that our young Banaban dancers are dancing now is a more modern version of Banaban dance created by Tawaka Tekenimatang (Banaban composer and choreographer) in the early 1950s on Rabi when he first formed a dancing group called 'Nei Katanoata' today renamed 'Banaban Dancing Group'. How do I know? Well I was member of the Banaban Dancing Group from 1971-1976, five years of Banaban cultural dance experience. Today, on Rabi this Banaban cultural dance is already part of Primary schools and High school cultural subject.
You are very true too when you mentioned Kiribati dance as being stiff and slow but now they are dancing almost like us, fast and active so if you look at my above comment I think you can see who owns the 'copyright' and who is the 'copycat'. They will copy all from us and then claim that it is their creation, a very good symptom of again wanting to 'dominate the lesser'. But don't worry for maybe we are not worriors but we are SURVIVERS, we will always survive no matter what as long as we uphold the TRUTH.
I think it is proper too to ask people who want to discuss anything Banaban if they have link to those issues or otherwise we might as well talk to a 'brick wall' meanning,' they will always deny Banaban Identity, whereas we will always uphold it. Don't forget that anything that is part of our culture ( like dancing) is also part of our Identity. Some people (nonBanabans) will create issues for us but again I say 'Don't be bothered'as our claims to our Identity (culture and customs) are well documented in 'Te Rii ni Banaba' history book, in the 'Banaban Settlement Act' under Fiji Laws in Fiji and in the 'Kiribati Constitution chapter 9' in the 'Kiribati Auti Ni Maungatabu' ( Kiribati House of Parliment) Tarawa.
Roba I think I better stop here or your computer will have a hard time downloading my facts and comments but you select the next dicussion and you and I will have fun in sorting it out. kee?
Regards to all at home.
Tia boo moa ao teke raoi.