Indigenous inhabitants of the Melanesia area include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (including West Papuan, Malukunesse, and other provinces), New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. Greek terms melas, which means “Black,” and neosi, which means “islands,” are combined to form the name “Melanesia.”
The light complexion and straight or wavy hair are the stereotypes of Pacific Islanders. However, not all of them appear that way. Read how Cyndi Makabory tells about being West Papuan pride.
West Papuan’s Pride in Being Melanesians
Cyndi Makabory, a climate change activist, is presently based in Melbourne, Australia. However, she is from West Papua, a Melanesian island engaged in a 60-year conflict with Indonesian armed forces over sovereignty.
This activist was raised in Australia as an Indigenous Papuan woman and never experienced any pressure from her relatives to dislike her physical characteristics.
Cyndi didn’t experience microaggressions as a Black Melanesian woman until she started attending school in a predominantly white environment. She was uncomfortable with what her peers did to her, even though she did not encounter any forms of bullying.
When she was in high school, she recalls several of her white classmates frequently touching her hair without her consent. They also commenting that it reminded them of a poodle. When they return from their summer vacations and have developed a tan, they could also say something like, “I’m almost as dark as you.”
She frequently believes that she must work twice as hard to stand out at work and even in her romantic relationships.Some believe that the color of her skin determines her worth as a person.
From Climate Change to Human Rights Issues
Despite living in Melbourne, Australia, Cyndi will never forget her roots as a West Papua people. She was the rally’s opening speaker in October 2019 due to climate change. She had also discussed climate change’s impact on her area and West Papua, which she still referred to as her “homeland.”
Climate change issues are related to human rights concerns. Cyndi has continued her mother’s advocacy since ecological exploitation is tearing apart many homelands.
Cyndi also spoke on the tragedy of police brutality in the USA, which claimed the life of George Floyd and gave rise to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, in June 2020, in the middle of the first year of the Covid-19 epidemic. Additionally, the hashtag spurred Indonesians to use the hashtag #PapuanLivesMatter.
Cyndi on Indigenous West Papuans
In her speech, Cyndi also emphasized the significance of all indigenous West Papua people, including men and women, being proud of their ethnicity, skin color, and cultural history.
That month, her speech had gone viral, motivating her fellow citizens always to be proud of who they are and speak out for themselves. That demonstrated her support for all black people, especially her West Papuan brothers and sisters.
Cyndi appeals to both more significant Pacific Islander and non social media platform to give Black Islanders’ voices more prominence.
People outside of the South Pacific must understand that Melanesian women are Black Islanders from that region, that we exist, and that our voices, lives, and experiences count.
Cyndi wants to see a certain degree of mental decolonization among Pacific Islanders. It is to eliminate the fabricated gap between Polynesians and Melanesians. According to the author, Polynesians are drawn to whiteness, which could cause them to be prejudiced against Black people.
Cyndi Makabory is still making progress in her fight against climate change. She should keep encouraging other native West Papuans to be proud of who they are as a group.