Navigating colonialism in three contexts: “cricket assumed a political importance”
This chapter surveys three colonial contexts to explore how Samoans used cricket and kirikiti to ‘navigate’ foreign colonialisms. It first focuses on the period before partition. With the three powers jostling for position, Samoans used cricket and kirikiti both to resist foreign interference and to ‘perform’ loyalty to British or German interests. It then examines how Samoans adapted this method to German rule, where increasingly centralised political control meant resistance was less common. Finally, the chapter turns to American naval rule, where resistance again largely gave way to accommodation; Samoan leaders and officials restricted kirikiti and used the game to entertain the Americans. Taken together, these responses show cricket and kirikiti were valuable and versatile tools for Samoans as they negotiated different foreign colonialisms.