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Mothers' Darlings of the South PacificThe Children of Indigenous Women and U.S. Servicemen, World War II$
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Judith A. Bennett and Angela Wanhalla

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824851521

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824851521.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 26 March 2019

Marike Koe

Marike Koe

The American Children of the Cook Islands

(p.243) Chapter Ten Marike Koe
Mothers' Darlings of the South Pacific

Rosemary Anderson

University of Hawai'i Press

The friendly invasion of Aitutaki and Penrhyn (Tongareva) by U.S. military forces during WW11 was welcomed by the Cook Islands’ people as a time of security, employment and unforeseen prosperity. In spite of the racism and segregation they witnessed, Islanders welcomed both African-American and white servicemen, and friendships developed between people of all ages. The children born of romantic attachments remain as a legacy of that time, and while growing up, they often heard “Marike koe” (you are American). This label was a constant reminder of difference, but seldom held negative connotations. Attitudes generally reflected the debt of gratitude felt toward the Americans, and most war babies were cherished and accepted. Nevertheless, many had a deep need to learn more of their American identity. This chapter recalls life in the Islands during wartime and reflects on the lifelong realities of being raised as an American child of the Cook Islands.

Keywords:   Cook Islands, Aitutaki, Penrhyn, Tongareva, African-American, racism, identity, gratitude, friendship, difference

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