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Chagossians Twice Forgotten: Exile In The Seychelles

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Chapter Summary

In September 1971, two months after the opening of the Seychelles International Airport, cargo ships began arriving in the Seychelles packed not with tourists but with people forcibly removed from the Chagos archipelago. With no choice to remain in their homeland, most of the Chagossians decided to go to Mauritius. To the extent that there has been any attention paid to the islanders' exile - which was systematically hidden from the world by the US and UK governments - most studies have focused on the group in Mauritius. Exiled in the Seychelles, Chagossians have, like those in Mauritius, found themselves impoverished - economically, socially, psychologically, physically - relative to their old lives, to their Seychellois neighbours, and to people in the UK. The chapter discussing the experiences of Chagossians in Mauritius, anthropologist Elizabeth Colson has described how home and a familiar environment generally provide a refuge that is crucial to people's sense of self and identity.

Keywords: Chagossians; Elizabeth Colson; Mauritius; Seychelles; UK government



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