Thursday, August 26, 2010

Resentment fear over Fiji nationality switch

26 AUgust 2010

The interim Fijian government has ordered the word "iTaukei" to replace "Fijian" in all written laws.

iTaukei means indigenous or native.

Fiji language experts are warning it could increase division.

Observers say its use could lead to resentment by indigenous Fijians.

Until now, "Fijian" as a term has excluded Indo-Fijians - who commentators say will welcome the change.

The purpose of the change, they say, is to try to make "Fijian" an inclusive terms for all citizens of Fiji, and "iTaukei" the term for indigenous people.

Dr Paul Geraghty, from the University of the South Pacific, says there was no groundswell movement to introduce the description.

"There certainly was no popular movement to introduce the word iTaukei to replace Fijian," the academic said.

"In a way, the rationale for this change is the perception among some of the Fijian Indian population who think that 'Fijian' should be a generic term for anybody who lives in Fiji, regardless of ethnicity."

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