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Ethnicity, nationality, and the rights of indigeneity: the case of Rotumans in Fiji

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On 13 July 2000, Interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase presented to the Great Council of Chiefs in Fiji a document titled ‘Blueprint for the protection of Fijian & Rotuman rights and interests, and the advancement of their development,’ a set of proposals that covered ‘issues which have been of great concern to Fijians and Rotumans regarding the security of their rights and interests as the indigenous communities in Fiji, and also the advancement and acceleration of their development, so that they can participate on an equitable basis in the progress of our country’ (Qarase, 2000b). This paper presents an analysis of a challenge to the grouping of Rotumans with Fijians as indigenes under the Blueprint, and Rotuman responses to arguments denying their indigeneity.
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Keywords: Fiji Indians; Fijians; Rotumans; indigeneity; race relations; racism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Honolulu, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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