Judging by some of the submissions to that mobile constitution group listening to the grief, stories, and occasional rants, it is clear that many people think the word 'Fijian' is specific to the indigenous people of Fiji and not inclusive of people in Fiji from other cultural groups. And in letters to the editor of the Fiji Times, one writer, Kolinio Meo, gives his view. This is a separate issue from identity as a citizen of Fiji because a multicultural society is fine and people from various cultural groups are part of Fiji society.
For a better Fiji
AREKI Dawai's longish narration on the above topic, as published in your paper's Opinion column (FT 6/10/12) is outrageous to a native Fijian.
His message is nothing more than an attempt to garble the issue of the use of the common name Fijian to all Fiji's citizens, in the hope of creating a better Fiji. Firstly, Fiji had already got a common name, legitimately approved by a democratically elected government, after much consultation; and the name Fiji Islander is already in use.
The question is, "Since the promulgation of that name, has this country developed into a better nation?
Definitely not. If it has not, then, what guarantee will the name Fijian for all its citizens achieve the desired result?
Secondly, this common name has nothing to do with ones religious beliefs, or Captain Cook's use of the word Feejee or A D Patel's wish etc. as garbled by Dawai. It, however, has a lot to do with the native Fijians, who whether their ancestors had the choice or not, were being Christened with the name Fijian.
They weren't named as the iTaukei or Taukei, as the word is an adjective with incomplete meaning.
The word is normally referred to a hierarchy in the chiefly household, for example, Taukei Naua, a chief in Saunaka, Nadi etc.
The word Fijian depicts the historical identity and sovereignty of the natives on their heritage and birthright in Fiji.
Every history book, documents, legal declarations etc. carry this protection and distinction, just as the word Indians for everyone whose ancestors were from India or Chinese from China. These were codified into legal declarations and documents in Fiji, Great Britain and elsewhere.
To temper with or varying this identity is tantamount to the desecration alienation of the native Fijians heritage and birthright. Let us keep the name Fiji Islander for every citizen, as it had not interfered with any society in Fiji, especially the native Fijians.