How people identify in Fiji is divided into numerous groups
and the definition and terms of these identities is hotly debated. For those who
identify in political terms, which is somewhat rare, the term "Fijian"
is used. For people who identify in this political sense the definition is almost
wholly based on citizenship, but national ceremonies and sports teams also unite
the people to a vast degree. For those who identify in terms of their ethnicity,
which is the bulk of the population, the terms used are debated. Among these people
are ethnic Fijians, ethnic Indians born in Fiji, ethnic Indians who have immigrated
to Fiji, and sub-Indian groups like the Gujarati and Punjabi.
For the ethnic Indians, the Gujarati and Punjabi are the two most easily recognizable
groups as they cling to their ethnicity, language, religion, dress, and foods as
they identify much as their ancestors in Gujarat and Punjab (both in
India) identify. The India-born Indians often are referred to, and identify
as "Indian" (if they don't identify in a more specific way like the
Gujarati and Punjabi). Again, these immigrants often cling to their historic roots
and maintain their native languages, foods, and dress. The last, and the largest
of these groups, is the ethnic Indians who were born in Fiji.
There is no good term or identity for these people as numerous options exist, but
none are universally accepted. Generally these people's identity is based on
the fact that they are ethnically Indian, but they have adopted many Fijian aspects
of life and the culture surrounding them is based on the Indian melting pot in Fiji,
which combines multiple religions, castes, ethnicities, and languages.
The ethnic Fijians often identify as being "Fijian," but this term can
also be used to describe citizenship so there is some confusion in the use of the
term. Some people prefer the term "iTaukei" which is another name for
the Fijian language and is attached to native speakers of this language. No matter
what name is used for this identity, for these people, their identity is truly based
on their language, culture, ethnicity, the land, their religion, and even the social
and political structure (but no attached to any particular political belief of political