Indigenous struggle through changing waves

February 27, 2024 6:30 am

The move to truly fulfill and implement the need for iTaukei development and its culture by law at the national level should start with those in power.

This has been highlighted by University of the South Pacific iTaukei scholar Sekove Bigitibau based on the urgent need to protect the iTaukei traditional knowledge practices and pass them on to future generations.

He says that though Fiji is a multi-racial country, every indigenous Fijian should take the initiative to protect their own language and culture.

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“If we need to speak the language in public and do all government agreements and documents in iTaukei, then those in power should make a move. The delay is only caused by us because we tend to think about other races but ignore our own.”

Bigitibau says that for other races, if they lose their language or culture, they can trace it back to its roots and revive it, unlike Fijians, whose language is lost forever.

“Look at bigger countries like Japan, China, Korea, and France; they use their own language at the government level, and foreigners have to learn the language in order to understand and survive in their countries. You see, it makes them stronger as individuals and as a country. Fiji is no different if we work the talk.”

Local iTaukei craftsman Mosese Cama adds that the majority of the natives could not maintain their culture because of Westernization.

Urging every Fijian to never be ashamed of their language and culture because it is their identity.

Meanwhile, the Great Council of Chiefs, being the highest authority for indigenous Fijians’ welfare at the national level, will now be part of the decision-making process for iTaukei community-related issues, policies, and developments before it is taken to cabinet.

The GCC is scheduled to meet this Wednesday and Thursday in Pacific Harbour.