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The Fijian Understanding of the Deed of Cession Treaty of 1874

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Baledrokadroka, Joeli
Conference: Traditional Lands in the Pacific Region: Indigenous Common Property Resources in Convulsion or Cohesion
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Conf. Date: September 7-9, 2003
Date: 2003
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1151
Sector: Social Organization
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): IASC
indigenous institutions
land tenure and use--history
customary law
Abstract: "Fiji became a British Colony in 1874, an Independent Sovereign Democratic State in 1970 and a Sovereign Democratic Republic in 1988 when it relinquished all ties to the Queen of England. What does the ordinary Fijian understand about the Deed of Cession? "The purpose of my paper is to examine whether current Fijian Legislations and Policies have reflected and honoured the spirit of the 1874 Deed of Cession under which Fiji was ceded to Great Britain. I will attempt to show that Fijians have been under the mistaken belief that their customary and sovereignty were taken by the Deed of Cession Treaty, and returned to them in 1970, when in fact they have never been extinguished. "The decolonisation process in Fiji needs to be contextualised against the background of the creation of the United Nations and the Self Determination Conventions and Declarations as well as the rise of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Structural Adjustment Programmes as a means of promoting development which has in turn compounded the problems of Fiji, arising from the Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB) governance system. "This paper will illustrate how the legacy of extractive colonial capitalism, decolonisation, development strategies and globalisation - distorted tradition and created a colonial institution such as the NLTB, as a decolonisation strategy that has not delivered: leaving ordinary indigenous Fijians disenfranchised and impoversished."

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