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Mothers' Darlings of the South PacificThe Children of Indigenous Women and U.S. Servicemen, World War II$
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Judith A. Bennett and Angela Wanhalla

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824851521

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824851521.001.0001

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Kai Merika!

Kai Merika!

Fijian Children of American Servicemen

Chapter:
(p.183) Chapter Seven Kai Merika!
Source:
Mothers' Darlings of the South Pacific
Author(s):

Jacqueline Leckie

Alumita Durutalo

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824851521.003.0008

Personal narratives here discuss children born to American servicemen in Fiji, often called Kai Merika. Their mothers were indigenous Fijian (i-Taukei) or of mixed ethnic descent (Kailoma). We explore culturally embedded silences, family secrets and other social and structural factors surrounding the ambivalent acceptance of these children. The chapter also sheds light on women’s roles and experiences during World War II and the efforts by their children to trace their fathers. The legacy of being Kai Merika has implications for identity within contemporary Fiji.

Keywords:   Fiji, i-Taukei, Kailoma, ‘mixed-race,’ Kai Merika, paternity, silence, secrecy, prostitution, women’s work, ethnicity

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