The Twice-Migrants: Origins of the Indo-Fijian American Identity in the East Bay (CA)

This thesis examines the origins and the experience of the identity of twice migrants: the Indo-Fijians of California, more specifically of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay area, who left Fiji between the years of 1950 and 2000. The complexity of the Indo-Fijian history and their growing number in the East Bay calls for a more in-depth study of the group and its history, and in the context of transmigration and global migration systems. The following research, through personal, telephone, email, and questionnaire interviews with first generation and 1.5 generation of Indo-Fijian Americans in the East Bay, attests that, although the Indo-Fijians suffered many hardships when they migrated to California, especially in terms of legal barriers, many have established themselves well in the United States. The story of Indo-Fijian Americans reveals that identity is formed through lived experiences and for many finding "home" doesn’t only span oceans but sometimes generations as well. Thus, the Indo-Fijians in California are best understood as "twice-migrants" – a migrating people who have adopted two different identities far removed from their place of origin: as "Indo-Fijians" and then as "Indo-Fijian Americans."