Friday, June 17, 2011

What is a Pacific Islander?

Q. What is a Pacific Islander?

A. Pacific Islanders are individuals who trace all or some of their ancestry to the original people of any of the three major island groups in the Pacific: Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.

When using the term "Pacific Islander," we follow the U.S. government definition of "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander." This makes sense both because it's a consistent, commonly used definition, and because it allows us to accurately draw from data provided by the U.S. Census and other groups who use the same definition as the Census.

Pacific Islanders are recognized in federal policy as a unique, distinct racial group for the purpose of racial and ethnic data collection. They are one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States, and they live in every State of the Union. They include Pacific Islanders who are native to areas that are now part of the United States (Native Hawaiians from Hawaii, Samoans from American Samoa, and Chamorro from Guam), as well as others.

To break it down further, here is a list of Pacific Islander sub-groups, broken down by the three major island groups (according to the U.S. Census):
  • Polynesia: Examples include Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongan, Tahitian, Tokelauan, and other Polynesian.

  • Micronesia: Examples include Chamorro, Saipanese, Palauian, Carolinian, Kosraean, Pohnpeian, Chuukese, Marshallese, I-Kiribati, and other Micronesian.

  • Melanesia: Examples include Fijian, Papua New Guinean, Solomon Islander, Ni-Vanuatu, and other Melanesian.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hafa Adai Kawika.

Thank you for doing what you do for Pacific Islanders.

I noticed that you have used the term “Saipanese” as a Pacific Islander sub-group. I would just like to share with you that there is no such term. In the CNMI, the indigenous people are Chamorro & Carolinian. Si Yu'us ma'ase