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Pursuing Respect in the Cannibal IslesAmericans in Nineteenth-Century Fiji$
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Nancy Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501740343

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501740343.001.0001

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Chief of All the White Men

Chief of All the White Men


(p.76) Chapter 3 Chief of All the White Men
Pursuing Respect in the Cannibal Isles

Nancy Shoemaker

Cornell University Press

This chapter narrates David Whippy's turn away from dependence on Fijians as he engineered the emergence of an independent foreign community. Living in a Fijian village, dressing as a Fijian in wartime, and marrying Fijian women integrated Whippy into Fijian society but deceptively so since he retained a more profound loyalty to his own kind. As the number of foreigners in Fiji increased with each passing decade, he directed his energies toward meeting their needs. The relationships he formed with traders, missionaries, naval officers, and other beachcombers had at least three outcomes. His eagerness to help them earned him their accolades and gratitude. His efforts on others' behalf enabled them to fulfill their myriad intentions and make inroads on Fijian cultural and political autonomy from all directions. Lastly, his ties to other foreigners made him less dependent on Fijian patronage and fed the emergence of an independent enclave of “white men” at Levuka with Whippy as “their chief.” Indeed, he was commended for his usefulness and good character.

Keywords:   David Whippy, Fijians, foreign community, Fijian society, foreigners, Fiji, Fijian cultural autonomy, Fijian political autonomy

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