Pacific Islanders

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  • Pacific Islanders represent many nationalities in the South Pacific, Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. For many years, the U.S. Census Bureau and the federal government categorized Pacific Islanders as Asians, despite few cultural or ethnic similarities between the two groups. In 2000, for the first time, the Census included the category “Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander,” representing people of Hawaiian, Guamanian, Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, and Australian and New Zealand origin. Because Pacific Islanders have been thus categorized, despite their diversity in ancestry, they have acquired a collective pan-Pacific identity. However, Pacific Islanders, individually and as a group, have had little political influence in the United States; the political influence they have had has been mostly in the American West, such as in Hawai'i, California, and ...

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