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Nights of StorytellingA Cultural History of Kanaky-New Caledonia$
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Raylene Ramsay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832223

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832223.001.0001

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Origins and Orality

Origins and Orality

(p.13) Chapter One Origins and Orality
Nights of Storytelling
Raylene Ramsay
University of Hawai'i Press

The Kanak peoples of New Caledonia have transmitted their values, history, customs, relationships, and collective wisdom from generation to generation through their oral traditions. Kanak “myths,” or perhaps more accurately “historico-mythic stories,” explain such things as the creation of the world, the appearance of the first people, and the origins of clans and the larger groupings of clans known as chiefdoms, as well as the history of relationships between ancestors, spirits, totems (animals, plants, or rocks), clans, and specific locations in the landscape. There are as many myths or histories of origins as there are linguistic groups. Different versions of origin stories also exist in areas where people share the same language. This chapter presents three such stories: The Myth of Teê Kanake, The Beginning of the World, and The Story of Mount Mou and Mount Karikaté.

Keywords:   Kanak peoples, Kanak oral tradition, oral literature, New Caledonia, origin stories, myths

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