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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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Cultural Initiation

Cultural Initiation

(p.51) Chapter Three Cultural Initiation
Nights of Storytelling
Raylene Ramsay
University of Hawai'i Press

An important function of Kanak oral literature is to teach children about the constituent elements of the Kanak world. Stories explain natural phenomena and the supernatural realm; the organization of society (relationships between people and land); morality, values, and beliefs (such as respect for taboos on places or food), and rules of conduct (such as obedience, modesty, courage, love of family, and respect for elders). There is a great deal of variation in the relative content of the stories found in Kanaky/New Caledonia. Educational, aesthetic, and entertaining strands are intertwined to different degrees and woven together to create the genres and oral literatures integral to oral traditions. This chapter presents the following stories: Blind Dancer, The Child and His Grandmother, Tädo-Tädo, The Sparrowhawk and the Swallow, and Tibo and Her Child.

Keywords:   Kanak culture, oral tradition, oral literature, New Caledonia, supernatural beings, natural phenomena, morality

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