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Traditional Micronesian SocietiesAdaptation, Integration, and Political Organization in the Central Pacific$
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Glenn Petersen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832483

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832483.001.0001

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Some Exceptions to the Pan-Micronesian Patterns

Some Exceptions to the Pan-Micronesian Patterns

(p.213) Chapter 9 Some Exceptions to the Pan-Micronesian Patterns
Traditional Micronesian Societies

Glenn Petersen

University of Hawai'i Press

Certain aspects of society and culture in Kiribati, Nauru, Yap, and the Marianas differ markedly from the rest of Micronesia, This chapter examines some of these telling divergences. For instance, the greatest factor shaping the ways in which Kiribati differs from the rest of Micronesia is probably the impact of the Polynesian influences it has experienced. Unlike the rest of the region, it borders immediately on Polynesia, but of greater significance is the apparent migration of or conquest by a group of “Samoans” several hundred years before European contact. The classic meetinghouse (maneaba) system of sociopolitical organization is quite similar to the Samoans’ fono system, and this in turn has shaped many other facets of life in the islands. Nauru’s differences seem to be primarily a consequence of the geographical isolation of the island and the strong equatorial countercurrent streaming past it, which makes ocean voyaging nearly impossible. The shared Micronesian pattern of dispersed clans does not seem to be matched on Nauru by the pattern of localized matrilineages.

Keywords:   society, culture, Kiribati, Nauru, Yap, Marianas, Micronesia

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