Oral Traditions of Anuta: A Polynesian Outlier in the Solomon Islands

By Richard Feinberg | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter 1
1.
As a result, Tikopia ( Firth 1936, 1959, 1961, [ 1939] 1965, 1967a, [ 1939] 1967b, 1970, 1985, 1991, and elsewhere ) and Bellona, studied by Torben Monberg and his colleagues (e.g., Elbert and Monberg 1965; Kuschel 1988 Monberg 1991, 1996;), have come to be among the world's best documented small-scale societies.
2.
In 1978, the former British Solomon Islands Protectorate became an independent member of the British Commonwealth. The nearest populated island to Anuta is Tikopia, another Polynesian outlier 75 miles to the southwest; beyond that lie the predominantly Melanesian islands of the Santa Cruz group. Anuta's nearest neighbor to the east is Rotuma, 500 miles away, and then the Tongan and Samoan archipelagoes. Between 600 and 700 miles to the northeast is Tuvalu, and about the same distance to the southeast is Fiji.
3.
See Feinberg ( 1986, 1990b, 1996a, n.d.c). In this sense, Anutans are like the Kwaio of Malaita ( Keesing 1982, 1992), but they are more remote and culturally distinctive in the Solomon Islands context. Unlike many Kwaio, Anutans are not avowedly pagan, but they retain many pagan beliefs and practices (see Feinberg 1995, 1996b). Nor did they ever suffer the severe military repression experienced by the Kwaio as well as many other Pacific island communities. Tikopia is similar to Anuta both culturally and in its relationship to external authorities (cf. Firth 1969). However, Tikopians have begun to compromise on questions of sovereignty, agreeing during the late 1980s to send a representative to the Provincial Assembly.
4.
For example, see Radcliffe-Brown ( 1952) repudiation of "conjectural history."
5.
Much recent discussion of this topic has gone under the headings "politics of culture" and "invention of tradition" (e.g., Keesing and Tonkinson 1982; Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983; Keesing 1989, 1991; Linnekin 1983, 1991a, 1991b, 1992; Handler and Linnekin 1984; Trask 1991; Jolly and Thomas 1992; Feinberg 1994; Feinberg and Zimmer-Tamakoshi 1995). Over the past century, scholars have interpreted oral traditions in terms of assorted psychological, functional, structural, symbolic, and political pressures. Thus, Freud and his followers have seen tales as representing subconscious conflicts and desires, often of a sexual nature. Malinowski ([ 1926] 1954) held that myths and other tales are charters, underpinning a variety of social institutions. Lévi-Strauss (e.g., [ 1958] 1963, [ 1964], 1969, [ 1966] 1973, [ 1968] 1979) and his supporters (e.g.,

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