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I will argue, however, that to wander, or uruur, is considered an improper form of movement mainly because it occurs in public and nonkin places and especially because every place on Satowan is intimately tied to a clan or lineage. Thus the distinctions between those who move and stay concern boundaries that are ongoing and negotiable and do not easily correspond to rural and urban dichotomies or temporary and permanent migration.

In the study of ethnic identity, much criticism of anthropology lies on the emphasis on cultural phenomena and tradition as critical elements that make for a descriptive rather than an analytic account. Such definitions assume that boundary maintenance is unproblematic by depicting small communities or villages as closed systems unaffected by events either in their own nations or in the wider settings. Anthropologists steeped in micro-observational fieldwork often take a corresponding methodological approach which tends to focus on the community as a coherent and independent entity.

The Ulithians have strong proscribed roles, according to Lessa, as agriculturalists and fishermen. Daily work is clearly delineated for each gender; land is never privately owned it belongs to matrilineal lineages ; the political structure is contained mostly within the village council; and social control is practiced through public opinion, gossip, and ridicule.

Putting forth these aspects of society, I argue, has indirectly compounded notions of immobility and of island societies as immobile. By this Goodenough meant that even when census data indicate a pattern of residence, additional sociological and cultural information is needed to indicate whether a couple was actually living patrilocally, matrilocally, or avunculocally, which Goodenough later addressed in Cooperation and Change Borthwick later footnotes that the category of close kinsmen is not precisely defined and depends on sociological as well as biological factors.

By this, I assume, the author is suggesting that an interpretation in addition to, or beyond kinship, would better describe particular aspects of socialization rather than an over reliance on the rules of behavior based on kinship. In addition to an anthropological emphasis on kinship, accounts of a thriving matriliny also imply immobility. For instance, there has been a tendency to romanticize the image of women as rooted, circumscribed, or coherent.

As Thomas , 67—68 writes, female mobility is circumscribed by their most immediate surroundings, namely, their sleeping house, their cookhouse, their gardens, and the periphery of their natal island. The special relations of women with their brothers also makes them appear to be immobile. According to Marshall , the brother-sister tie, or in his words the cross-sibling set, is a fundamental building block of the society.

Males operate in the public domain. And a final, though not contending view—one that is unrepresented in the Micronesian literature—looks at the effects of matriliny in the face of change and modernization. Following this line of thought, where is there mention in studies of Micronesian societies of the economic role of women, or at least the indirect role that women may play in the mobility of their husbands or their sons to urban centers?


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Still further, what are the characteristics of educated women, firstborn women, or women in declining households and how do these features affect their mobility? What further are the scrutinizing remarks made by others when women are uncharacteristically mobile? Thus, when anthropologists tie matriliny too closely with genealogy and rules of kinship, they remain silent about the important question of how a culture integrates mobility. In essence, the view that island societies are considered unproblematic, small, and isolated also reinforces the myth of the idyllic rural past and an anti-urban bias.

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Movement, therefore, is considered to be mostly permanent with a somewhat schizophrenic message that movement is pragmatic though counter to tradition. The possibility, always present, of moving on again, from the district center to someplace in the world, holds for many individuals enough promise to keep them from returning to their outer island homes ever again to stay.

Similarly, Borthwick , 9 states, Traditional kin-based systems of old age support appear threatened by rapid economic and demographic changes that have led many young persons to seek education, employment and excitement in the port towns on the larger island. Most of these young people leave elderly relatives behind in the small outer island communities, and little is known of how this affects the aged. The tendency to view the urban setting in the Pacific as corrosive has much to do with how anthropologists view urban situations after a prolonged experience in rural, often isolated settings.


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  • Thus, anthropologists have a tendency to write about kinship in the city rather than the cityness of urban kinship Leeds Or, as Friedl and Chrisman , 13 further describe, Located in a village, an anthropologist who found that a large proportion of the population was migrating to urban centers was tempted to follow them. But in studying urban immigrants, the anthropologist already had a preconceived notion of what he would find, based upon his experience in the rural hinterland.

    His research usually was designed to explain why he did or did not find a breakdown in rural culture, but in either case the research plan was set up in terms of that rural culture. There was little rephrasing of questions about rural traditions to fit the new urban context; as a result, many of the early works appear to be extensions of village studies rather than separate urban studies with their own methodology and theoretical approach. Many of the above criticisms, however, are directed to the more classical anthropology but it is this tradition that is more firmly fixed in the literature of Micronesia.

    As societies have become more modernized and urbanized, we begin to see a shift by anthropologists from a nativist sentiment to an analysis of the cognitive nature of ethnic phenomena. Fredrik Barth, who most anthropologists in Micronesia credit as the most sophisticated analyst of the ethnic cognitive dimension, defines ethnicity as the product of social ascriptions, a kind of labeling process engaged in by oneself and others; however, as the individual or group moves through daily life, the ethnicity can change according to variations in the situations and audiences encountered.

    For many Pacific societies, the discussion of self, the ethnic self, and the social self involves identities that are shaped by environmental forces such as groups, land, food, and spirits.

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    Patterns of ethnic relations seem to be determined both by notions of personhood that acknowledge the importance of environmental contributions and by the conditions that govern relationships such as cultural and social performances rather than biological or racial assets being emphasized. The centrality of personhood is attributed to small-scale communities where interdependence in face-to-face relations is intensive. In the Pacific Islands, the blurring of modern and traditional and the study of ethnic consciousness as an appropriate form of collective identity led Linnekin and Poyer to conclude that although possessing genealogical links are powerful badges of identity, appropriate social behavior is what ultimately constitutes identity.

    For example, dance performances encoded with messages about the kind of people the Pulapese are assert a symbol of strength and worthiness in the modern world. At the same time, the Pulapese have cast the dominant group into a role of Westernized, a self-image that has distinctive advantages for Pulapese people. The Beginning of a Shared Identity As already noted, the origins of a Mortlockese identity on Weno can be traced to a shared history and ancestry. The Mortlocks, with a total land area of around 4. Satowan Atoll is also known as Nomoi.

    Also, within the Chuuk State Legislature, there are a total of six representatives for the entire Mortlocks: two from each of the three precincts. Currently, there is one representative from Satowan. There are also two senators for the entire Mortlocks voted by a general election; however, the current incumbents are not from Satowan but from Etal and Losap.

    Again, the incumbent is from Etal. Catholicism came almost immediately with the arrival of the German Capuchin on Lukunor. The Mortlocks also share a history of disturbing encounters with foreigners. The Australian blackbirding vessel the Carl took islanders to Fiji for slave labor in the early s.

    Around this time, another German vessel recruited laborers for plantation work on Samoa. Additionally, the people of the Mortlocks were moved about according to the interests of colonial administrations. Whereas the Spaniards placed most of their efforts in the Marianas and essentially ignored Chuuk, the Germans — took a larger economic interest and moved islanders to serve the copra trade, operating under the Jaluit Gessellschaft, and to labor phosphate mines on Nauru and Angaur Palau.

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    After the typhoon, several hundred Mortlockese were resettled by the Germans to Sokehs Pohnpei while others were sent to islands in the Chuuk Lagoon and Saipan. Like the Germans before them, the Japanese banned inter-atoll canoeing, citing the difficulty and expense of looking for lost natives at sea. In reality, it served the colonial interests to restrict movement and require natives to pay for boat transportation.

    In addition, a regular schedule of inter-island shipping and a public school system was built on Oneop. A few who completed schooling, continued at a two-year school on Tonoas previously Dublon studying math and the Japanese language.

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    A select few of these graduates went on to attend carpentry school in Palau. By , however, nearing World War II, those from the Mortlocks were moved about to suit the needs of war preparations. Many able-bodied men from various places in the Mortlocks were forced to serve in the construction of an airfield on Satowan now lined with bomb holes, see map 3.

    The people of the Mortlocks also have historical relationships based on warfare that occurred until the nineteenth century and on material exchange such as the formalized island-to-island food exchange held after land taboos. Lastly, there are also names describing traditional ties between islands in the Lagoon and the Mortlocks.

    The Mortlockese on Weno In more contemporary times, an ethnic identity as Mortlockese becomes increasingly pronounced through experiences with the people of Weno, the Chuukese, and through interactions with other migrant Mortlockese. Weno lies in what is known as the Chuuk Lagoon, a thirty- to forty-milewide lagoon enclosing volcanic or high islands see map 1.

    Weno is the original site of the earliest trading stations during the German administration.

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    Under the Japanese era, Dublon now Tonoas , located south of Weno, was favored for its deeper anchorages. Weno contains two island groups: Faichuk in the west and Namoneas in the east. This area is further divided into three political groups: the Northern Namoneas, which contains Weno; the Southern Namoneas, where the former center, Tonoas, rests; and Faichuk. Weno is the administrative and commercial center for Chuuk State see map 1. It is heavily populated—over fourteen thousand people living on about 7.

    The majority of people living on Weno are the original inhabitants and others from the Chuuk Lagoon. Many come to Weno in search of wage-earning jobs and to frequent the only hospital, which sits in the main administrative center, Nantaku. On any given day, the only airport, which is perched on the northwestern side of the island, is bustling with people bidding or welcoming their relatives, carrying goods and messages, exchanging gossip, or gawking at some conspicuous returnee strutting in jewelry and stylish clothing.

    Weno also has a large harbor, private and public schools, government housing, administrative offices, a radio and telecommunication center, several banks, and the only post office. There are also numerous video rentals, hotels, bars, coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants. Most of the Mortlockese Mochulok people living elsewhere can be found on Weno. According to the census, there are nearly 7, Mortlockese living on Weno FSM ; however, it is difficult to determine the accuracy of this count since this is a highly fluid population. The first wave of Mortlockese to the urban center began in the s.

    Then in the s, due primarily to the U. Increasingly, wage jobs and the pursuit of higher education became the most pertinent considerations as well as the attractions of urban ways of life. Also noted by several anthropologists studying the Mortlocks is the intense population growth on atoll communities Marshall ; Nason ; Reafsnyder and the increased number of exogamous marriages with people on Weno, which, in turn, led to further out-migration Marshall ; Reafsnyder The Mortlockese, for example, share many of the characteristics attributed to another set of outer island people from the Western Islands Namonpattiw , the Pulapese, who have also settled in areas in Iras Weno.

    Flinn describes the Pulapese identity to include humility, respectfulness, modesty, cooperation, and generosity. Like the Pulapese, the Mortlockese consider themselves to be more distinctively traditional than the Lagoon Chuukese and pride themselves on living largely in a subsistence life style. The people from the Mortlocks also consider themselves to act more Christian, especially noting that Christianity was brought to Chuuk Lagoon from the Mortlocks.