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Tikopia of Melanesia Krishawn Smith Ant 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Instructor Shaun Sullivan July 8, 2011 Tikopia of Melanesia is an island of people set in the Polynesia Island chain called the Solomon Islands. The Tikopian Island is at the eastern most point of the chain of islands that sets in the South Pacific, and is set high as most Polynesian Islands, because it set in the remnants of an inactive volcano.

The climate is one that is tropical and the island experiences two distinct weather seasons, one characterized by hot and humid days October through March, and the other April through September displays cooler, overcast, and rainy days With a population of approximately 1,200 on the island; there are also people of Tikopia that inhibit other islands in the chain. Although Tikopia is set in Melanesia, it is linguistically and culturally a Polynesian island.As a horticultural society the Tikopian people produce their own foods by cultivating crops and generally fishing, because there are little to no animals on the island. Food in this tropical climate yielded lots of vegetation such as: yams, taro, coconut, vegetables and fruit which were yielded in great quantities. The surrounding sea is a good source of food as well; with its abundance of shellfish and fish. Fowl and pigs were raised as well.According to anthropological studies conducted by Raymond Firth, and other anthropologist during the 19th and 20th centuries the social organization, kinship, and cultural and religious beliefs are as important to the distinction of the Tikopian people as the distinction of the several islands that make up Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and the Solomon Islands respective.

Tikopias unique culture and ability to be a unadulterated culture in which no western influence was able to penetrate until well after the World War I, and was able to contain its pure influence that is contained in itself.The following is a brief overview of the structure of the Tikopian culture and the general way of life. “The Tikopians are distributed into 21 villages located along the coastline. No particular settlement pattern characterizes these villages, nor are there any village headmen. Village households are most frequently composed of a single nuclear family, but households comprising extended families or nuclear families plus other kin are also common. The village is an important unit in cooperative economic activities.The 21 villages are divided into two major social-geographical districts, named Ravenga, and Faea.

Relations between villages of the same district are characterized by mutual interest and cooperation for the most part. In contrast, relations between villages of different districts are marked by rivalry and hostility. Village and district distinctions are cross-cut by a system of four principal kin groups, which Firth (1936, 1959) calls “patrilineal clans. ” The “clans” are further segmented into patrilineages. Clans” are not localized; each has members in both districts and in many or most of the villages. But nearly every village has a preponderance of households of one “clan,” which is the politically and ritually dominant group in that village. Integrated with this system of kin and local groups is a strongly developed status system, which, when expressed in a political form, constitutes a rank structure with chiefs at its apex.

Patrilineages are headed by chiefs (maru), who are usually the most senior men in the direct lines of descent from the lineage ancestors.Lineage heads have important political, ritual, and economic functions, but more important are the “clan” chiefs (ariki). Succession to these offices is determined by primogeniture and direct descent from the common “clan” ancestor. Clan chiefs are the traditional political and ritual leaders of the “clan”; they theoretically own all the land, are key figures in production and distribution, and major agents of social control. Each chief has two sets of advisors, one for each ritual and secular affairs.As a result of missionary activities, the Tikopians have become Christianized, and ritual advisors are no longer important. Although the “clans” are hierarchically ranked, the chief of the highest ranked “clan” should be considered as “first among equals,” rather than as a true paramount chief.

Tikopian marriages are prohibited among relatives of the first degree of relationship according to their classificatory kin reckoning. Neither lineages nor “clans” function as exogamous units.People are divided into two classes, the chiefly class and the commoner class, according to lines of descent. Until recently, there was a preference for intra-class marriages, although this was not rigorously enforced. Polygyny is practiced, but monogamy is the prevalent form of marriage. Despite occasional separations of married couples, the Tikopians have no formal mechanisms for divorce. Delayed age of marriage for males, infanticide, and abortion are among the Tikopian practices that have traditionally functioned to control their population.

The aboriginal Tikopian religious system was oriented around rituals for various ancestors and gods, with the aim of obtaining such ends as favorable weather, crop productivity, success in fishing, and the curing of illness. The most important mediators between the Tikopians and the supernaturals were the “clan” chiefs, or ariki. An ariki was thought to derive his religious powers (manu) from the gods, and he served as a priest in important rituals involving joint participation of the Tikopian “clans” as well as the ritual for his own “clan. In addition, each lineage in a “clan” had a ritual elder (matapure or pure matua), appointed by the ariki, who dealt with lineage ritual (Firth 1970). Because of its remote and isolated location, Tikopia had few contacts with outside groups until well into the twentieth century. Tikopians occasionally visited other islands, but these trips were limited by the large distances and great hazards involved in canoe ocean voyages. Contacts by Westerners began sporadically around the beginning of the nineteenth century, but in 1927, when Firth did his initial fieldwork in Tikopia, the indigenous culture was largely intact.

The major contact agents were, first, missionaries and, later, labor recruiters. By the 1950s, all the Tikopians had become Christianized, and most of the native ritual practices had ceased. Much of the Tikopian life style has remained intact, but the forces of Westernization have been making inroads throughout the twentieth century. Raymond Firth is the major authority on Tikopian ethnography, having spent 12 months in 1928-29, ca. 5 months in 1952 and a short time in 1966 on the island.The only study of Tikopia previous to Firth’s was made in 1910 by the Reverend W. J.

Durrad, based on a stay of 2 months. ” Tikopias natural ability to be a self contained, self governed island culture that has been able to avoid the homogenization of Western influence until recent time shows that the subsistence in agriculture and the ability to control population , and patrilineal kinship lineages are cultural tradition that allow them to be one of the oldest civilization known to existence. References:

Insert surname1 Professor’s name Student’s name Course title Date Sometimes ethical egoism

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Sometimes ethical egoism may translate to the thesis that every person out to promote his or her own interests. One ought not pursue the interests of others or be concerned on the welfare of other individuals rather than pursuing their own interests. Whatever the action serves ones interests is also a morally right action. When people hear the word egoist, an ugly profile typically comes to their minds; untrustworthy, self-centered, callous and pitiless with respect to other people. However, some egoists are really like that, but also they don’t have to be like that way. At times, if one is out to maximize his or her own happiness, he or she may find out that not helping other people is the fastest and shortest path to what one wants. This is a very important point. Egoism does not mean one is against other people. It means one is for him or herself, but if helping others works for them, that are exactly what they will do. To be called selfish does not feel like a tribute, but this trait can make one a superior person, psychology professionals say. If people take care of themselves, they show up as healthy, grounded individuals in life.