Marshallese culture


Marshallese culture

Under Marshallese culture land is a focal point for social organization in this island nation.

All Marshallese have land rights as part of a clan, or jowi, that owes allegiance to an Iroij (chief), is supervised by the Alap (clan head), and supported by the Rijerbal (workers). The Iroij have ultimate control of such things as land tenure, resource use and distribution, and dispute settlement. The Alap supervises the maintenance of lands and daily activities. The Rijerbal are responsible for all daily work on the land including cleaning, farming, and construction activities. The society is matrilineal and, therefore, land is passed down from generation to generation through the mother. With the land to tie families together into clans, family gatherings tend to become big events. One of the most significant family events is the kemem, or first birthday of a child, where relatives and friends come together to celebrate with feasting and song.

Although English is an official language and is spoken widely, though not fluently, Marshallese is used by the government.

Although now in decline, the Marshallese were once able navigators, using the stars and stick and shell charts. They are also experienced in canoe building and still hold annual competitions involving the unique oceanic sailing canoe, the proa.

Unique to the Marshall Isles is the Proa (from Perahu - boat). It was made entirely of teak panels tied together with palm rope and chinked with same. The sail was also woven from palm fronds. This outrigger was a very large inter-island freighter. (pictoral available from Bishop Museum Archives, Honolulu - Herman Stoipe)

The Marshall Islands have no known copyright legislation, which is unusual compared to most other countries.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ [1]



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