This article seeks to describe and analyze the failure of the first Christian mission in Western Polynesia. Applying Victor Turner’s model of social drama, we deal with the early confrontations on the Tonga islands in the years 1797–1801. A complex of overlapping and interdependent social dramas is identified between different social categories: missionaries and Tongans, missionaries and beachcombers, and beachcombers and Tongans respectively. Moreover, there is a social drama between the renegade missionary Vason, who “went native,” and the other missionaries. This paper also includes a Tongan point of view on these confrontations.
This paper attempts to re-examine the concept of “nativistic movement” by analyzing the case of the Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) in the Solomon Islands. Criticism from Said’s Orientalism redirected the study of nativistic movements to overcome the binary opposition of “non-West” and “West.” Subsequently, anthropologists began to focus on “non-West” and “West” interaction and applied a universal meaning of “fundamentalism” in place of “nativistic movement.” The conventional research on CFC has followed the same academic trends as well. Although the CFC and fundamentalism are similar on the surface, their meanings of and attitudes toward “religious revival” differ. While fundamentalism originates in the history of Western Christianity, CFC doctrine elicits an opposition to Western society. In this paper, I show that the application of fundamentalism to socio-religious movements in the “non-West” conceals colonial inequality and underestimates the effect of colonialism.
This paper will focus on the circumstances surrounding the plan to build a local museum in an Aboriginal town in Arnhem Land, North Australia. To understand the situation, the author investigates changing relationships between indigenous people and mainstream museums, as well as historical changes in the realm of Aboriginal arts. This study will make clear the differences of conception concerning art and representation. Aboriginal paintings have become famous internationally for their unique style. At the same time, they retain their local religious and social functions in the context of rituals and ceremonies in Arnhem Land. The plan to create a local museum in which sacred paintings and other artifacts would be exhibited as aesthetic objects has created controversy in the area. In discussing this situation, the paper argues that there exists a difference in attitudes toward exhibiting or showing knowledge, as well as between the outsiders’ value of artistic excellence and the local value of clan mythology.
Very little is known about the nature of the first humans to occupy the western South Pacific islands, the so-called Lapita people. This is a final report on the osteological analysis of the skeleton named Mana, which was excavated at a Lapita Culture Complex site called Naitabale on Moturiki Island in central Fiji in 2002. The Mana skeleton was reasonably well preserved. The skull is without doubt the best preserved of the Lapita-associated human skeletons ever described. Its major parts were nearly intact and reconstructed to an almost complete state. The skeleton proved to be an approximately 40–60 year old female. Radiocarbon dating of bone from the skeleton, and other archaeological considerations, place the burial around the middle of the first millennium BC (around 700 BC). In the present paper, osteological features of the cranium, mandible and infracranial skeleton of Mana are described very precisely for detailed comparative studies in the future. The stature is estimated to be 161–164 cm, being quite tall for a female. Similar values were estimated for other prehistoric female skeletons in South Pacific regions such as Fiji, Polynesia and Micronesia. There is no doubt that the dental health status of Mana was poor, and she suffered heavily from a range of dental diseases, such as advanced dental caries, extreme tooth wear, periodontal disease and subsequent pre-mortem tooth loss. Her skeleton is robust and suggests she led a very physical life for an aged woman. Several cranial and mandible characteristics indicate some similarity between Mana and prehistoric Polynesian skeletons, but it is premature to discuss affinities with other skeletal series, so at present only very limited comparisons are possible. In any case, this new skeleton is very important to the study of the people who lived during the Lapita period in the South Pacific.