Also known as: Seniang; Mewun; Laus

“No district names have been recorded for the south coast to the east of Hurtes, but all the available evidence points to the conclusion that though there are dialectic differences between one place and another, all the people living in the Maskelynes and the coastal islands south of an imaginary line drawn from South-West Bay to Port Sandwich have, or had, fundamentally the same culture, a culture which marks them off distinctily from the bush folk of the interior, and which differs in certain respect from that of the east coast.” (Deacon, 1934, p 9).

Show Map of Location

Traditional Culture(1870-1895)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 44-45
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 44-45
Ancestral spirits Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 46, 558
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 44-45, 45, 558
God(s) Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 44-45

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 45

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 518-563
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 518-563
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 589-591
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 589-591
Culture hero(es) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 46, 617

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 663

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 85
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 641
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 273-274

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
Ethnologue (Map of Vanuatu) (2014)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934)
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 231-697
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 48, 53
Pernet (1982)
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 48, 53, 640, 664, 693-694

Rites

Piercing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 243
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 244
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Deacon (1934)
Tattooing Absent from culture (Source)
Deacon (1934)
Tooth pulling Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 145
Social Environment +
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 47-48, 53, 71
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 52
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 52
Kinship system Crow (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 165
Polygamy Full polygyny (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 165
Deacon (1934), pp. 140-141, 213
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 165

Conflict

Conflict within communities Low (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 165, 212
Conflict between communities of the culture Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 52-53, 212-213
Conflict with other cultures Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 224
Levinson (1991), pp. 166
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 5-6
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 5-6
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 6963.1 (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 9, 11
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000)
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000)
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 164
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172, 193, 198
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172-176
Land-based gathering Minor (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172-210, 175-176
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172, 192
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172, 192

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172, 189-191
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172-212
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 172, 189-191

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Minor (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 202
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 9

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -16.5 (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 9, 11
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 167.5 (Source)
Deacon (1934), pp. 9, 11
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Malekula) (2014)
Island Size (km²) 2023.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Malekula) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 879.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Malekula) (2014)
Post Contact History(1895-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 164
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 164
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 164, 166
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 166
Immigration Absent (Source)
Vanuatu National Statistics Office (2009), pp. 28
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 165
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Vanuatu) (2014)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely voluntary (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 164
Loss of political autonoomy Medium (Source)
Larcom (1991), pp. 164, 166
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Vanuatu National Statistics Office (2009), pp. 35
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Deacon, A. B. (1934). Malekula: A Vanishing People in the New Hebrides. London, England: George Routledge and Sons.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Malekula) (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/359493/Malakula

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Vanuatu). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/623102/Vanuatu

Ethnologue (Map of Vanuatu). (2014). Map of Vanuatu. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/VU__

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

Larcom, J.C. (1991). "Malekula". In T.E. Hays (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume II: Oceania) (pp 164-166). New York: G.K. Hall & Co.

Levinson, D. (Ed.). (1991). Encyclopedia of World Cultures Volume 2 Oceania. NY: G. K. Hall & Company

Pernet, H. (1982). Le mort et son modèle: Note sur quelques rituels mélanésiens. Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 29(2), 161-183.

Vanuatu National Statistics Office (2009). 2009 National population and housing census: Basic tables report Volume 1.