The Belep Islands are located to the north of Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia. The Scottish anthropologist James Frazer provided an account of their religion (based on the work of the French missionary Lambert) in his book on ancestor worship "The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead".

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Traditional Culture(1830-1855)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Ancestral spirits Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 24, 44
Dubois (1985), pp. 15
Frazer (1913), pp. 338
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 28, 44
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 19-20, 41-42

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Douglas (1998), pp. 271

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 13, 235-344
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 13, 235-244

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Frazer (1913), pp. 332
Lambert (1900), pp. 27

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 113-114
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Rozier (1990), pp. 79

Mana

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

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900)
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 26, 44, 75
Frazer (1913), pp. 327

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 104-111, 148
Rozier (1990), pp. 78
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 107-108
Scarification Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Rozier (1990), pp. 78
Lambert (1900), pp. 104-111, 147-148
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 104-111, 147-148
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 104-111, 147-148
Social Environment +
Population 700 (Source)
Dubois (1985), pp. 9
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Dubois (1985), pp. 9
Lambert (1900), pp. 81

Conflict

Conflict with other cultures Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Dubois (1985), pp. 17
Douglas (1970)
Conflict between communities of the culture Rare or never (Source)
Dubois (1985), pp. 17
Douglas (1970), pp. 190
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Douglas (1970), pp. 190
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 30.8 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of New Caledonia) (2014)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Lambert (1900), pp. 81
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 6878.8 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
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), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 204
Rozier (1990), pp. 77
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900)
Land-based gathering Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 204-215
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 204
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Rozier (1990), pp. 77
Lambert (1900), pp. 204
Frazer (1913), pp. 339

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 205-211
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 205-211
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 204

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 204-215
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Bellwood et al (1975)
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Two (Source)
Lambert (1900), pp. 81

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -19.7 (Source)
Frazer (1913), pp. 325
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 163.6 (Source)
Frazer (1913), pp. 325
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Murienne et al (2005), pp. 2
Island Size (km²) 55.6 (Source)
Dubois (1985), pp. 7
Maximum elevation (meters) 283.0 (Source)
Dubois (1985), pp. 7
Post Contact History(1855-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Frazer (1913), pp. 325
Secular History +
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.

Bellwood, P., Ayres, W. S., Clune Jr, F. J., Craib, J., Durbin, T. E., Young, F. A., ... & Green, R. C. (1975). The Prehistory of Oceania [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 16(1), 9-28. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2740946

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

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Central Intelligence Agency (New Caledonia). (2013). The World Factbook: New Caledonia. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/nc.html

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

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Douglas, B. (1970). A contact history of the Balad people of New Caledonia 1774-1845. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 79(2), 180-200.

Douglas, B. (1998). Across the Great Divide: Journeys in History and Anthropology. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Dubois, M. J. (1985). Histoire resumee de Belep (Nouvelle-Caledonie). Noumea: Publication de la Societe de'Etudes Historiques de la N. C.

Ethnologue (2014). Nyelayu: A language of New Caledonia. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/language/yly

Ethnologue (Map of New Caledonia). (2014). Map of New Caledonia. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/NC.

Frazer, J. G. (1913). The belief in immortality and the worship of the dead. London: Macmillan and Co, Limited.

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.

Lambert, P. (1900). Moeurs et superstitions des néo-Calédoniens. Nouméa: Nouvelle Imprimerie Nouméenne

Murienne, J., Grandcolasa, P., Piulachs, M.D., Belle, X., D'Haese, C., Legendre, F. ... & Guilbert, E. (2005). Evolution on a Shaky Piece of Gondwana: is Local Endemism Recent in New Caledonia? Cladistics, 21, 2-7.

Rozier, C. (1990). La nouvelle-caledonie ancienne. France: Le Sarment Fayard