Also known as: Lifuan; Lifou; Lifouan

Lifou is one of the Loyalty Islands north of New Caledonia. Information on the indigenous religion of the island comes from missionaries. Lifouan religion was apparently based around ancestral spirits and culture heroes believed to have lived in the distant past. Magic, centred around objects called "hazes" was also important.

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Traditional Culture(1815-1840)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49, 143-167
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 295-298
Hadfield (1920), pp. 143-167
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 154, 159-162
MacFarlane (1873), pp. 16
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 154
God(s) Absent (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 143-167
Ray (1917), pp. 296

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 152-153

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living do not affect the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 287-289
Hadfield (1920), pp. 175-222
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died are one factor in determining the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 288
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and creationist (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 280, 296
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 143-167
MacFarlane (1873), pp. 17-20
Ray (1917), pp. 296
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 155-156
MacFarlane (1873), pp. 17-18

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 296

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 201
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 65-66
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 263

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 255
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 255
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 261, 263, 295-298
Hadfield (1920), pp. 143-174
Howe (1974), pp. 21-38
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 162
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 295
Political and religious differentiation No overlap (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 143-167
Ray (1917), pp. 295

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 254
Hadfield (1920), pp. 175-222
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 254
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 254
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 254
Hadfield (1920), pp. 175-222
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 254
Hadfield (1920), pp. 175-222
Social Environment +
Population 7000 (Source)
Izoulet (1993), pp. 21
Population of largest political community 99 or fewer (Source)
Izoulet (1993), pp. 30
Ray (1917)
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 9-10
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 9-10
Polygamy Full polygyny (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 287
Marital residence Neolocal - separate from kin (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 286

Conflict

Conflict between communities of the culture Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Howe (1974), pp. 24-27
MacFarlane (1873), pp. 7, 29
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
Howe (1974), pp. 21-38
Ray (1917), pp. 292-293
Cultural Isolation +
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 15.7 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of New Caledonia) (2014)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 7270.0 (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
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 243
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 260
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 260, 262-263
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 262
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49
Land-based gathering Minor (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 260-263
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Ray (1917), pp. 262

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49
Ray (1917), pp. 262
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49
Izoulet (1993), pp. 22
Ray (1917), pp. 254
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Hadfield (1920), pp. 49
Ray (1917), pp. 262
Izoulet (1993), pp. 22

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Izoulet (1993), pp. 22
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of New Caledonia) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -21.0 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 167.2 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Atoll (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 3
Island Size (km²) 1196.0 (Source)
Logan & Cole (2001), pp. 226
Maximum elevation (meters) 60.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Lifou Island) (2014)
Post Contact History(1840-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Primarily a top-down process. (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 36-45
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 36-45
Paini (1998), pp. 176-177
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 36-45
Dauphine (1999), pp. 31
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 44-45
Angleviel & Levine (2008), pp. 51-52

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 39-45
Paini (1998), pp. 171-206
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 62
Immigration Absent (Source)
Haberkorn (2008), pp. 122
Language shift Low (Source)
Ethnologue (Drehu) (2013)
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Logan & Cole (2001), pp. 40

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence High (Source)
Ember & Ember (2001), pp. 1583-1589
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Loyalty Islands) (2014)

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Logan & Cole (2001), pp. 228
Air travel Present, local only (Source)
Stanley (2007), pp. 874
Sea port Present (Source)
Logan & Cole (2001), pp. 228

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 57-59
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Howe (1977), pp. 62
Central Intelligence Agency (New Caledonia) (2013)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Caledonia) (2014)
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Angleviel & Levine (2008), pp. 52
External Links
References
Angleviel, F. & Levine, S. (Eds.) (2008). New Zealand-New Caledonia: Neighbours, Friends, Partners. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press.

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

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.

Dauphiné, J. (1999). Christianisation et politique en Nouvelle-Calédonie au XIXe sièle. Nouvelle-Calédonie : Centre de Documentation Pédagogique

Ember, C. R., & Ember, M. (Eds.) (2001). Countries and their Cultures Volume 1. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Lifou Island). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/340347/Lifou-Island

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Loyalty Islands). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/350116/Loyalty-Islands

Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Caledonia). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/411221/New-Caledonia

Ethnologue (2013). Drehu: A language of New Caledonia. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/language/dhv

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

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

Haberkorn, G. (2008). Pacific Islands’ population and development : Facts, fictions and follies. New Zealand Population Review, 33, 95-127. http://www.population.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/nzpr-vol-33-and-34_gerald-haberkorn.pdf

Hadfield, E. (1920). Among the natives of the Loyalty group. London: Macmillan and Co.

Howe, K. R. (1974). Firearms and indigenous warfare: A case study. The Journal of Pacific History, 9(1), 21-38. DOI: 10.1080/00223347408572242

Howe, K. R. (1977). The Loyalty Islands: A history of culture contacts 1840-1900. Honolulu, HI: The University Press of Hawaii

Izoulet, J. (1993). Les premieres années de la mission catholique a Ligou 1858-1870. Nouméa : Centre Territorial de Recherche et de Documentation Pédagogiques

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

Logan, L., & Cole, G. (2001). New Caledonia. London, UK: Lonely Planet

MacFarlane, S. (1873). The story of the Lifu mission. London, UK: James Nisbet and Co.

Paini, A. (1998). 'Praying Samoa and Praying Oui-Oui': Making Christianity Local on Lifu (Loyalty Islands). In Keck, V. (Ed.), Common Worlds and Single Lives: Constituting Knowledge in Pacific Societies. New York, NY: Berg Publishing. DOI: 10.2307/2843343

Ray, S. H. (1917). The people and language of Lifu, Loyalty Islands. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 47, 239-322. DOI: 10.2307/2843343

Stanley, N. (2007). The future of indigenous museums : Perspectives from the southwest Pacific. New York, NY: Berghahn Books