Also known as: Lord Howe islanders; Luangiua; Ontong Javanese

Ontong Java, also known as Lord Howe Atoll, is a large atoll north of the main Solomon Islands chain. As it is culturally Polynesian but is considered to be geographically outside Polynesia, it is considered one of the "Polynesian Outliers". The name "Ontong Java", bestowed by Abel Tasman, is misleading - the island is far from (and geographically dissimilar to) Java itself, and the people of Ontong Java share only a distant cultural relationship (by virtue of speaking an Austronesian language) with the Javanese. The atoll is sometimes known as Lord Howe, or as Luangiua, although the latter properly refers to only one of the two islets making up Ontong Java. Ontong Javanese society differed from many other Polynesian societies in having only a weakly developed concept of hereditary rank. Religion in Ontong Java was based on the worship of ancestors - there were apparently no gods.

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Traditional Culture(1850-1875)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 147-148, 150
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 147-148, 150
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 149, 150, 151
Hogbin (1936), pp. 269
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hogbin (1936), pp. 269
God(s) Absent (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 150

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 162
Hogbin (1934), pp. 179

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)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 148-149, 151, 164-165
Hogbin (1934), pp. 143-144
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died do not affect nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 148-149, 151, 164-165
Hogbin (1934), pp. 143-144, 177-182
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 168-169
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 168-169
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 168-172

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Hogbin (1930a), pp. 151

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Sahlins (1958), pp. 99
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Sahlins (1958), pp. 104
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Sahlins (1958), pp. 100

Mana

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

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Hogbin (1930a)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 166-209
Hogbin (1929)
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 166-209
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 94
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Goldman (1970), pp. 410-411

Rites

Piercing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Hogbin (1930b), pp. 112
Hogbin (1929), pp. 90
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Hogbin (1930b)
Hogbin (1930c)
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Hogbin (1930b)
Hogbin (1930c)
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Hogbin (1930b), pp. 98, 102
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Hogbin (1930b)
Hogbin (1930c)
Social Environment +
Population 2000 (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 253
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Goldman (1970), pp. 408-409
Donner (1991), pp. 253
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 254
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 254
Kinship system Hawaiian (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 254
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Hogbin (1931B), pp. 419
Marital residence Matrilocal or uxorilocal - with wife's kin (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 254
Hogbin (1931B), pp. 419

Conflict

Conflict within communities Endemic (Source)
Goldman (1970), pp. 412
Donner (1991), pp. 255
Conflict between communities of the culture Rare or never (Source)
Goldman (1970), pp. 408-415
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (1974), pp. 260
Hogbin (1929), pp. 88-89
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Occasional but not often (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (1974), pp. 260
Hogbin (1929), pp. 88-89
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 50.0 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 5485.8 (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
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 253
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Absent (Source)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 90
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Parkinson (1986)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 90
Land-based gathering Minor (Source)
Parkinson (1986)
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 90
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 90

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 95-97
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 90, 96-97
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 90, 96-97

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Hogbin (1929)
Hogbin (1934), pp. 95
Bayliss-Smith (1974)
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (1986), pp. 1
Google Maps (2014)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -5.3 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 159.4 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Atoll (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ontong Java Atoll) (2014)
Island Size (km²) 8.0 (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (1986), pp. 1
Maximum elevation (meters) 2.0 (Source)
Rasmussen et al. (2009), pp. 3
Post Contact History(1875-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Nau & Davidson (1996), pp. 21-64
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Nau & Davidson (1996), pp. 23-34
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 255
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 254
Immigration Absent (Source)
Kile et al. (2000), pp. 6
Language shift Low (Source)
Ethnologue (Ontong Java) (2014)

Modern Infrastructure

Air travel Absent (Source)
Christensen (2011), pp. 10
Sea port Absent (Source)
Christensen (2011), pp. 10

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 253-254
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 253-254

Economic Changes

Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Donner (1991), pp. 254
Christensen (2011), pp. 9
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Kile et al. (2000), pp. 8
External Links
References
Bayliss-Smith, T. (1974). Constraints on population growth: The case of the Polynesian outlier atolls in the precontact period. Human Ecology, 2(4), 259-195. DOI: 10.1007/BF01531318

Bayliss-Smith, T. (1986). Ontong Java Atoll: Population, Economy and Society, 1970-1986. Armidale, NSW: University of New England.

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

Christensen, A. E. (2011). Marine Gold and Atoll Livelihoods: The Rise and Fall of the Bêche-de-mer Trade on Ontong Java, Solomon Islands. Natural Resources Forum, 235, 9-20. DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-8947.2011.01343.x

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.

Donner, W. W. (1991). Ontong Java. In Hays, T.E. (Eds.) In Encyclopedia of World Cultures Volume 2 Oceania (pp. 253-255). New York, NY: G. K. Hall and Company.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ontong Java Atoll). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1443940/Ontong-Java-Atoll

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Solomon Islands). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553556/Solomon-Islands

Ethnologue (Ontong Java). (2014). Ontong Java: A language of the Solomon Islands. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/language/ojv

Goldman, I. (1970). Ancient Polynesian society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press

Goldman, I. (1995) Status Rivalry and Cultural Evolution in Polynesia. American Anthropologist, 57 (4), 680-697. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/665319

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

Hogbin, H. I. (1929). Ongtong Java. Australian Geographer, 1(2), 86-91. DOI: 10.1080/00049182908702064.

Hogbin, H. I. (1930)a. Spirits and the healing of the sick in Ontong Java. Oceania, 1(2), 146-166. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40327318.

Hogbin, H. I. (1930b). Transition rites at Ontong Java (Solomon islands). The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 39(2(154)), 94-112. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20702304.

Hogbin, H. I. (1930c). Transition rites at Ontong Java (Solomon islands) death. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 39(3(155)), 201-220

Hogbin, H. I. (1931). The Social Organization of Ontong Java. Oceania, 1(4), 399-425. doi: 10.1002/j.1834-4461.1931.tb00014.x

Hogbin, H. I. (1934). Law and order in Polynesia: A study of primitive legal institutions. London, UK: Christophers.

Hogbin, H. I. (1936). Mana. Oceania, 6(3), 241-274. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40327556.

Hogbin, H.I. (1931). Tribal Ceremonies at Ontong Java (Solomon Islands). The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 61, 27-65. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2843825

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

Kilé, N., Lam, M., Davis, D.C. & Donnelly, R.J., 2000. Managing the live reef food fish trade in Solomon Islands: the role of village decision-making systems in Ontong Java, Roviana and Marovo Lagoons. Discussion Paper No.2. Report to Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. ACIAR, Canberra. 28pp.

Nau, S. & Davidson, A.K. (Ed.) (1996). The Story of my Life: The Autobiography of a Tongan Methodist Missionary who worked at Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands. Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies USP.

Parkinson, R. (1986). Ethnography of Ontong Java and Tasman Islands with remarks re: the Marqueen and Abgarris Islands. Pacific Studies, 9 (3), 1-31.

Rasmussen, K., May, W., Birk, T., Mataki, M., Mertz, O., & Yee, D. (2009). Climate change on three Polynesian outliers in the Solomon Islands: Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. Geografisk Tidsskrift-Danish Journal of Geography, 109(1), 1-13

Sahlins, M. D. (1958). Social stratification in Polynesia. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press