Also known as: Society Islands; Tahitian

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Traditional Culture(1770-1795)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 17-23, 18
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-70
Levy (1973), pp. 147-188, 155, 164-165
Nature god(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 17-23, 18
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-70, 70
Levy (1973), pp. 147-188, 155
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 17-23, 18, 110-115
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-70
Levy (1973), pp. 147-188, 162-164
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-51
Levy (1973), pp. 164-165
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 17-18
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-51, 65-70

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 51, 70

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living are one factor in determining the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 110-115
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)
Oliver (2002), pp. 114
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of worship (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 17-23,
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-70, 50-52
Levy (1973), pp. 147-188

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 70

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 86-88
Levy (1973), pp. 336-337
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 21
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Sahlins (1958), pp. 44

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Keesing (1984), pp. 146
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Descantes (1993), pp. 190
Oliver (2002), pp. 28
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana and social status Mana is associated with social status, but high social status is not necessary in order to be mana or have mana. (Source)
Descante (1993), pp. 190
Oliver (2002), pp. 29-30
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Keesing (1984), pp. 152
Levy (1973), pp. 156
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 50-70, 253-273
Oliver (2002), pp. 17-23
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 55-56
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 19
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 60

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 142-175, 25
Oliver (2002), pp. 64-117
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 148-150
Oliver (2002), pp. 78-79
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 22-25, 142-175
Oliver (1974), pp. 64-117
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 22-23, 148-150
Oliver (2002), pp. 77-78
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 22-25, 142-175
Oliver (2002), pp. 64-117
Social Environment +
Population 45000 (Source)
Rallu (2007), pp. 16, 29
Oliver (2002), pp. 13
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Kirch (1984), pp. 37
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Ferdon (1991), pp. 306
Ferdon (1981), pp. 154
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Ferdon (1991), pp. 306
Ferdon (1981), pp. 154
Kinship system Hawaiian (Source)
Ferdon (1991), pp. 306

Conflict

Conflict within communities Moderate (Source)
Ferdon (1991), pp. 306
Oliver (2002), pp. 35
Conflict between communities of the culture Common, at least every five years (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 254-255
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 12
Ferdon (1981), pp. 4-14, 254-273
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 12
Ferdon (1981), pp. 2-14
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 188.8 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Ethnologue (Map of French Polynesia) (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 8988.5 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 18-19
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)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 2-3
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Medium (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 16
Ferdon (1981), pp. 218
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 15
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 15-16
Ferdon (1981), pp. 176-218
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 15
Ferdon (1981), pp. 198
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 16

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 16
Ferdon (1981), pp. 199-218
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 199-200
Oliver (2002), pp. 16
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 16
Ferdon (1981), pp. 199-218

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 224-225
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 7, 12

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -17.6 (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 7
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude -149.4 (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 7
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 7, 12
Island Size (km²) 1040.0 (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 7, 12
Maximum elevation (meters) 2237.0 (Source)
Oliver (2002), pp. 7, 12
Post Contact History(1795-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Primarily a top-down process. (Source)
Ferdon (1991), pp. 305
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Ferdon (1991), pp. 305
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Levy (1973), pp. 3-6
Ferdon (1991), pp. 305
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Present, but did not survive to the present-day (Source)
Newbury (1980), pp. 62
Freeman (1958), pp. 4, 7-9
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)
Finney (1973), pp. 16-18
Immigration Low (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence High (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)
Air travel Present and long-distance (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)
Sea port Present (Source)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009), pp. 176
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely involuntary (Source)
Finney (1973), pp. 18
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Finney (1973), pp. 18
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014)
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. (1996). Beyond the Austronesian Homeland: The Austric Hypothesis and its Implications for Archaeology. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 86 (5), 117-158. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1006623.

Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia). (2014). The World Factbook: French Polynesia. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fp.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.

Descante, C. (1993). Simple Marae of the 'Opunohu Valley Moorea, Society Islands. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 102 (2), 187-216. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706504

Descantes C. (1993). Simple Marae of the 'Opunohu Valley Mo'orea, Society Islands, French Polynesia. The Journal of Polynesian Society, 102(2), 187-216. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706504.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (French Polynesia) (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/219285/French-Polynesia.

Ferdon, E.N. (1981). Early Tahiti as the Explorers saw it, 1767-1797. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Ferdon, E.N. (1991). Tahiti. Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Vol. II, pp 305-307). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Finney, B.R. (1973). Polynesian Peasants and Proletariat. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Company.

Freeman, J.D. (1958). The Joe Gimlet, or Siovili Cult: An Episode in the Religious History of Early Samoa. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University.

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

Hanson, F.A. (1973) Political Change in Tahiti and Samoa: An Exercise in Experimental Anthropology. Ethnology, 12 (1), 1-13. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3773093.

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

Kirch, P.V. (1984). The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Lepofsky, D. (1999). Gardens of Eden? An ethnohistoric reconstruction of Maohi (Tahitian) cultivation. Ethnohistory, 1-29.

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

Levy, R.I. (1973). Tahitians: Mind and Experience in the Society Islands. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Marck, J. (1996B). Was there an Early Polynesian 'Sky Father'? The Journal of Pacific History, 31 (1), 8-26. DOI: 10.1080/00223349608572803.

McArthur, N. (1967). Island Populations of the Pacific. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Newbury, Colin (1980). Tahiti Nui: Change and Survival in French Polynesia, 1767-1945. Honolulu, HI: University Press of Hawaii.

Oliver, D. (2002). On Becoming Old in Early Tahiti and in Early Hawaii. Papeete, Tahiti: Societe des Etudes Oceaniennes.

Oliver, D. L. (1974). Ancient Tahitian society. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press

Rallu, J. (2007). Pre- and Post-Contact Population in Island Polynesia: Can Projections Meet Retrodictions? In Kirch, P.V. and Rallu, J. (Eds.) The Growth and Collapse of Pacific Island Societies: Archaeological and Demographic Perspectives (pp 15-34). Honululu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

SIL International. (2014). Map of French Polynesia https://www.ethnologue.com/map/PF

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