Also known as: Ulithian

Ulithi is a large atoll in western Micronesia. The indigenous religion of Ulithi included a pantheon of sky gods, including a supreme god called I'aluep, the 'Big Spirit' or 'Great Spirit'. However, these gods were considered remote, and deified spirits of the dead were ritually more important. Most of the population of Ulithi converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Traditional Culture(1889-1914)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 49-60
Lessa (1950), pp. 113-159, 159
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 121-124
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 114-116
Lessa (1966), pp. 50
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 114-116
Lessa (1966), pp. 56
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 121-124
Lessa (1966), pp. 56

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 121

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 246-247
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 246
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 56
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 56
Culture hero(es) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 113-159, 125

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 130

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 204
Resource management tapu Absent (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 34-60, 97-107, 113-159
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 34-35

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 419
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 419
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 107-112, 113-159
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 163-190, 184
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 32-39
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 34-36, 63-66

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 191-228
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 173
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 17-19, 160-255
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 160-255, 168
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 17-19, 160-255
Social Environment +
Population 800 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14, 24
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14, 92
Lessa (1966), pp. 147-148
Importance of Patrilateral descent Low (Source)
Lessa (1991), pp. 359
Importance of Matrilateral descent High (Source)
Lessa (1991), pp. 359
Kinship system Crow (Source)
Lessa (1991), pp. 359
Polygamy Monogamy prescribed (Source)
Lessa (1991), pp. 359
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Lessa (1991), pp. 359

Conflict

Conflict within communities Low (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 108
Conflict between communities of the culture Rare or never (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 108
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 12-14
Lessa (1966), pp. 35-39
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 9, 12-15
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 77.2 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 9
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 2711.0 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5
Daft Logic Area Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear 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. 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 13
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 36
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 36
Land-based gathering Minor (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 34-35
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 35
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 35

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 35-36
Water-based gathering Minor (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 34-35
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 35-36

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Major (Source)
Lessa (1966), pp. 40-52, 47-48
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ulithi Atoll) (2014)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude 10.1 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5-6
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 139.7 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5-6
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Atoll (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ulithi Atoll) (2014)
Island Size (km²) 4.5 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ulithi Atoll) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 6.5 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 10
Post Contact History(1914-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 13-14
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14
Language shift Low (Source)
Ethnologue (Ulithian) (2014)
Hancock et al (2007), pp. 154
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14-15

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Michio et al (2003), pp. 51, 53
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14-15

Modern Infrastructure

Air travel Present, local only (Source)
Hancock et al (2007), pp. 157
Sea port Absent (Source)
Hancock et al (2007), pp. 157

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 13-14
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Hancock et al (2007), pp. 157
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.

Daft Logic Area Calculator. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-area-calculator-tool.htm.

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

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ulithi Atoll). 2014. Encyclopaedia Britannia. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/EBchecked/topic/613222/Ulithi-Atoll

Ethnologue (Ulithian). (2014). Ulithian. Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/language/uli

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

Hancock, W. T., Durand, A. M., Yolwa, A., Sagury, J., Lethgar, C., Ratima, M. ... & Maskarinec, G. (2007). Ulithi Atoll Health Assessment: A Peek at the Health of Rural Micronesia. Developing Human Resources in the Pacific, 14 (1), 151-159.

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

Lessa, W. A. (1950). The Ethnography of Ulithi Atoll. LA: University of California. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseAuthorsFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OR20%27%29&docId=or20-001&tocOffset=tocPubInfoP

Lessa, W. A. (1966). Ulithi: A Micronesian Design for Living. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

Lessa, W. H. (1991). Ulithi. In Levinson, D. (Ed.), The Encyclopaedia of World Cultures Volume 2 - Oceania (358-360). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Michio, O., Kazutaka, N., Tominaga, S., Tsuda, K., Ichitani, K., & Park, B. (2003). Agriculture and Food Supply on Ulithi Atoll. Kagoshima University Research Center for the Pacific Islands Occasional Papers, 39, 51-54.

Micronesia. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Micronesia-republic-Pacific-Ocean