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(1936)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

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

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 419
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008)
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)
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
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
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 17-19, 160-255
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
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 173
Social Environment +
Population 450 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 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

(No) external warfare Rare or never (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 12-15
Lessa (1966), pp. 35-39
Conflict within community Low (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 108
(No) internal warfare Rare or never (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 108
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 nearest continent 2301.0 (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. 9

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Atoll (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5
Island Size (km²) 4.7 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 10
Maximum elevation (meters) 6.5 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 10

Location

Latitude 10.1 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5-6
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 139.7 (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 5-6
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1936-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 13-14
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Lessa (1950), pp. 14
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (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)
Eberhard (2020)
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
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.

Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (eds.). (2020). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (23rd ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com

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.