Northern Illinois University Press

Seafaring in the Contemporary Pacific Islands

Studies in Continuity and Change

Edited by Richard Feinberg

"Most welcome.... This is a book that will be embraced by regional specialists, among whom it should stimulate new research directions."American Ethnologist

"Rich in fascinating detail."American Anthropologist

"A delight.... Interesting, scholarly, and informative."

For Pacific Islanders, the sea is a way of life. Inhabiting small islands scattered across the South Pacific, these peoples rely on the sea for food, economic exchange, social contact, and recreation. The islanders today, like their ancestors, possess extraordinary seafaring skills, whether traveling by traditional outrigger or modern motorized vessel.

This collection of twelve original essays examines contemporary seafaring practices and the unique relationship of the islanders to the sea. The book adds a new dimension to scholarship on the Pacific Islands by focusing on ordinary people and their attachment to the sea in the course of daily life rather than on the spectacular exploits of long-distance voyagers. Contributors to the volume examine islanders who depend on the sea for food and transportation, who paddle their canoes or fire up their outboard motors to transport copra to the local trader, whose songs and dances depict maritime themes, and for whom the sea provides a metaphor for all the vagaries of life.

Geographical coverage of the book includes one Micronesian community (Enewetak), three Polynesian communities (Nukumanu, Sikaiana, and Rotuma), and four Melanesian ones (Marovo in the Western Solomons, Omarakana and Kaduwaga in the Trobriands, and Vanatinai in the Louisiade Archipelago). An essay on the Bugis of Indonesia points out the relevance of Island Southeast Asia to understanding seafaring in Oceania.

(1995) 245 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-201-5
cloth $38.50

Table of Contents

Introduction: Theme and Variation in Pacific Island Seafaring: Richard Feinberg
1 Symbolic Imagery of Enewetak Sailing Canoes: Laurence M. Carucci
2 Voyaging and Cultural Identity in the Louisiade Archipelago of Papua New Guinea: Maria Lepowsky
3 Kaduwaga: A Trobriand Boat Harbor: Susan P. Montague
4 Seamanship and Politics in Northern Kiriwina: Harry A. Powell
5 Maritime Travel, Present and Past, in Marovo, Western Solomon Islands: Edvard Hviding
6 Rotuman Seafaring in Historical Perspective: Alan Howard
7 From Outrigger to Jet: Four Centuries of Sikaiana Voyaging: William H. Donner
8 Continuity and Change in Nukumanu Maritime Technology and Practice: Richard Feinberg
9 Navigation Practices of the Bugis of South Sulawesi, Indonesia: Gene Ammarell
Epilogue: Seafaring in the Pacific, Past and Present: Ward H. Goodenough and Richard Feinberg

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-201-5
cloth $38.50