ISLAND CULTURE

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The Community

The people of Ulithi are proud, kind, and shy. Nearly all speak English and the literacy rate in Micronesia is over 90%. Crime and hard drugs are virtually non-existent and the traditions and customs are generally built upon “keeping the peace”. Inhabitants are strongly independent and rightfully proud of their history and unique place in the world.

The United States and Micronesia have what is called the “Compact of Free Association” that allows citizens from each country to visit and work without visas. Many Micronesians join the US Armed Forces and they remain highly patriotic. They purposely strive to maintain their traditional culture and this culture remains one of the most intact in all of Micronesia. What may seem like ancient history to most of us is alive and well on the atoll.

Micronesia has adopted an identical political structure as the U.S. but added a “Chief Branch” that is responsible for ensuring that tradition and customs are adhered to. Yapese are fiercely independent and proud of their heritage. On Ulithi and the other Outer Islands, local customs are strongly adhered to and visitors are advised to respect them. Western clothing is not allowed on MogMog, the high Chief Island (rarely visited), and women are not allowed to show their thighs at any time (except on UAL grounds). There are no guns, virtually no violence, and any crime is met with severe punishment from the community. It is an incredibly interesting place and worthy of respect and admiration.

The Yapese are a clan based society, where certain clans hold traditional rights over other clans. From the farthest reaches of the Outer Islands, tradition holds that the clans were a way of ensuring the safety of traders and travelers as they moved from island to island.

More Information

Below is a link to an older website (2003) put up by Towson University. It gives a wonderful narrative of the community of Ulithi and its history. Most of the characters have passed away, but the information is very helpful.
http://www.pacificworlds.com/