National Geographic : 1952 Dec
806 Boyd Landers Yap's U. S. Administrator, King Chapman, Congratulates a Newly Elected Magistrate Finiginam, chief of Dalipeebiinaaw district, put on GI clothes out of respect for Mr. Chapman, who came to congratulate him upon winning the first popular election ever held on Yap (January 7, 1952). in all Micronesia. But their rejection of foreign ways does not mean lack of a well developed culture of their own. In fact, they possess one of the most complex native social systems to be found in the western Pacific and are proud enough of their own traditions and customs to want to retain them. Until recent years these islanders were a seafaring people. They sailed their outrigger canoes southwest to the Palaus and roamed among the atolls that lie hundreds of miles to the east. A number of the "isles of Ngek" (islands to the east), as they are known lo cally, still look upon the Yap chiefs as their masters. Although Yap has experienced the control of Spain, Germany, Japan, and now Uncle Sam, foreign influence has made little impress. The Germans and the Japanese did succeed in limiting some of their practices. The Japanese, for instance, made the youngsters wear clothes in the schoolrooms; but the moment classes were ended, off came the clothes! Japanese officials also forbade tattooing. Despite the ban, many of the younger men have rising suns, flags, and other tattoos on their arms. But these decorations pale beside those we saw on a few of the older men. One such classic figure was bearded, aging Foneg, second high chief of the Gagil district, whom we met at Gatjapar. His arms, body, and legs were almost solidly covered with striped patterns (page 827). Aptly, the Yap word for writing, yawl, is the same as that used for these symbolic tattoo markings. On many of the other Pacific islands I had visited, the people lived in closely settled villages. Here on Yap I found homes widely scattered around the coasts. Even in so called villages, the houses are so secluded in gardens that seldom are there more than two or three within view of each other.