Cultural ceremony at term end in ethnobotany

Sakau enters the nahs and the branches are cut.

The menindei issues directives

Initially the students were not correctly arranged in the nahs. I rearranged the students until the class conformed to the culture and tradition of the nahs. Tilson, Ursula, Marino, Leonard, Parkey.

The young men at the back were moved down into chairs. Once sakau is present in the nahs, even for a class demonstration, the full force of the rules of the nahs are invoked. Gyrone knows where to sit, Jeff and Michael are less certain.

Sukusuk underway

Ursula and Parkey were still down when I captured this image.

Parkey and Ursula are now up on women's platform. This is unusual for Clinton - in Yap women cannot be seated above men. This is equally unusual for Parkey - in Chuuk women cannot be seated in such an arrangement as she is relative to Clinton. Merlihse and Lucretia Mae are also on the platform, legs crossed as per protocol.

Ursula now up on the platform behind Ryan.

Tracy Tom, Jamie Thozes, and Jennifer Kennedy

Newman Shoniber is called for pwel. I was called for are.

Esil is a women's cup at this location.

Sahp concludes the four honor cups. The menindei gave me permission at this point to explain the ceremony and some of the details and purposes of the ceremony, as well as the societal functions of sakau. I also noted the presences and position of women - unique in the Pacific as far as I know. Many cultures have separate men's and women's houses. Not Pohnpei. And most cultures have unstated social rules that inveigh against placing women in a visibly physically elevated position above men. I also noted the implication of the importance of women conveyed by the use of space and position of men in the nahs.

High titled women in a respected location.

Gyrone demonstrates that he can sukusuk. Marino spent the evening paying intent attention. A wonderful evening and always the best way to wrap up a term of ethnobotany. The class owes a debt of thanks to Lempwoi for inviting us to his nahs and for the hospitality of his family.
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