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Turtlephilia in the Pacific : an integrated comparative analysis from the perspectives of biological, cultural, and spiritual ecology in a particular case of biophilia

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Title: Turtlephilia in the Pacific : an integrated comparative analysis from the perspectives of biological, cultural, and spiritual ecology in a particular case of biophilia
Authors: Luna, Regina W.
Keywords: turtles
Issue Date: May 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Abstract: Throughout the Pacific regions of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia, sea turtles are recognized as culturally significant species. The specifics of human-sea turtle interactions in these regions, however, are not well known, in part because ethnographic and historic reports documenting these interactions are scattered, often consisting of diaries, ships logs, letters and other personal documents, thus requiring extensive archival research.
Ethnographic and environmental data collected over a twelve-year period are analyzed to assess patterns of human--sea turtle interactions prior to (and sometimes beyond) Western contact. From the ethnographic data for Polynesia, a region-wide pattern emerges where sea turtle consumption was restricted to special ceremonies where the elites such as chiefs and priests but no one else ate turtle. Only in Tokelau did this pattern differ.
Environmental data do little to elucidate explanations for this region-wide treatment of sea turtles as restricted food sources as there is no correlation between environmental variability and the presence or absence of these restrictions. Instead, the results of this research suggest that such practices may have been part of an ancestral Polynesian society, developing well before human settlement into the Polynesian region of the Pacific.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/102031
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Anthropology



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