Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/52

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[ch.
Social Regulations.

called kema, and each has its distinguishing name. These are the Nggaombata, the Manukama or Honggokama, the Honggokiki, the Kakau, the Himbo, and the Lahi. But these six kema no doubt represent a much simpler original division; for two of them have local names, of Nggaombata in Guadalcanar, and Himbo, the Simbo somewhat indefinitely placed among the islands to the west, from whence these two kema are known to have come. The Nggaombata and the Himbo, perhaps only as strangers, go together; and the Lahi, a small division, are said to be so closely connected with Himbo that the members cannot intermarry. Whether Honggokama and Manukama are names of one kema, or of two divisions into which the one is separating, is a question. The Honggokama and the Honggo-kiki, the great and the little, are plainly parts of one original. It is not the case in Florida that an originally double division has simply split and split again; but the settlement of foreigners has so complicated the arrangement that few natives profess to be able to follow it[1]. Yet the foreigners have undoubtedly brought with them a distinct sense of kinship with one or other of the local kema. The strict rule of exogamy is not a sufficient limit to the right of marriage; here also, as in the eastern islands, it is supplemented by a strong public opinion as to what is right. A remarkable instance of this occurred a few years ago, when Takua, a considerable chief, took to himself the daughter of one of his wives. The girl was not, of course, of his own kema, and so far he was within his right, but the sense of decency and propriety of the people was outraged, and the man's influence as a chief was much diminished. In Bugotu of Ysabel there are three vinahuhu: Dhonggokama, Vihuvunagi, and Poso-

  1. This is illustrated by the case of Alfred Lombu, who, returning from Norfolk Island in search of a wife, proposed for a daughter of Takua, the chief of Mboli. The girl was not of the same kema in name with Lombu, and he maintained that he was not aware that his kema and hers were in fact the same; but Takua imposed upon him a heavy fine, seeing an opportunity for possessing himself of the money accumulated for the marriage, and professing great indignation at the outrage on propriety.