Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/54

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Social Regulations.

buto, to those to whom the tindalo belongs.' He gives the example of the clam of the Nggaombata. The ghost, tindalo, of a famous ancient member of that kema, named Polika, haunted a beach opposite Mage, and a large snake, poli, was believed to represent him there. The Nggaombata could not approach that beach, Polika was their buto[1]. On another beach where they catch fish wherewith to sacrifice to Polika is a gima, a clam, which they call Polika, and used to believe to be in some way Polika; hence the gima in their buto.

There will occur at once the question whether in this we do not find totems. But it must be asked where are the totems? in the living creatures after which two of the divisions are named, or in those creatures which the members of the several divisions may not eat? It is true that the Kakau kindred may not eat the crab kakau; but the Manukama may eat the bird manukama. If there be a totem then it must be found in the buto; in the pigeon of the Manukama and the giant clam of the Nggaobata, which are said to be ancestors. But it must be observed that the thing which it is abominable to eat is never believed to be the ancestor, certainly never the eponymous ancestor, of the clan; it is said to represent some famous former member of the clan, one of a generation beyond that of the fathers of the present member of it, a kukua. The thing so far represents him that disrespect to it is disrespect to him. The most probable explanation of these buto may indeed throw light upon the origin of totems elsewhere, but can hardly give totems a home in the Solomon Islands. The buto of each kema is probably comparatively recent in Florida; it has been introduced at Bugotu within the memory of living men. It is in all probability a form of the custom which prevails in Ulawa, another of the Solomon Islands. It was observed with surprise when a Mission school was established

  1. Na butodira Gaobata na tidalo eni, That ghost is the buto of the Nggaombata. The origin of the prohibition is respect for Polika; those of his kema would not intrude upon the beach he haunted, nor would they eat the clam, because the clam on the reef represented him. They have now looked in vain for the snake.