Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/81

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CHAPTER IV.

PROPERTY AND INHERITANCE.

In the character of property and in the laws of succession to property, there is hardly any difference to be found in the Melanesian islands with which we are concerned; in all it may be said that property is in land and in personal possessions; that there is a certain distinction between land which has been inherited and that which has been reclaimed from the waste; that there is no strictly communal property in land; and that with landed and personal property alike, the original right of succession is with the sister's children, except where, besides the very exceptional case of Saa, there comes in the succession of children to the property which their father has acquired for himself.

The land may be considered everywhere to be divided into three parts: (1) the Town lots; (2) the Garden ground; (3) the Bush. In Florida, (1) Na Komu, (2) Na Matanga, (3) Na Leiao; in Santa Cruz, (1) Matalia, (2) Nabalo, (3) Nabanogabo; in Mota, (1) O Vanua, (2) O Utag, (3) O Mot; in Lepers' Island, (1) A Vanue, (2) A Labute, (3) A Labute virogi, which in Araga are (1) Vanua, (2) Lolgae, (3) Ute vono; and these correspond to the Yavu, the Qele, the Veikau of Fiji[1]. Of

  1. Land tenure in Fiji has been described by the Rev. Lorimer Fison in a Paper printed in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute, February, 1881, and briefly as follows: 'The tenure of land is distinctly tribal, and the title is vested in all the full-born members of the tribe. The land is of three kinds: the yavu or town lot, the qele (nggele) or arable land, and the veikau