Book cover Tanna

Tanna revisited

This work on Tanna has been the best received in all of Professor Jean Guiart’s professional career. His experience in New Caledonia and the Loyalty islands, on Ambrym and Malekula, allowed him to work quickly and efficiently; all the time in the day being taken by field work, sleeping in the open and eating what was brought to him by the people. He never required anything from them and let them act on their own.

This work had been asked from him by the two Resident Commissioners, in what has become Vanuatu, the French and the British, after a bout of the millenarian movement known under the name of John Frum, the one who would «broom» the white man away. The method chosen by the author, carefully refined through his previous experiences, was to establish a kind of public workshop in each village, everybody being present, particularly the women, whose presence was needed to compensate the men’s at times insufficient memory and to prevent them from bringing in the situation too much imagination.

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