Micronesians - Sociopolitical Organization

Social and Political Organization. Primary loyalty and identification traditionally among Micronesians are with Individual islands and villages. State and national allegiance within Micronesia is a recent political concept and is not strongly developed. In the United States, Guamanians have taken the lead in forming community associations, but other Micronesians are not especially well organized at the Community level. There are about a dozen large community organizations of Chamorros in California encompassing Chamorros from San Diego to Sacramento. Annual Chamorro cultural celebrations have recently been organized in Vallejo, and the Chamorro community also shares in the annual celebration of Guam liberation from Japan by U.S. forces following World War II. Some other Micronesian groups have organized community associations in Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast; these often center around a church organization and primarily involve social and recreational activities such as picnics and sports by college-aged individuals and their families. The Marshallese community in Costa Mesa is perhaps the only such Micronesian community association to have received substantial support from its home government and to have constructed a community center building. There is no political association that unifies the various Micronesian groups in the United States. In California, Chamorro Community organizations formed the Federation of Guamanian Associations in 1977, aimed at promoting and supporting Chamorro needs and concerns through community organizations and political action. No such overarching political structure exists for other Micronesian groups in the United States.

Social Control and Conflict. In Micronesian islands, Social control and conflict resolution customarily were in the hands of traditional chiefs and lineage leaders. Formal legal litigation and arbitration of disputes is a rather newly imposed judicial system in Micronesia and is not entirely understood or accepted. In the United States, many Micronesians feel alienated from the political and legal system, preferring to settle disputes in informal ways. Micronesians in the United States seem to be involved in a disproportionate amount of police trouble relating to drunken and disorderly conduct and alcohol-related vehicular accidents. One factor in this pattern of criminal activity is the preponderance of young males in the migrant population. Within many Micronesian islands, the per capita consumption of alcohol is high by world Standards, and roughly 90 percent of arrests and emergency hospitalizations are alcohol-related.


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