Polynesians - Kinship, Marriage and Family

Most initial immigrants were young men who after finding a job and a place to live arranged for other family members to follow. The initial stage of this chain migration process is now nearly complete, with the sex ratio in Polynesian Communities nearly balanced. Extended family households are a basic feature of the islands' economic and social systems. In the United States, the extended family serves as a major adaptive mechanism for Polynesians. Domestic groups tend to be large and flexible, readily accepting newcomers to the United States or others in need. In addition, ties are maintained with other kin within the larger Samoan or Tongan community. The household unit also serves a basic economic function, as a mechanism through which money and material goods can be shared and distributed within the extended family and as an employment center for recent arrivals in need of work. Ties to kin in the islands are maintained through visits to the homeland and the remittances. Socialization for life in the United States begins for many Polynesians in their native countries, where formal education outside the home usually emphasizes Western culture and teaches skills useful in the U.S. economy. In America, formal education and the church play major socialization roles, with the latter providing education in the traditional culture.

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