Lakalai - Settlements

Traditionally, villages were small, probably containing no more than 150 inhabitants, but most were divided into two or more named hamlets, each with its own men's house, feasting area, and dance plaza. The hamlet contained shade and fruit trees but was kept free of weeds and grass. Many family houses contained an extended family, but each adult woman had her own cooking hearth. Each village shared a garden site and freshwater supply. Two or more adjacent villages constituted a territory within which relations were usually friendly. Villages of the same territory were connected by paths, intermarried, attended each other's ceremonies, and collaborated in warfare. The colonial authorities objected to the fissioning of established villages, and present-day ones are much larger and often lack men's houses, but hamlet affiliation is still important. Also as the result of government pressure, most dwellings are now built on piles, with separate cooking houses based on the ground and often slept in by the elderly.

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