Segments in this Video

New Caledonia Culture (07:57)


Elderly women walk through exposed coral, looking for octopi; catching crayfish is a job for the men. One woman describes fruit and vegetables that she grows.

Valuable Resources (04:55)

The family matriarch describes a technique she learned for making coconut milk. The coconut palm provides locals with food, wood for building, and fibers for weaving. Yams are also highly prized and fish are plentiful.

Tribal Mores (03:54)

It is Kanak custom to make a token gesture of respect when first meeting. A clan chief explains local values, customs, and myths; he describes what his people believe happens after death.

Grand Terre (03:56)

The mountainous region that divides New Caledonia's main island is home to the mountain clans. A Kanak hunter stalks prey; wild ducks, giant bats, and deer are among the region’s most prized game.

Importance of Yams (06:26)

The hunter and a friend allow Christopher Mack to follow them to a secret yam field. The hunter's friend elaborates on spiritual beliefs related to the food staple.

Merged Belief Systems (01:46)

The Kanak People have reconciled their spiritual beliefs with Christianity. Indigenous worshipers congregate in a church graveyard after mass; they see death as a passage and not an end.

Colonization (04:11)

Big Chief recalls the arrival of French colonists in the 19th century; the Europeans forced his ancestors onto reservations. His grandfather built the Great Hut as a place to congregate and settle disputes. Cook pines represent men, while palms represent women.

Clan Politics (02:51)

The mountain clans traditionally need permission from the sea clans to fish. Kanak People are expected to take only the resources they need and to share with others.

Kanak Pastime (02:43)

Young Kanaks learn to make wood sculptures from their elders; these contain coded symbols that can only be understood by the initiated. The activity also allows tribal members to make some money.

Jungle Fishing (04:51)

A Kanak man ventures deep into the jungle to fish; he takes only what he needs. Children are becoming less interested in hunting. The man describes popular game animals, including the Rousettus.

Melanesian Currency (06:42)

Kanaks must be initiated to pass on certain types of knowledge. An elder demonstrates the process of making Kanak money; the esoteric knowledge passes from generation to generation.

Credits: New Caledonia: Men of Roots (00:49)

Credits: New Caledonia: Men of Roots

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New Caledonia: Men of Roots

Part of the Series : Connecting Traditions
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This program immerses us in the Kanak culture and showcases traditional celebrations. For the Kanak, earth is the source of life, and the people belong to the earth not the other way around. Connected with this, yams and water are central symbols. Yams feature prominently in the community's traditions, including weddings and other key events, while water is associated with a woman's fertility, and has given birth to various rain rituals. This program also explores cultural markers including costume, masks, song, dance, and even speeches.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: FPT196473

ISBN: 978-1-64867-537-9

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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