Pacific Daily News, Monday, July 1, 1991

Palau tourist brochure gave wrong origin
A tourist brochure published by the Palau Visitors Authority gave what I would call an imprecise statement about the origin of the Southwest Islands' residents.  The author of the so-called "Rainbow's End" stated, "The handful of residents are of Trukese origin" (Rainbow's End: 11).  The author's statement is inaccurate.  

According to ethnographic literature, the ancestors of the Southwest Island residents were originated from the Central Caroline Islands, not necessarily from Chuuk.  William H. Alkire, in his book called "The Peoples and Cultures of Micronesia," 1977, indicated that the inhabitants of the Southwest Islands claimed descent from Ulithians.   At least for Tobi Island, also known as Hatohobei State, its oral tradition revealed that their predecessors were originated from one of the outer islands of Yap State.  Recent ethnographic research done on Fais Island indicated a connection between Fais and Tobi.  Today, stories about quite a few voyages between Fais and Tobi are still remembered by some Fais elders.  "The first ruler of Tobi Island and also its discoverer a woman from Fais called Romohoparuh (she is known as Lifarpaluy on Fais) and her husband Yongoihari and her father Tahabech were fleeing a war on Fais and came straight to Tobi without stopping" (Black, 1968).  On Fais Island, Hatohobei is known as "Hadagobey."  In the 18th century, Tobi was variously called Johnstone, Lord North's Island, Nevil's Island, Peaked Hill and San Carlos by Western traders.

In conclusion I would like to make it clear that the residents of Hatohobei Island are culturally and linquistically related to the low islands of the Yap Empre and NOT Chuuk.


Huan Hosei