While I was in the Marshall's a few years ago doing research for my master's degree, I had the opportunity to talk with many of the older people as they shared their stories with me.
On one particular occasion a word was spoken that I hadn't hear before, that word was ura. Come to find out that ura was an extinct Marshallese custom. When a chief died it was custom to kill and bury companions with the chief to accompany him on his journey to different world.
I asked the man when the last time ura was performed he claimed as late as the 1930's and 1940's.
I was wondering if any of you out there might have heard of this practice or might have some more information about ura.
I did heard this from my mother and grandmother that such practice existed once upon a time in the Marshall Islands. I am not sure when was the last time they did such practice. I was young and naive, and never really paid much attention. This is interesting. Please keep us posted if you have any new lead on this. I, too, will try to satisfy my curiosity with other elders.
Very interesting topic you are bringing up.
I have never heard about this before.
Most of our customs are still mention and practiced til today.
Maybe this one is another one that we,rimajol
would like to forget and not mention again.
I don't know!
I know other country in the past have done it.
Makes you want to think...Why was it stopped...
Is it because of Laws? Knowing the loving words of God from bibles?
I am like you...sure like to know more!
So far, other than the elder talking about ura, the only other source of information I have is an entry in the Marshallese-English Dictionary (Bender, et al). This entry can be found on page 275.
I have put in a word with Fran Hezel and an Australian anthropologist named Spenneman to see if they have other information.
Rijjiban, did you know that the marshallese also practiced infanticide? Marshallese kept only two children and any other children would be killed. This was due to the fact that if the family had to pick-up and move really quickly, as in the case of typhoon or whatever, they would only have room in their canoes for themselves and two children.
Also there was a practice called okjanlan which meant killing someone during a typhoon in anticipation of a food shortage. Supposedly this practice was also used to settle old scores as opposed to looking out for the best interests of the community.
Marshallese customs and history is fascinating and I encourage all Ri-Majol to sit down with elders and listen to bwebwenato and learn as much as possible before such information is lost.
I will post more information on ura as it becomes available.
edited by: namu177, Dec 16, 2008 - 11:51 PM
URA ej juon ian manit ko rejako rainin. Emaron bwilin kar ilo 1800 eo ak ilo 1900 einwot emaron bwilin mol ak elab an bin bwe armij ren morro. Ilo ura kwe kwoj juon eo alab ro rej jitone bwe kwon bok nebar in. Kwoj jab aikuij mij - ak ilo ien kalbwini Iroij eo emij; im, elane renaj jitone juon inem armij eo emwij jitone e ej aikuij ajelok mour eo an.
let me express what i understood about URA: The marshallese' tribe call RIBIKaRRAJ whom they buried alive with the dead king or chief, but before the progress the tribe(ribikarraj) set the meeting to select who among them will die with the king and the canoe. but let us thank christian religion to stop this practice in our culture...yeap that what i mean....Thank Abram's God...
These history or customs aren't lost yet. I don't know about Majuro, but I do know Ebeye Public School(EPA) have a subject call MLA(Marshallese Language Art) which they teach all their students about their customs, language, history, etc.
Obviously, those book that they have available and its' contents are far more accurate than anything else.
Ura - a very true tradition that was perform from early 1800s and 'til late 1900s. Exact years, nobody knows.
How it carries out - When a chief dies, or is dead rather, they do not take up a meeting and select who is going to die along with the chief. However, the five most fiercest warrior or loyal soldier to the chief are the one that are going to have to sacrifice their lives to the chief along with all belonging(s) that the chief once posses.
How that work? well, they just simply line them up along side of the grave and spears them, push them over the edge, and bury them with their chief.
Why the 5 most fiercest? Well, we believe that if they die with the chief, they will then be able to protect and fight for the him in the after life.
Very similar doesn't it? Most ancient culture did the same thing. so its nothing new to know about.
Anonean, by any chance, is there a way one can get their hands on one of those books? Maybe they're on sell somewhere. I bought most of my books about Marshallese tales from Amazon.com or anywhere available online.
I feel the same, LaKevin. My grandparents used to tell us stories or tales about Marshall Islands before bedtime. I just wish I'd pay more attention.
edited by: BijBeto, Dec 17, 2008 - 08:55 PM
the ways you said, spear them and push them. it is not sound cheif racial respect way. that was gonna lot of mess and early 1800 to late 1900, how do we know time because in our history we had never have time keeper(calender). late 1900? and i was born about pairly late 1900 and i had never seen it...
I apologize if the story is a bit harsh to you. But it is only the truth. Get a hold of one of the books that the Ebeye school have and you will further understand what I am writing out.
No I have not seen any of the book on sale anywhere on the internet. Better way to find out is to find a way to contact Timothy Langinbalik whose teaching the subject in one of Ebeye's Public School.
First of all, you will need to know who recorded most of our ancient history and who saved them for us so we can have a little knowledge of it.
Second, the word of gospel did not arrive in the Marshall Islands until late 1900s. By saying 1900 I do not mean 1940 and above. If you were born during 1900 I can only guess you are the oldest person in the entire planet Earth.
Back to time calender,. Most of our ancient history were and was recorded by few "German". Later on translated and kept in "University of Hawaii" but I doubt they have all the record there at University of Hawaii. Of course, we did not have calender time, but the "whaler" did. During those periods the world was fighting over whale. As much as we know, they killed whale back then to make fuel out of them. That only was stop later on because of the discovery of so call "oil" from underground.
Do pardon me if my history isn't that good but I try to put as much as I know there.
About the messy and disrespect for the Chief. For your own record, there is nothing disrespect about a dead because dead person is a dead person.
That is like saying Leroij in nowadays which back then there was no such thing. So it cannot possibly be a disrespecting. Today you respect that, yesteryears we did not.
Yokwe yuk, kwo jela ke ta in (kolej in rak?) record in bwebwenato kein ad ra record wot imanlok jen 1800 kab 1900 ijoke ilo oral history ne kwar jela ta in kolej in rak inem kwo naj kar jela ta e ij kenono kake ne ura ne ear walok jen joi ne erebra jen namdrik atoll ak rej ba lan jab eo rejet eo juon mottan ej ijidrik ej lan eo juon mottan. 1857 eo ear itok nan in gospel nan ailin kein melelen bwe ilo torre kane an kaiboke ak ij kenono kin torre ko an iroj lanin 1500 ne kwar jela jitram im manit majoj im kwo naj kar jela men kein ak jab inebata bwe jenaj kenanik yuk bwe kwon jela botab tok elik ne ibar walintak emon ke kupy? P/s original kingroup name eo an rebra ne ej uri-lat ear kwalok ura the warrior!!!
Ewi wÃ£wein an men je in jerbal kiÃµ? Etke kar Rilojet im lok ukwÃµt tok LokÃµjaad?
Eokwe juÃµn aÃµ kajitÃµk. KwomaroÃ± ke in jouj im bar jeik aolepÃ£n naan kane am ke ejjelok juÃµn iaan kajin MajÃµl kane kwÃµj jeiki ij melele kake. Elap an libijinjin im aelebokjak. Ijjab lukkun melele kin aolepÃ£n naan kein am.
Errubra? Kolej in rak? Jolok bwÃµd ak iÃ±ak history jab ne ej itok jen ia, jouj im kemleleiki tok jidrik.
Ijo wÃµt ijelÃ£ ke "Errubra" ej jen "Jaluit" im ewÃµr bar juÃµn et rej aÃ±ÃµtÃ±Ãµt kake eo im rej naetan "Kallo". KiÃµ ne "ura" jen namdrik?
Eokwe, kemleleiki aolepÃ£n naan kane am im inaaj mÃµnÃµnÃµ in kajitÃµkin eok.
Ilo wÃµt kautiej im kamolol.
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