Everywhere one looks there are signs of cultural change: not just in the schools and the churches and the retail stores, but also in the political institutions, and in the household economy, and in the very heart of the family. These changes, which go well beyond the more obvious material changes, have touched the heads and hearts of most island people, even affecting some of their core beliefs and values. The quandary facing many young people today is how can you preserve your traditional culture while finding a place for yourself in a changing world. To stay completely traditional may not work but if you integrate completely into the modern world you may lose your sense of cultural identity. What is the right balance between the old and new? Finding balance can be a struggle and the answer can vary between groups. Change itself is not so much the problem as what it may lead to: the death of the culture. The Tongans, Tiv, Tana Toraja, O’odham, Gitxsan, New Guinean, and Waorani are some groups we have studied that face this problem today. Due to globalization many cultures have moved away from their traditional practices and because of this young people are losing their cultural identity. Traditional Tongan culture has changed due to ongoing interactions with outsiders. In the 19th century, with the arrival of Western traders and missionaries, Tongan culture changed dramatically. Many Tongans now live overseas, and send remittances home to family members who prefer to remain in Tonga. Tongans themselves often have to operate in two different contexts, the traditional Tongan way and the Western way. Tapa cloth was a large part of their traditional life. Tapa cloth is an art form made from the bark of a pandanus tree. Tapa cloth is no longer used for just personal family ceremonial, now it is used as a product for sale to tourists and to individual/ museum collectors overseas. Few young people are...
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