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2005 Sonsorol Community Profile

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Total Population: 100

Population Breakdown [+]

Males: 57

Females: 43

Under 5 yrs: 8

5-9 yrs: 12

10-14 yrs: 8

15-19 yrs: 8

20-24 yrs: 2

25-34 yrs: 19

35-44 yrs: 26

45-54 yrs: 12

55-64 yrs: 2

65 yrs & up: 3

Located about 350 miles south of Koror, Sonsorol State, is undisturbed and peaceful. Sonsorol and Hatohobei states make up the Southwest Islands of Palau. Sonsorol State is made up of 4 small islands, Dongosaro, Fanna, Melieli, and Puro. These small island communities are culturally and linguistically related and are closely related to the Central Caroline Islands, but are politically part of the Republic of Palau. The Carolinian ancestry of these islanders make them skilled canoe builders and expert navigators, using only the wind, waves, and stars as their guide.

Intricate tatoo designs derived from bird, fish and canoe shapes, were unique to the people of this region in traditional times. The body tatoo represents, "Uakhauakh", which literally means love, respect, honor, care, admiration, etc. in Sonsorolese language. The art of tatoo is given by the parents to their children symbolizing the cultural pride, prestige, and integrity and as a token of heritage. Culturally, not everyone had to have a body tatoo. People of a prominent status and those able to afford the payment for this art, can have the body tatoo. The tatoo "ma-ake"(above)is a design specifically for males and is depicted on the back of the body.

Many of the people from the South West Islands have moved to Koror to take advantage of the schooling and employment
opportunities available in town. They keep in contact with their home islands by taking trips on the field trip ship which travels the open seas. Those still living on the islands make their living from fishing, and carving handicrafts such as model canoes and wood figurines known as "monkeymen".
(Source: "Oltobed A Malt", Belau National Museum)

Youth Age 12-20 = 16