Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull.


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In the social order the term ka’ioi was anciently used to designate all males and females from adolescence to the time of settling down with more or less permanent mates to raise families. In other words, it included all individuals described by the terms mahai and poko’ehu, youth and maid. Ka’ioi signified in no way an organization but rather a native convention that approached a social institution. Every native during the years of adolescence and early maturity literally ran wild. . . . During this phase of their life youths and maids were totally free sexually. An old European resident of the Marquesas has told me that it seems to be an irresistible instinct with natives of both sexes to run wild for a few years after adolescence, in pursuit of amusement in general, but of the satisfaction of their abundant sexual appetite in particular. A girl was looked down upon in native society if she did not run wild in this way, to withdraw from the others being thought unnatural and hence something to be ashamed of. Although youths and maids at this period usually lived at home, they had absolute freedom. A mother’s pride was greatest and it was a matter of boasting if her daughter had the greatest number of suitors in her train. A party consisting of one girl with from ten to twenty youths would sometimes spend the night together in the bush. A favorite pastime was the making of nests in the bush and spending the night in pairs or in small groups. Du Petit-Thouars says that some of the young girls did not attain puberty before leaving the paternal roof. Being their own mistresses, they went their own way, abandoned themselves to every caprice, led the most licentious life that can be imagined, until at last each attached herself to one, who having obtained the place of preference in her heart, wished to become her husband.1

1Handy, E.S. C.n/an/an/an/a, "The Native Culture in the Marquesas," , 9: 39–40.


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Chicago: "Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull.," Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed February 23, 2024,

MLA: . "Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull." Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull., Vol. 9, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 23 Feb. 2024.

Harvard: , 'Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull.' in Bernice P. Bishop Mus., Bull.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 23 February 2024, from