The Yap Legal System Essay

The Yap Legal System Essay

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In the article, “The role of custom and traditional leaders under the Yap constitution”, Brian Tamanaha explains the various traditions as well as the Yap legal system. The constitution of Yap consists of a common legislature—executive and judiciary—with a fourth branch dedicated solely for traditional leaders. Traditions and customs create rules and the methods they are abided by. According to Hart, every legal system has a set of rules directing people on how to live. Amidst foreign pressure Yap’s culture has proved resilient (Tamanaha, p.85). This essay will attempt to contrast and compare the Yapese legal structure to Hart’s theory of a legal system; it will respond to questions concerning the rule of recognition and how the Yapese survive within extreme inequality and injustice, but seem to accept it by recognizing the use of their traditions and culture. I strongly believe that Yap has accepted to live by its current customs and traditions even with all the adversely it has sustained. ”. Brian Tamaha claims that recognition is given to tradition in all aspects of Yapese life; nothing in the constitution can overrule any tradition or custom, my argument will support this statement and exemplify the different functions of traditions that the Yapese subsist by.
Yap is a traditionally limited state and has sustained numerous foreign occupation/rule, but still maintains it culture and has accepted the coexistence of tradition and western living (Tamanaha, 1988). A dominant feature in Yap culture is the caste system; this system divides the populace into nine sections, four being the lowest and five the highest. The high caste is superior to the low caste, and is owed labor from the latter without compensation (Tamanaha, p.84), w...


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...he radio station alternates between broadcasting Yapese love songs and American country music.” (Tamanaha, p.81)This quote clearly demonstrates the merger of tradition with western culture. The Yap has learned to accept western way of life with accordance to their supreme obligation to tradition. They have done this in all aspects of life, from pleasure and leisure to the discrimination the caste system grants.
The Yapese have endured numerous times of upheaval, from de-population and wide spread sickness to the constant presence of foreign states. The general populace recognizes tradition as a basis to live life on; Tradition is what always remained constant throughout Yapese existence.


REFRENCES
Brain Z. Tamanaha (1988). The Role of Custom and Traditional Leaders Under the Yap Constitution” University of Hawaii Law Review, vol. 10 (1988), pp. 81-104.


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