Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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Article Index

Micronesia, Federated States of

Each of the country's four states has a different language and culture. Traditionally the state of Yap had a caste-like social system with high-status

villages, each of which had an affiliated low-status village. In the past those who came from low-status villages worked without pay for those with higher status. In exchange, those with higher status offered care and protection to those subservient to them. The traditional hierarchical social system has been

gradually breaking down, and capable people from low-status villages can rise to senior positions in society. Nonetheless, the traditional system affected contemporary life. Persons from low-status backgrounds tended to be less assertive in advocating for their communities' needs, and low-status communities sometimes continued to be underserved.

The national and state constitutions prohibit noncitizens from purchasing land, and foreign investment laws limit the types of businesses noncitizens can own and operate. The national Congress granted citizenship to non-Micronesians only in rare cases. There is no permanent residency status. For the most part, however, noncitizens shared fully in the social and cultural life of the country.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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