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Ethnology of Tokelau Islands


Loin cloths and simply-cut dresses of Manchester print or white cotton cloth have taken the place of the former native clothing. This change has occurred because imported cloth is more durable and its use eliminates the arduous work of preparing and plaiting leaf material. Also the missionary disapproved of the scant native apparel and the natives desired to imitate the missionaries. On Sundays the natives wear shirts and coats, dresses trimmed with lace, and women's hats bought from the trading schooner. During the week the men wear a loin cloth (lava lava) and the women a simple homemade cotton dress with a lava lava either underneath or over the skirt. The men wear felt hats or native-made hats of split coconut leaflets fashioned in European style. These hats have supplanted the plaited coconut leaf eyeshades as protection for the head and eyes of the fishermen.

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