Hello, this essay was about why, from a Tongan's point of view, do they move to America? What happened to them? What conflicts and changes did they go? what were there relationships with the kin they left behind like?
The format was to have 3 to 5 main reasons for their migration with examples from the book.
Thanks for taking some time to read this, Enjoy!
The village people of Tonga are underway in a transformation that will place an effect across the world. Due to increasing demands of today's basic needs, Tongans are taking part in a worldwide movement of immigration. From their home islands to places such as the U.S.A, Australia, and New Zealand, Tongans are moving in search of ways to support and maintain their family connections. However due to the widespread nature of these new transnational families, new changes must be made in order for these evolving kin to prosper. The courage to leave the village is not for personal pleasure; rather there are stronger reasons behind the actions that the people must make. Tongans are immigrating due to aspirations from the national governments, maintenance of families, lack of money, and to hold on to their traditions.
To help begin the wave of modern immigration, legislation has passed at national levels that have encouraged the global movement. First of all, Tonga in 1970's had a serious problem to solve. Along with an increased population, the land scarcity had become an issue. According to a government report, only 5% of Tonga's high school graduates would find paid employment (Small 1997: 52). This figure demanded a change in the traditional approach of increasing employment in the public sector, and applying various schemes to develop local industry. The government initiated this change by enabling Tongans to work overseas. This national movement cut back the rising demand in land, jobs, and population for the Tongan government. Not only had the Tongan government taken an interest in migration, the United States also had changed their laws to compensate for the new wave of migrants. The first of these new laws included visas that encouraged the uniting of families without a limit to the number granted to a country. The second included the "Fifth Preference" visa category allowing for the uniting of siblings. The effect that these national changes had on migration is clearly evidenced by the growing increase of migrants per year. By taking advantage of these new laws, the chance to immigrate had become an eminent possibility for many.
The most influential factor in a Tongan family's decision will be based upon the amount of income they are able to generate. The main source of income was derived from crops, copra making, wage labor, and handicrafts. Although Tongan men are entitled constitutionally to land, there is no land left to give (Small 1997: 144). Knowing that they will be working for low wages with no future developed a need for sources of greater earnings. This problem can be solved by means of migration. As explained by Malia, "You work a lot, and you get paid a lot, and you can buy good food." It was clear that for many, life overseas had become more developed than what they had. However, most of this new found income would quickly be consumed by overseas relatives. Bound by traditions, migrants must be able to balance their needs with the demands of relatives. Much of this relationship is strongly connected by remittances such as cash or manufactured goods back to Tonga. Although immigration can provide a solution for greater income, the issue of maintaining the family network begins to rise.
After initially deciding to immigrate, many subsequently make the journey due to efforts to bring over the family. To help support each other and increase their strength in numbers, many Tongans have adopted a "chain migration" strategy to effectively bring their relatives over. This would include bringing over their brothers and sisters and settling in the same communities. In the case of Manu and Eseta, they managed to bring more than 30 members of their extended families to the United States (Small 1997: 63). To make the opportunity even more enticing for new arrivals, the trips were provided by the family and there were no obligations to repay it. This in return granted many individuals the prospect to make immigration a reality. It was not uncommon for all of the children in a family to eventually find there home in America. Finally, with all of the requests for family members to make the voyage; immigration became a reality for the villagers that still remained in Tonga.
However, these new changes taking place in the family required immediate attention to preserve the cultural identity of Tongan's. To secure the culture of Tonga, more people had to immigrate to carry on traditions. The people had developed a system to maintain the "Tongan way" (anga fakatonga) to perceive reality in a Tongan approach. Contributing to one's family by offering love and kindness is a model of this behavior. By sustaining this method, relatives left on the island are able to receive support from transnational family members. However, in return for there efforts, Tongan-Americans rely on this process for retirement, network of aid in the United States, and assurance that future generations will serve as their network support as they settle down. A clear observation of the "Tongan way" can be identified through a case involving ideas fundamental to this belief. This includes a revolution in the production of tapa cloth resulting in half the materials required. By holding on to traditions, the immigrant's demand for traditional wealth has increased resulting in production changes that benefit the village. Finally through of the promotion of traditional activities, immigration is further encouraged to promote the village economy.
On the contrary, due to recent inflations and land shortage, the transnational family is forced to consider breaking obligations because they can no longer afford it. This in effect, creates an obstacle that prevents Tongan's from freely immigrating. Often it is the overseas migrants that continue to provide for relatives that fall into bankruptcy. Nevertheless, there are alternatives to alleviate the situation and provide a successful immigration strategy for modern Tongans. This can be accomplished by supporting fewer relatives and supplying smaller networks, or giving less than what is needed or wanted. Although, routine behavior in the village may be affected; one can conclude that these innovative modifications will result in greater benefits when success can be found through immigration.
As a result of these reasons, Tongan's are taking place in a worldwide migration. Beginning with encouragement from national governments, the road to immigration could not be made more apparent and accessible for local villagers. Yet in general, it is not personal freedom that most Tongans seek; many are in need of money that can not be obtained in Tonga alone. Therefore, many accept migration as a way to resolve this conflict and send money in the form of remittances to provide for the family back home. This reason alone resulted in greater amounts of Tongans migrating each year. However, it became clear that in order to successfully migrate; greater amounts of family needed to transfer. To achieve this, many families adopted a chain migration strategy which included bringing brothers and sisters to the same community through collective funds. This strategy could effectively allow up to entire families to migrate, providing explanation for increased immigration. Traditional responsibilities quickly took on a greater demand as the identity of Tonga had to be preserved through all of these changes. This was accomplished through the "Tongan way" and helped balance the problems due to migration in the village. Recently however, Tongan's have been confronted with the increasing problems of this belief. To continue immigrating, Tongan's must allow supporting fewer relatives or giving less money. Finally, the result of Tongan immigration is not only going to shape the fundamental aspects of the culture but introduce greater changes that will make every effort to successfully integrate traditional Tongan customs with the demands at hand.