SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany Review of Learning

During a traditional sakau ceremony in Pohnpei...

  1. Do you enter the front or back of a nahs when you walk in?
  2. The first cups contain more of a compound that is pschoactive and numbs the lips, what is that compound? (Dihydrokavain (DHK)| Dihydromethysticin |(DHM) Kavain)
  3. Can you "hang" your legs over the edge of the nahs during a formal sakau ceremony?
  4. Who sits down by the peitehl (sakau stone)?
  5. When not in use, can objects be placed on the peitehl or can people sit on the peitehl?
  6. For whom is the left front peitehl reserved (left as you enter the nahs)?
  7. What shape are the platforms?
  8. Who sits up on the platforms?
  9. What is the arrangement of people on the platforms?
  10. When sakau (Piper methysticum) is brought into the nahs are only the roots brought in or is the whole plant brought in?
  11. When men sit in the middle of the nahs, what items of clothing are they to remove?
  12. How is the root prepared for squeezing?
  13. What is keidihd?
  14. Are women allowed to pound sakau?
  15. Are women allowed to squeeze (wungwung) sakau?
  16. What is sokama or tehmpehl?
  17. Once the sakau is pounded (mut), the preparers play a "tune" on the sakau stone. Why?
  18. The squeezing is done using which part of the hibiscus tree bark?
  19. Sakau is used the following ceremonies: Apology, asking a father for his daughter, christening party, festival (komadipw), presentation of first fruits to the king (nahnmwarki), first year birthday party for a baby, funeral, welcoming a special guest, alu mwur
  20. The nahnmwarki is the king and the nahnken is the second highest title in a kingdom. Can a nahnken rise to the rank of nahnmwarki?
  21. Who has the higher title at the front of the nahs, the man on the left or the man on the right?
  22. The people in front of nahnmwarki and nahnken serve the nahnmwarki and nahnken. Under what conditions would these servers drink the sakau?
  23. At what point can the reason for the gathering be announced?
  24. In Sokehs, how many cups must be served before anyone can speak?
  25. Who gets the first cup?
  26. Who gets the second cup?
  27. Who gets the third cup in Sokeh's?
  28. To whom did the third cup go in our ceremony and why?
  29. Who gets the fourth cup?
  30. Do all of the municipalities use the same number of special "cups"?
  31. What happens after the "special" cups?
  32. When can everyone relax, move around?
  33. After the special cups, does the cup come to you or do you go to the cup to drink?
  34. How would you categorize Piper methysticum as a plant on Pohnpei?

Nahnmwarki: King or paramount chief
Nahnken: Second highest title, highest title in Nahnken line
Nahnalik: Wife of Nahnmwarki in Sokehs, Kitti, Uh
Likun: Wife of Nahnmwarki in Madolehnihmw, U
Wasai: Second title in Nahnmarki line


  1. What was your reaction to the sakau ceremony?
  2. Should ethnobotany classes in future terms attend a sakau ceremony?
  3. Why?