village. He is usually a man over 40 years old who carries himself with assurance and dignity, lives in the most solidly built house, extends extraordinary hospitality, and is shown deference by the villagers.
To win the support of relatives and neighbors in order to launch a career toward bigmanship, a man must be forceful, even-tempered, tactful, industrious, and a good organizer. A man’s ambition to pursue such a career usually becomes apparent in his early thirties. When a man intends to strive toward bigmanship, he begins by cultivating larger gardens, a task for which he enlists the aid of close relatives. He also attempts to increase the size of his pig herd. When in time his gardens are flourishing and he has perhaps ten fat pigs and several smaller ones, the man makes it known that he wishes to build a new dwelling, one that is larger and better built than usual. This move is usually taken as a public declaration that he is a candidate for the highest honors of the village. The celebration to mark the end of the job, what the Kaoka-speakers call “the feast-to-remove-the-splinters,” is highly elaborate (M. Harris, 1974, 1977).
One such feast was that of Atana, a man who was already notable but not as yet a rival to the acknowledged village big man. Toward this feast, Atana and his immediate kinsmen contributed 250 pounds of dried fish, 3,000 yam cakes, 11 bowls of yam pudding, and 8 pigs. Other villagers attending the feast also brought along additional foodstuffs. When these were added to what was provided by Atana and his kinsmen, the final count was 300 pounds of fish, almost 5,000 yam cakes, 19 bowls of pudding, and 13 pigs. It was then Atana’s task to redistribute this food to all those who were in some way connected with the feast. By the time he was finished, he had made 257 separate presentations, and only the remnants were left for him. The Kaoka-speakers considered