The Culture of the Tuvaluan People

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Anna Hansen, Writer

The country Tuvalu is one of the least visited countries in the world.  According to, “. . .Tuvalu reported 1,000 tourists in this year’s report from UNWTO”.  As you can tell, Tuvalu is a country that not many people have heard of, causing its wonderful culture to not be shared with the world.  Even if their culture was attempted to be shared, it couldn’t be. According to, “Already, two of Tuvalu’s nine islands are on the verge of going under, the government says, swallowed by sea-rise and coastal erosion . . . Tuvalu could become uninhabitable in the next 50 to 100 years. Locals say they feel it could be much sooner.”  From all of the statistics, it is clear that the islands of Tuvalu are disappearing, and with them the culture of the people living there.  


Tuvalu is a country built around community, which is largely involved in their culture.  According to, “Most Tuvaluans live in villages of a few hundred people”.  With such a small amount of people, it is clear that having a good community would be strongly encouraged in this country.  An example that shows their strong community comes from where it says, “Tuvaluan life, despite modernization, still rests on a firm traditional base that emphasizes the importance of community consensus and identity.”  From this quote we can tell that to the Tuvaluans, making sure that everyone is heard is important to them which is why they find it important to have a community consensus.  Some evidence from that suggests Tuvaluans strong sense of community says, “Tuvalu has a strong tradition of volunteerism, whereby persons and families present food, services, and money to the community on occasions such as a child’s educational achievement or a wedding.”  This quote demonstrates what a community-based country Tuvalu is by showing how they are willing to help others in their community. Overall, Tuvalu’s culture is very based on their strongly encouraged community.


Food is another important part of the Tuvaulian people’s culture.  One important means of food to the Tuvaluans is the pulaka. According to, “The most important cultivated plant is pulaka (swamp taro), grown in large pits dug into the top layer of a freshwater lens, and valued for its resistance to drought and high salinity.” A quote that shows the food they eat comes from saying, “Also of importance to the daily diet are coconut palms. . . pandanus, bananas, and breadfruit. Fish was traditionally the main source of dietary protein.”  Well, these commonly eaten foods show a bit about the culture of the people on Tuvalu, the people’s big feast show even more about how food is a main part of their culture.  On it says, “Feasts consist of the daily staples, but in larger quantities, and with the addition of pork and fowl meat. . . and occasional treats such as wild birds and turtle.”  These feasts show that the Tuvaluan people’s culture is deeply connected to the food they eat and the feasts they have together. Clearly, the Tuvaluan people’s culture is connected to the food that they eat on their islands.