Standards of Control
Government is the primary means through which anti-social behavior is dealt with within Loko society.
(See Political Or., Government for more information)
Social shame (created by gossip, etc.) is also a powerful mechanism within Loko society to force conformity to cultural norms.
Fear of being killed by sorcery is also a strong deterrent.
Good behavior is rewarded by the societies approbation and in the gaining of prestige.
Areas of Control
Regard for human life.
Murder is a very serious crime and has been punished in different ways.
In the past when the "enemy" has murdered someone, that would initiate a series of "payback" murders. The transferring of fines (ie.
killing a pig and giving many epne shells) given by each party to the other has in the past brought an end to pay back killing.
When someone has been murdered, his relatives would demand retribution in the form of a very large fine. The mokmok stone has been
used in the past to pay for the crime of murder.
The killer/s tend to fear that additional revenge will be taken against them in the form of black magic.
How do they express regard for the person?
Offenses to the person are also punishable within the Loko judicial system.
Fighting, verbal arguments, slander, gossip, bad language, black magic that causes injury, and causing shame for some reason all carry a
fine to be paid as punishment.
Regard for marriage and sex.
Marriage is protected within the culture by making divorce a punishable act. If someone leaves their partner he/she will be forced to pay a
fine to his/her partner. In the past, the fines were relatively small but are much more costly as of late. These cases tend to be handled on a
formal governmental level.
Lack of respect shown to a married couple together is a serious offense.
Pre-marital and extra-marital sex relationships are punished. In the past, offenders were killed directly or dealt with by black magic. Today,
a large fine is prescribed.
Regard for the family.
Those negligent in family responsibilities are dealt with in various ways.
Being a lazy person and thus a poor provider incurs the disapproval of the community. He will be referred to as a "lazy good for nothing"
and thus being ashamed, he will be motivated to be more responsible.
Someone not caring properly for the elderly under his responsibility can be fined.
Improper behavior to ones inlaws are punished within the system.
Conflicts within the family (ie. arguing, fighting, stealing, bad language, etc.) can also be settled by paying fines.
Regard for economic relations and property.
Personal ownership of property is a theme within the Loko culture. Although the kinship system permits a broader base for borrowing and
lending because of the close extended family relationships.
There is an expected etiquette within these areas and those who don't live by the rules, culturally speaking (ie. failure to return borrowed
items, theft, constant borrowing [or begging] but never able to lend, etc.) can be dealt with within the system.
Regard for religious observances.
Within the Loko religious system there are customs that must be strictly observed. And those failing to obey can be punished.
Lack of adherence to a religious Missions rules can receive "divine" retribution.
(See World View, Types of Ritual for more information.)
Regard for ethical ideals and virtue.
Behavior that is unethical by Loko standards (but is not a direct violation of law) is generally handled by the social disapproval (within
the community) of the individuals behavior. He will thus be ashamed. The opposite is true for those who seek to adhere to the acceptable
What offenses tend to be handled by the informal (Loko) court system?
4. anytime blood is drawn
5. compensation for accidents on individuals property
6. causing someone shame
7. breaking taboos concerning inlaws, funerals, marriage
8. being responsible for damages on someone else's property
9. bad language
10. breaking taboos set up by the church
11. negligent in family obligations (ex. caring for elderly)
What offenses tend to be handled by the government court system?
5. black magic
6. negligence to pay a bride price
Pressure for Conformity (to standards)
How do they pressure one another into conforming to the cultural and government set standards
Adults lecture children and teenagers to encourage them to live culturally acceptable lives.
Adults lie to their children to achieve desired response.
They demonstrate anti-cultural behavior to be avoided through comical skits and plays.
They tell stories of incidents from the past as warnings of what not to do. (ex. drowning, committing suicide, breaking taboos)
Woman and children are taught to fear evil spirits that they use for social control.
Parents teach children proper sex roles and all cultural norms.
(ex. woman cook, men build fences)
What are some social rewards and penalties?
They gossip (usually exaggerating) about someone's bad conduct.
They will gather together and reprimand somebody for anti-social behavior.
Siblings will publicly strike a fellow sibling for anti-cultural behavior that causes shame to the family.
They cause individuals to be ashamed in the face of society.
They take away lineal positions.
They fight with the offender (and his clan) if need be.
They spear or work black magic against offenders.
They raise an individual's prestige by saying good things about him.
They do ceremonies to mark individuals as leaders.
The parents increase a child's prestige by paying to have certain customs performed upon them.
There is social approval for marrying culturally eligible marriage partners.
Are there any religious rewards and penalties?
To harm certain plants in a spirit inhabited area causes sickness, death, or lunacy.
If women see certain sacred objects it can result in black magic being performed on them and on whoever is responsible for them seeing
Spirits reward good behavior and punish bad behavior.
At the time of a death if someone carries on normal activities by failing to observe burial customs, this will result in fine payment, or the
spirit will punish that individual.
Saying their in-law's name is punishable by paying a fine or their children becoming sick.
If they don't work for the mission then they are told something bad will happen to them or there will be sickness in their family.
If they don't participate in mission activates they are labeled as satanic.
If they marry more than one wife or if they are not baptized they can not participate in communion which make them ineligible candidates
Do the Loko people have any sort of security arrangements?
Their biggest form of security and insurance is their fellow clan members who help them in fights, help them pay court fines, etc.
They hide their valuables in the jungle.
They try to keep good relationships with others so they won't steal from them.
They give things away when they are asked for.
They use locks on their houses.
They put taboo signs to protect their property.
If they leave they will ask someone to watch their property.
They do an incantation to keep people from stealing or ruining their gardens.
They mark their pigs to keep others from killing them.
Reactions of Society to Violations
What forms of crime detection do the Loko people practice?
1. They do a ritual using ginger root. First they do an incantation on it then they call each suspects name and poke the ginger root
pointing it in the suspects direction. If the bone does not go all the way through then the person is guilty.
2. They perform another ritual with ginger root or another ritual object by doing a incantation on it and then sleeping with it. They then
have a dream envisioning the guilty part.
3. Another ritual they do is to find the offenders foot print and place a wild taro leaf over it. After doing an incantation on a fish bone they
poke the leaf. This causes the guilty parties leg to swell up and thus the guilty party is known.
4. They do another ritual making the suspects wash their hands in water. This causes the guilty persons hands to swell or he may have a
5. They also track down the person if they can find a trail.
6. It is generally understood that anyone giving evidence to help find the guilty party will receive a reward.
7. They also trick the guilty party into telling by offering a reward, etc.
Who does the judging?
The "big men" generally take on the responsibility of hearing the arguments in a case and helping to decide the verdict.
Any cases not reconciled by the "big men" will then be taken before the civil magistrate or regional court.
(See Social Organization, Social Recognition for more information)
How does a typical "court" proceed among the Loko people?
It is usually initiated by one of the concerned parties sending a message to all those who are or will be involved, to the "big men" and to
the people in general. All the people in an area will usually gather to hear the discussion.
Then the case is discussed. Both parties will present their arguments before all the people and the offended party will usually then set the
amount for the fine. If the case is clear and the offender is guilty, then the discussion is finished and it is left for the offender to pay the
fine. If the case is left unresolved, then it can go to civil court under the government system. In the past, the two parties would probably
have fought if it remained unsettled.
Smaller offenses are generally handled in a low key manner. The offended will take his case to the offender (usually using an intermediary)
and ask him to pay the fine for his offense. If unresolved, then it can go before the "big men" and people.
What would be a "typical" penalty (culturally speaking) for a particular crime?
Small fight: 1 "epne" shell or..
Big fight w/shed blood: 5 shells or a pig or..
Argument: 1 shell
Bad gossip: 2 of something (shells, string shell, money)
Talking bad to someone: 1 or 2 of something
Someone injured while working for you: 1 shell or
Laughing behind the back: 1 or 2
Saying inlaws name or going above head: 3 bad or one good shell
Small theft: 1 shell
Big theft: 10 shells or
Adultery: 10 or 20 shells or
An unmarried couple: 2 shells or
Married man w/single girl: 10 shells
Murder (by black magic or): pig, 50 shells, mokmok stone