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Notes on the Geography of Micronesia (Pohnpei): Pohnpei: Photo 75

world pictures Micronesia (Pohnpei): Pohnpei

Another boundary marker. The Navy didn't stay long: the Trust Territory government was created in 1947. America's Man in Pohnpei was called the Distad, short for District Administrator. He was Hank Hedges, formerly the owner of a Chicago construction company.

By 1955 he had been Distad Pohnpei for seven years. Trumbull writes (p. 58): "Hank was the type of man who gave the impression that he would love wherever he was, and whatever he was doing.... Clad in his usual working costume of wide-brimmed native straw hat with a band of shell beads, flowered Hawaiian shirt, khaki Bermuda shorts, and Japanese sandals, Hank looked like 'Mr. South Seas' in person."

Not exactly the model of a British (or French or Dutch) colonial administrator. Was it a successful formula? According to Coulter (p. 279), Pohnpeians said that "under the Americans we do not have so much money [as we did under the Japanese], but we are more free."

That's the flattering interpretation. More realistically, the Americans never saw Pohnpei as an economically significant part of the United States and, accordingly, never cared much about it. Even in the early days of American administration, Oliver wrote (p. 87) that "the natives are restless and are becoming increasingly anxious about their future. They have been assured many times that a major program would be forthcoming.... Some native groups wonder if the government really intends to help them restore their prewar levels of living...."

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