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

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Another boundary marker. The Trust Territory government was created in 1947, and the Navy handed administration over to the Department of the Interior in 1951. America's Man in Pohnpei was the Distad, short for District Administrator. He was Hank Hedges, formerly the owner of a Chicago construction company.

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."

Bluntly, the Americans never cared much about Micronesia. 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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