Bronislaw Malinowski's book The Sexual Life of Savages was a study of the culture Trobriand Island people of Papua New Guinea.
A map of PNG showing their location is at http://www.janeresture.com/trobriand_postcards1/index.htm.
Lonely Planet says of PNG:
Travelling in PNG can be challenging. With almost no tourism infrastructure and limited information available in books and on websites, it can feel like you’re stepping into the great unknown. But this is exactly why travellers find this country so compelling. Nothing is contrived for tourists and every experience is authentic - even the main island of Bougainville is a largely DIY travel experience. The striking natural beauty and myriad complex cultures offer some riveting and truly life-affirming experiences. The island of New Guinea, of which Papua New Guinea is the eastern part, is only one-ninth as big as Australia, yet it has just as many mammal species, and more kinds of birds and frogs. PNG is Australia’s biological mirror-world. Both places share a common history going back tens of millions of years, but Australia is flat and has dried out, while PNG is wet and has become mountainous. As a result, Australian kangaroos bound across the plains, while in PNG they climb in the rainforest canopy. ==
Trobriand Island girls doing the "Tapioka Dance":
Young Traditionally Dressed Women from the Trobriand Islands:
Aroma Dancers - Aroma Coast - Central Province:
Photos of village life at Aroma (register at http://www.pngbd.com to see them):
(1) Update on Malinowski: The Trobriands Art of Persuasion, by Nancy Sullivan
(2) Nancy Sullivan's private Anthropology company - employs indigenous Anthropologists
(3) Chinese "invasion" of Papua New Guinea - Nancy Sullivan
(4) Alternative to logging and mining - Crater Mountain wildlife management area, in PNG
(5) On the wild side: Walkabaut in Irian Jaya (West Papua province of Indonesia)
(6) Rock Art of the Karawari, in PNG - Nancy Sullivan
(7) PNG women are the first beneficiaries of social change - Nancy Sullivan
(1) Update on Malinowski: The Trobriands Art of Persuasion, by Nancy Sullivan
The Trobriands Art of Persuasion
by Nancy Sullivan
The Trobriands are like nowhere else in PNG. So remote and yet so complex, locked into a Massim-wide trade in shell valuables, and characterised by matrilineality and a system of chiefs, the Trobriands are a busy, industrious island cluster. They are far from the sleepy South Sea islands they appear to be, although they cast that impression by their palm-lined white sandy beaches, surrounded by clear blue seas, and the unmistakable fact that the Trobrianders are beautiful people. Wiped by Malay-Chinese traders thousands of years ago, these are Melanesians stamped with the fine features of the Asian forefathers. And this beauty is an important part of their culture, because Trobrianders are masters of the art of persuasion. In youth, this might more aptly be called seduction. Young people use their beauty to pull lovers, enhancing it with shells, oil, flowers and, most importantly, love magic. As they grow older, such skills are refined into the arts of charm and persuasion, where other kinds of magic are used to lure trade partners, lovers and political allies into one's sphere of conquest.
Youngsters depend on adults to become beautiful: they must be given the coquettish banana fibre skirts, the ornate kula valuables and the secret magic spells that make them irresistible. At every public ceremony parents can be seen primping and perfecting their children's appearance, because a child's ability to influence his or her peers will be increasingly important in their future. But children are also constantly adorning themselves, placing fragrant flowers and herbs into their armbands, fashioning wreaths of hibiscus for their hair, and mastering the jaunty walk and evasive smile that heightens their appeal.
It is the art of influencing others while resisting their influence over you that becomes important as children grow into adults. Being able to acquire powerful magic spells that control the thoughts of would-be lovers develops into a more serious skill. Once married, Trobs men and women both hone their abilities to influence the feelings and desires of others. A woman may want to persuade her brother to give her the best yams of his garden, or a man may wish to influence a kula partner into giving up a prized necklace or armshell. Because Trobrianders believe everyone's desires are their own, and that mere argument is unlikely to change someone's mind, they focus on all the more indirect and subtle means of persuasion, from physical allure to gifts of betelnut, yams and shells valuables, to the elaborate love potions, gardening magic and kula spells.
If village life were as regimented and predictable as it sometimes appears, there would be no need for such skills. But in fact, even in a chieftainship where social and political status is inherited, women still compete to become master of ceremonies at special mortuary proceedings, called sagalis, where they will also gain acclaim by exchanging more of the banana fibre wealth they have spent many months producing. They charm and seduce men into favourable trade relations, and to secure better gardening lands from their uncles and brothers. Men also use their powers of influence to gain support of his wife's relatives, to have them produce more yams for him, and to assist in the complex activity of kula. Likened to three-dimensional chess, kula is a game of will, patience, memory and most of all persuasion. It is the only system of exchange like it in all of Melanesia, where equal but unlike valuables are continually moved from partner to partner around a ring of island throughout the Massim, passing slowly over vast distances, across languages and cultures, never removed from the ring, and always, systematically, tracked by all players at all times. Necklaces move in a clockwise direction as armshells move in another. And one armshell of a certain value must be exchange for a necklace of equal value. Players are required to anticipate the exchanges of their scores of partners' partners', to second-guess which piece will be coming to whom, and to negotiate their current exchanges in terms of what they hope will come their way in the future. Partners may send gifts of fish, betelnut, yams--they may arrange marriages and political alliances to persuade partners to favour them in an exchange several years down the track when a certain historic, yellowed, engraved and especially valuable kula shell comes their way.
Kula is nothing if not a game of influence. And, just as women will achieve reputations for being alluring and influential, men gain renown for their skill at kula. Indeed, in a matrilineal society, where land and titles are reckoned through the mothers and sisters of a family, and where men work for their nieces and nephews rather than their own children, it is kula that makes men famous. They gain status in life and live through history by their achievements at kula. And with the valuables they have worked so hard to win--but which must eventually be traded away--men will decorate their sons and daughters for ceremonial occasions. In this way, while bequeathing them nothing, they give them the gift of adornment and beauty, and in so doing provide that very important edge in the competitive art of persuasion.
Sometimes persuasion isn't subtle. A couple of years ago I watched a new masawa kula canoe being launched from Kaduaga village on Kaileuna Island. It was filled with twenty men vigorously paddling across the wide bay that shelters Kaduaga, while several outriggers pushed out from the shore. These were filled with women with piles of garden produce at their feet. They raced out toward the men and started pelting them with pawpaw, guavas, yams and bananas, bellowing insults and, as they reached the large slower canoe, trying to scramble aboard. The men kicked and pushed them away, laughing and cursing them back, but eventually the women gained purchase and boarded the canoe to the cheers of villagers lining the shore. One by one, the men jumped and dove off into the shallows, racing toward the beach. Within minutes they were running into the bush. But just as quickly, the women also abandoned the kula canoe and fled off in urgent pursuit. Nothing coy about this. When beauty, magic, little gifts, great skirts, jewellery and hair fail you; when gentle hints and kindness don't do the trick, just get out there and hunt him down!
No one has been able to explain this aspect of Trobs culture better than Annette Weiner. Following in the footsteps of Bronislaw Malinowski, the father of twentieth century anthropology, Weiner was able to build upon the insights of that great scholar, who spent two years in the Trobriands between 1915 and 1917, and who wrote four great books and several articles on Trobriands culture, and shed new light on the life and productive activities of Trobriands women. Weiner tilted the lens on Malinowski's work, viewing the Trobs from a woman's perspective. In so doing, she could draw the brilliant, now sensible, connections between so many aspects of Trobs culture by highlighting what seemed obvious to her--but hadn't been so obvious to Malinowski--about the lifelong need to ëwin friends and influence people' in the Trobriands.
Sadly, Annette Weiner passed away recently. She was all too young, and will be sorely missed by the students, colleagues and her friends in the Trobriands. Certainly she herself had mastered the art of persuasion, having served as the President of the American Anthropological Association and become a Dean of New York University. Her work, especially her Trobriands ethnography, ëWomen of Value, Men of Renown', survives, continually circulating like a piece of precious kula, creating networks of cross-cultural understanding and always, without end, building Annette's personal renown.
Copyright © 1999-2009 Nancy Sullivan Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.
Nancy Sullivan Ltd. & Associates
P.O. Box 404, Madang 511, Papau New Guinea
675 852 3800 - email@example.com
(2) Nancy Sullivan's private Anthropology company - employs indigenous Anthropologists
This website is for my anthropology consulting company based in Madang, Papua New Guinea. I am an anthropologist with 22 years of experience in PNG, and my company now comprises myself as well as several former students from the PNG Studies Department of Divine Word University.
We provide a variety of services from workshop production to all kinds of ethnographic research. We have conducted research in major conservation zones, performed social and socioeconomic impact studies for different development projects, provided ethnographic training for NGO and CBO staffers, and conducted workshops in the culture of PNG for expatriate workers. We are also experts in the Participatory Rural Appraisal and Rapid Rural Appraisal.
Having evolved from an ecotours and ecotourism training company, we are also experts in the field of training ICAD or WMA communities in how to establish tourism in rural settings. This includes how to design and operate a guesthouse, conduct trekking tours, bookkeep, and market the business.
We are the experts, offering the longest and most varied expertise in the field, and the most capable of trainers, researchers and analysts.
Thank you for visiting!
Nancy Sullivan & Children from PNG
P.S. You can read more about my life's work and see more photos from Papua New Guinea on my weblog/photoblog at www.nancysullivan.typepad.com!
(3) Chinese "invasion" of Papua New Guinea - Nancy Sullivan
Telling right from wrong Kongkong
October 07, 2009
When we tear our hair out over Chinese corruption these days, we need to be alittle more specific. Kongkong seems to refer to everyone who’s ‘ai slip’ these days, and for people who get touchy about being glommed together and stereotyped, this can be hypocritical.
It is common nowadays to hear people caveat the old Chinese when they slam the new. Not our Chinese, they say, but the new ones---they’re the enemy. We love our own Chinese, they’re our music business, our construction business, our supermarkets, and even our Members of Parliament. So many fled south when the kina dropped in the nineties, but they still have a romantic presence across PNG.
The Chinese have been in Papua New Guinea for over 120 years, and some of our most prominent citizens descend from this first wave. The Tams of Rabaul, the Paks and Chans of New Ireland, the Cheggs of Madang, the Kuis and Chows of Lae, the Seetos of Port Moresby, just to name a few, are all old guard Chinese PNG families, no longer in-married, they’re largely assimilated and in some cases hardly recognizable as Chinese at all.
Today's new Malaysian Chinese, for example, are the Rimbunan Hijau Group, and they’re from Malaysia, mainly Borneo (or Sarawak, for be specific) as well as Indonesia and Singapore. After fifteen years of Rimbunan Hijau’s strategic efflorescence in PNG, chain-sawing through forests everywhere, they now have a mosque and the largest private home in the Capital city. RH very strategically established a national newspaper (taking a page from classical colonialism), and opened retail stores in Port Moresby. Lest anyone doubt the power RH wields in high offices, you need only observe that every criticism of their logging operations attracts equally vehement defense from government quarters, usually reducing critics to ‘NGO ideologues’ even as the international press is far more scathing than domestic reportage.
Then there are the new People Republic Chinese, an entirely different breed again. Suddenly these newcomers made RH interlopers look like indigenes, bringing in all their dubiously work-permitted troops at once. When the government of China broke ground on its Ramu-Nickel project in Madang, under a generous tax holiday and in a deal that allows them to retain the entire output of the mine, people finally began to balk. What RH could get away with in remote corners of remote provinces was one thing, but here open-cut mining and submarine tailing disposal without an environmental plan---and no consultation with the greater impact area of Madang---quickly brought Asian resentment to a head. What happened to our constitution?, people started to ask. What about the laws of the land? Rhonda Nadile, a Labour Department executive, freely admitted that labour laws are circumvented at Ramu Nickel because of the project’s importance.
Some might say the Chinese are really ciphers for the growing anger at the national government, all the provincial and national leaders who’d obviously rolled over for the Ramu mine and lined their pockets for Chinese businesses in Moresby. While PNG workers at MCC were living in tents with open pit toilets, more than a few national politicians were enjoying new cars, homes and sweethearts earned by their compatriot’s sweat and tears.
The person who lost the most in the bargain was Sir Michael Somare, because for many in PNG, the Ramu Nickel deal, and the way he scoffed at anti-Chinese rioters as opportunists and complainers, was the last nail in the coffin of the Grand Chief’s reputation. What happened to that proud Melanesian statesman who refused to remove his shoes for the Australian Customs officials? He looks more like an old mandarin with bound feet these days.
The last wave of mainland Chinese are the riffraff who have come through the cracks, arriving as dependents or temporary businesspeople, and morphing into trade store operators, gamblers, club owners and market stall sellers everywhere. Before we get too sympathetic at these battlers in their kai bars, let’s recall that this group has also brought with them the Chinese Triads. Like smuggling Satan into Sunday school---we were wide open to this, and completely unprepared.
Back in 2005, a blogger called ‘Merchant’ on a Chinese-community web site explained Port Moresby to another Singaporean Chinese who was interested in coming to work in Port Moresby.
[T]here is a small Singaporean community [in Port Moresby]. Many are in fact Malaysians with Singapore company credentials…The local Towkay is someone called Ting Tan who owns a chain of department stores and comes originally from a place called Kelang in Malaysia. He is localised having already married locally. His shops may be a starting point for you. The People at Rimbunan Hijau who constantly eat at a place called Fu Gui (a Chinese stall type restaurant) could be the other point of call… The Yacht club is perhaps a good place to meet some of the international community. But even there the Whites tend to keep aloof and to themselves whilst the Chinese are compelled to do the same to an extent.
But more telling than this description of ethnic enclaves is the advice he has for the prospective Moresbyite:
You should have a car as public transport is not only dangerous but also unreliable and virtually non existent to civilized standards. A maid is something you will have to sort out once there. They too have to be checked out. They are patently inefficient, averse to work and dishonest. I know it sounds terribly racist and alarmist but that’s a fact and don't wait to experience it before having to learn.
Fortunately, a few other Port Moresby-based Chinese voiced disapproval at his assessments, and one pointed response came from a respondent called ‘Meriasples’:
Merchant, if you are so negative and racist, I wonder why you came to PNG? To make money, as a businessman or through the "high risk allowance" you asked from you employer?
This is the heart of PNG’s simmering unrest: to be called uncivilized, lazy and dishonest by people who appear to have arrived illegally, assume Papua New Guineans are an easy touch, and are earning ‘hardship pay’ to live at the highest echelons of Port Moresby society.
Another blogger, elsewhere, tells a different story:
I was going through the immigration at Cairns in 2004 as a Chinese about my age presented with a PNG Passport. He was asked to provide alternative identity like a birth certificate he refused exclaiming that he was a Papua New Guinean. So the female officer asked him where he was born because his passport had been issued post Independence. The guy became quite angry say he would not answer her, so she held the passport for me to see and asked if I could pronounce the birthplace which was Lombrom, but they guy could not say where he was born or where Lombrom was and in a rage he turned at me and said that I could not tell him where the place was. I just smirked and said Manus Is. The chap flew off the handle and they called the Police in and locked him in the detention area, the lass thanked me for my co-operation, but I was quietly pleased that he had been caught out and there needs to be more of it in PNG.
The old and new Chinese have generally separate orbits, although some bleed between new Singaporeans and old Chinese can be found every evening at the Golden Bowl in Port Moresby, for example, where friends and relatives share noodles and Cantonese gossip about what they all have in common: Brisbane.
Then last year the news arrive like an epidemic: the mafia were amongst us. The new Chinese, far form being economic refugees, were predatory imperialists, PNG’s brand new cash economy suddenly their manifest destiny. Media reports from the Solomons tipped us off that Chinese mafia there had arrived from Port Moresby, where they were running a prostitution ring that serviced (guess what?) Malaysian logging camps.
Asian prostitution is nothing new, and not restricted to the Chinese. PNG politicians have been caught importing Indonesian girls in from Vanimo, and a thriving sex trade at Filipino tuna boats has been operating for years now.
In November last year 104 illegal Chinese mine workers were arrested in immigration and labour raids. At the end of the year, a minister in the Solomon Islands, Clement Rojumana, was arrested over his alleged role in the corrupt granting of citizenship certificates to Chinese. In Fiji it is estimated that 7000 illegal Chinese had entered in the past two years---a number surpassed only by PNG, where some estimates say there are 20,000 mainland, Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean Chinese in residence.
This year The Melbourne Age told us these Triads had infiltrated and corrupted the highest levels of PNG’s police force. Sixteen senior PNG policemen were implicated with Chinese residents in PNG on charges of people smuggling, money laundering, prostitution, illegal gambling, fraud and theft. It appeared that PNG might be used as stop-over point in smuggling Chinese to Australia. Then Ben Kimisopa himself was quoted as saying: “Chinese mafia have bought off officials throughout the system...they are operating illegal businesses, they are siphoning money out, corrupting government officials, colluding with police and making attempts to kill officials as well.”
One Police Officer told AAP reporter Ilya Gridneff that the Chinese presence is in the force is all-pervasive. “It’s not just the police but everywhere along the chain, if they weren’t able to get in, then police wouldn’t be able to take their bribes,” he said. “If it is this bad now, imagine in five years time.”
But again, they cannot be painted with one brush. Gridneff gives us the Hollywood twist to the tale of the Chinese mafia:
A former Chinese dissident gets deported and growing anti-Chinese violence breaks out while the power of the local Asian mafia rises amid claims of widespread police corruption. It sounds like a plot for a Hollywood action thriller, but it’s just a slice of everyday life in Papua New Guinea. The opening scenes would show former Chinese government dissident Gu Kai being forced awake from his sleep and taken from his Port Moresby home, beaten by police, blindfolded, then taken hostage and driven to the outskirts of town. In a hotel room he is beaten again, forced to sign affidavits accusing the PNG police commissioner of corruption and when he refuses, the beatings continue. Next morning police and immigration department officials take the luggage-less, passport-less, battered and bruised man to the airport and deport him to Hong Kong. Allegations arise that behind the deportation is a mysterious mainland Chinese woman who was previously deported for alleged Asian mafia dealings. The plot thickens as it reveals some Chinese businesses may have financially contributed to the “operational costs” involved for those police to expel Gu Kai. Gu Kai was not just one of the thousands of “new Chinese” suspected of illegally living and working in PNG, he was also a vocal critic and vehement campaigner against corruption and alleged Chinese businesses’ illegal activities and illegal workers. And he was believed to be a police, tax office and National Intelligence Organisation informant. But other PNG officials say Gu Kai was simply protecting his own illegal interests, speaking out to stifle his competition.
Chief Superintendent Sam Bonner, the Police force’s legal officer, is said to have perverted the course of justice last year by interfering with an investigation into illegal gambling in Port Moresby. Mr Bonner tried to halt a raid on a venue housing pokie-like horse-racing machines owned by alleged crime figure Albert Khoo, who was said to have at least four police on his payroll.
National Gaming Board chairman Nat Koleala told The Melbourne Age that gangs had placed a $700,000 contract on his head for speaking out against illegal gaming. After several bomb threats, a hand grenade was thrown at the house of his registrar.
But even we were to ferret out the Triads, we’d still be left with the Chinese government. The developing world has welcomes China’s sales pitch of easy credit and no structural reform strings attached. As a result, there are new roads, power plants and telecommunications networks across Africa, all financed by low-interest loans from the Chinese government’s Exim Bank.
Increasingly, though, this deal seems to come with its own catch. Sharon LaFraniere and John Grobler of The New York Times tell us,
China’s aid must be used to buy goods or services from companies, many of them state-controlled, that Chinese officials select themselves. Competitive bidding by the borrowing nation is discouraged, and China pulls a veil over vital data like project costs, loan terms and repayment conditions. Even the dollar amount of loans offered as foreign aid is treated as a state secret. Anticorruption crusaders complain that secrecy invites corruption, and that corruption debases foreign assistance.
“China is using this financing to buy the loyalty of the political elite,” said Harry Roque, a University of the Philippines law professor who is challenging the legality of Chinese-financed projects in the Philippines. “It is a very effective tool of soft diplomacy. But it is bad for the citizens who have to repay these loans for graft-ridden contracts.”
In fact, such secrecy runs counter to international norms for foreign assistance. In a part of the world prone to corruption and poor governance, it also raises questions about who actually benefits from China’s projects. The answers, international development specialists say, are hidden from public view.
…“Our enterprises must conform to international rules when running business, must be open and transparent, should go through a bidding process for big projects and forbid inappropriate deals and reject corruption and kickbacks,” Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, told a group of Chinese businessmen in Zambia in 2006.
But China has no specific law against bribing foreign officials…
It is too simplistic to say that this Look East trend is an ideological flick of the head away from looking South. It’s really about greed, and arguably about the last days of an elder statesman anxious to leave his stamp across the country before retiring to soft pillows and foot bathes for the rest of his days. Forests are being recklessly logged, feeder roads cutting swathes bigger than interstate highways just to reach areas that will harvest more hardwood, in the name of palm oil, resource extraction and a hasty idea of ‘urbanization’---which appears to be constituted of little more than noodle stalls and knick knack stores, with no plumbing or waste disposal plans. As one Globe and Mail reporter recently described it:
Chinese engineers landed in Papua New Guinea in 2006 to inspect their latest mineral acquisition, they faced an arduous journey through the tropical wilderness. They drove over crumbling roads to the Ramu River, then found natives with dugout canoes to paddle them upstream. Next, they hired another team of locals with machetes to slash a rough trail for eight hours through the steamy jungle, dodging poisonous snakes and malaria-carrying mosquitoes. “It was terrible,” recalls Wang Chun, the chief engineer. “You couldn’t breathe.” Today, less than three years later, a series of small Chinatowns has emerged in the jungle — complete with Chinese food, Chinese satellite television channels and crews of Chinese migrant labourers living in cheap dormitory huts. Were once was wilderness, you find the workers of China Metallurgical Group Corp., toiling seven days a week and chattering about their families back home in Beijing and Sichuan. It hasn’t been easy.
It certainly hasn’t.
But I have to say, in conclusion, that we’re bringing some of this on ourselves. EMTV tonight reported that the new parliamentary commission established to explore the causes of anti-Asian violence has pushed back its hearings until November, largely for lack of travel pays. So they’re asking for K3 million to get the job done. Tell me, have we been so spoiled by handouts that our MPs cannot travel affordably any longer? Hotel rooms, hire cars, per diems and big meals—all to listen to the grassroots’ complaints. These are the prospective clientele of RH’s big hotel-casino complex now breaking ground in Port Moresby. They are hardly likely to hear the real causes of anti-Asian ire.
October 03, 2009
Poverty? But my friends and family are doing so well!
PNG poverty: Somare shifts the blame
by Laurence Chandy - 1 October 2009 3:57PM
Laurence Chandy is a Research Associate at the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings.
Al Jazeera's illuminating interview with PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare highlights many of the misconceptions which undermine the government's approach to development. Repeating his earlier mantra, Somare denied that poverty was a problem in PNG, with the possible exception of urban migrants. The truth is that poverty by any standard measure remains rife. My back of the envelope estimate, as appears in my new Lowy Analysis, has extreme poverty (defined by the international poverty line of $1 a day) at more than 30% in 2008 – that's a higher percentage than in 1996 when the last completed household survey was undertaken.Furthermore, poverty is certainly not limited to cities. Not only is the incidence of poverty higher in rural areas, the rural poor are found further below the poverty line than their urban counterparts and experience lower growth rates. The Prime Minister might consider taking a leaf out of Emperor Haile Selassie's eccentric, if ultimately doomed policy of arranging surprise visits out of the capital to understand better what is happening in his country. Somare's views on urban migrants are generally unsympathetic. He blames them for the recent unrest against Chinese businesses and criticises them for migrating in the first place. I would argue that migratory trends, while difficult to manage, perform an important role. Eradicating poverty in PNG relies on the connection between the poor and the rest of the economy being improved. At present, this connection is weak, which explains why the 'poverty dividend' from economic growth is so low. On current trends, the most likely solution to Papua New Guinea's rural poverty will come not from the government's extension of public services and economic opportunity into remote areas, but from the poor moving to more prosperous areas. To coin a phrase: if you can't bring the economy to the poor, bring the poor to the economy. The Prime Minister's answers are weakest on the issue of government effectiveness. He is unable to explain why public funding doesn't reach its intended target, other than to blame corruption among public servants, while absolving the political class of any wrong- doing. The real explanation here is the scandalous absence of monitoring and accountability mechanisms, a reliance on defunct service delivery systems, and the need for much greater budgetary focus. Given that the bulk of district- level expenditure is overseen by politicians and that no effort is made to account for these funds, politicians are undoubtedly part of problem. With a decision on the LNG project just around the corner, and the prospect of rapid growth and booming revenues a distinct possibility, now is the time for the government to face up to the country's poverty problem and to think seriously about the role it must play in ensuring the expanding economy delivers for the poor.
(4) Alternative to logging and mining - Crater Mountain wildlife management area, in PNG
Beautiful Baluan Beckons
by Nancy Sullivan
There is an alternative to logging and mining. It's called Wildlife Management, and landowners in varied parts of PNG are coming together to save their bush by gazetting Wildlife Management Areas as logging and mining-free zones. Undoubtedly the most spectacular and successful of these is the Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area, which covers verdant forest spanning three provinces, Gulf, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands, and everything from riverine lowlands to frosty high montane rainforest. This vast expanse of bush is so lush and dense and teeming with wildlife that it's value in natural wonders far surpasses any appraisal of its trees or mineral wealth alone. And perhaps more rare and wondrous yet--the landowners within this area, villagers in five villages within its boundaries, are all in agreement to conserve it. It is their heritage, their present and future sustenance and the basis for their cultural and psychological well-being. People from two language groups and divergent interests have come together to secure their joint future and their continued ability to use the forest as they have always done, with minimal outside interference, and with every hope to also bring sustainable development and services and kina into the area. They've joined Research and Conservation Foundation, based in Goroka, in managing something called an Integrated Conservation and Development Project, which aims to explore environmentally sound development projects in the area. So far these include the Wara Sera biological research station, a number of artefact businesses, small holder coffee farming and--now at its infancy--ecotourism.
I wanted to see what kind of ecotourism possibilities exist in CMWMA recently. My brief trip convinced me that Crater Mountain is the best--perhaps the last--place in PNG where you can walkabout in raw undergrowth; crest mountains to magnificent views of waterfalls spilling off a nearby cliff; follow tracks of wild pigs and cassowaries, and spy kapuls under the roots of old figs trees; watch four male raggiana birds of paradise display on a nearby branch as tens of females circle provocatively around them; see hornbills, sulphur-crested cockatoos, Lawes Parotia, Carola's Parotia, King bird of paradise, and bower birds; stand at a cave opening as hundreds--perhaps thousands--of Bulmer's fruit bats thunder out in the fading light of dusk; and wash in crystal clear mountain streams knowing you are far from ever being disturbed by strangers. These are precisely the things adventure travellers have looked for in PNG, and too often found elsewhere. Crater Mountain is certain to be the premiere ecotourism destination in our region before long. Now is the time for Papua New Guineans and resident expats to see it at it's freshest and best.
There are good Guest Houses in three places in the CMWMA--Haia, Herowana and Maimafu. I flew to Haia, in Chimbu Province, which is a lowland village, just above the Gulf Province border. It's got a lovely Guest House complete with mosquito netting, mattresses and towels for its visitors, and a brilliant riverbend for washing. From here, I took a guide and carriers walkabaut northeast two days, to visit the Wara Sera Research Station. This was a fantastic, very tough walk, through and across high rivers, along narrow mossy log bridges, and up steep slippery mountainsides. But my Haia companions were terrific with me, always holding my hand and helping me through each difficult pass. I felt alot better about slowing them down when we took on someone's wife and child--although I soon realised this woman with an infant in her bilum was still more agile than I could ever be. The first night the five of us slept in a beautiful Pawaian treehouse, perched over a steep hill above the Momo River, complete with the owner's family, their three dogs, puppies, a pig, two kids and a I think a neighbour who'd just stopped by, to hang out. We roasted sago and greens in bamboo, and talked endlessly about this notion of ëecotourism.'
Our second night was spent in a more basic bush house, as we were caught in a heavy downpour by noon. For eight or nine hours, we sat around the fire inside, the light dimming and rain pelting outside, telling stories. I'd brought a book with photos of some Lani men in Irian Jaya, wearing all sizes of penis gourds, contraptions that drove my companions mad with curiosity and embarrassment. How do they piss? How do they hold them on? As nating olgeta!! As malumalu tu!--Aaiiyo! Even when we all bunked down, the teenager amongst us could be heard giggling himself to sleep.
My Pawaian carriers turned back at Wara Sera, where I met three young Gimi men from Herowana who had walked down to meet me and bring me back to their village. These kids sang Wali Hits and talked rugby all the way. We struggled to remember the verses to that song 'Nancy' in Madang language, and laughed our way through bad harmony to Monica. Yu pasin siotpela skit na wokim sikin I skirap! In Haia I had met three men from the Bismark-Ramu conservation project, who'd come to see how the Crater Mountain people were doing it, and we all joked as I slid down the track that I was trying to hurry up and get to Madang, to see their wildlife project instead. Meri laik go pas long Madang!
It took two days to reach Herowana, a beautiful mountaintop village surrounded by blue cloud-capped ridges. Here the village kids showed me their tightrope act which they call Rop Kanda. They've been a big hit at the Goroka and Lufa Shows, astounding people with this supposedly traditional feat which, they say, once transported the Herowana across wide mountain valleys. Sounds alittle suss, I thought, and in fact, it turns out that the very difficult act was introduced by one of the Wara Sera researchers who had worked, of all things, in the Mexican circus. Now, that's what I call a cultural exchange in the extreme.
Don't miss CMWMA, it's an experience you'll never forget. Contact RCFs office in Goroka at 7323211 for more information. Air Niugini flies to Goroka, where you can get an MAF or SDA Aviation single engine flight into Haia, Herowana, and Maimafu on a regular basis. Day trips and overnight walks from each village are brilliant, and include waterfall walks, birding, and many cave sites. The Guest House in Herowana even has a flush toilet and shower. Herowana probably has the easiest walks around it; Haia and Maimafu walks would be rated difficult--but rewarding. (Scientists ask that you don't walk to the research station unless you're invited).
(5) On the wild side: Walkabaut in Irian Jaya (West Papua province of Indonesia)
Walkabaut in Irian Jaya
by Nancy Sullivan
I have walked through the highlands of Irian Jaya four times since 1989, and each time the experience has been entirely different. Things are changing rapidly in the highlands. In 1989 my friend Peter and I saw very little western clothing in villages outside Wamena, the administrative centre of the highlands. Coming from Mt. Hagen, we felt like we'd fallen through the looking glass to a ëtaim bipo,' where even our bad Bahasa Indonesian, the Indonesian Pidgin, was greeted with smiling incomprehension, and where everything we'd read in the anthropological literature seemed to hold true. There were other tourists in Wamena, of course: the hardy Dutch and Australian adventurers, mostly young people, who like to plot their own course. I remember Peter and I listening aghast to a young Dutchman brag about cadging a lift on the MAF cessna back from a remote part of the Brazza River region: he'd convinced a visiting doctor to offload some supplies so he could get back to Wamena.
Our guide in 1989 was a young Dani man named Sam, a loveable spiv whose flashpoint moods drove him to brandish a bushknife at another guide who'd dared to talk to us. Sam had already booked himself with a Dutch couple, to whom he had sworn allegiance and a hatred of Australians, and then double-booked with us, swearing his hatred of the Dutch. I'm not sure how we won his services, but his first plan was to walk us three days north, to his home of Bokondini, where we were to see ëvery traditional Dani culture and where, instead, we found a town that had been host to American missionaries since 1947. They lived in enormous Lincoln-log homes with well manicured lawns, and their parishioners lived in small box-like houses with padlocks on the doors. But the men in Bokondini still wore enormous penis gourds--the most exaggerated penis gourds around. Roughly ten centimetres in diameter, and maybe twenty five in length, they are secured with handsome wide red sashes around the men's chests. Sam showed us how men use them to carry betelnut and smokes, plugging the tops with cuscus fur. We watched one afternoon as a parade of up to a hundred men in cassowary feather head-dresses, red sashes and gourds, covered in charcoal and carrying spears, jogged slowly into town chanting in tok ples. They had come for their weekly Bible class.
Sam also regaled us with stories about the OPM and the German and Dutch tourists whom he said were supporting him in the struggle. Some were ready to send him guns, he told us. Then we watched as he openly fawned over Javanese officials at police check points and schools all along our walk. This was still a dangerous time in Irian Jaya. Just after the Dilli massacre in East Timor, before the world's attention had been thrown on Indonesia, it was a time when we could clearly hear the rat-tat-tat of automatic rifles putting down ëtribal fights' in neighbouring valleys. Our trip was a lesson in contrasts. We'd just left PNG, where the Bougainville struggle was at full swing, and where the coffee market was in such a slump that villagers were leaving red cherry on the trees. Crime was up--especially in the Highlands. And yet when we arrived in Irian Jaya, we found we could walk freely anywhere at any time; and we were greeted with uninhibited excitement and warm crowds in every village. We slept in huts and on schoolroom floors, and passed around photos of the Hagen and Goroka Shows to villagers who were either awe-struck or brought to tears by the spectacular bilas. Older men and women would cluck, snap their fingers on their teeth, and sigh with approval at the pictures in Paradise magazine. And yet we knew, we could feel, that this lawfulness and traditionalism had been bought at a high price. Just watching Sam bow and shuffle to Indonesian farmers living on Dani land--beneficiaries of the government's transmigraci program, which sent peasant from overcrowded Java to populate Irian Jaya--made us uneasy. We were made aware of how the Irianese live as second-class citizens in their own homeland.
But the Baliem Valley was an overwhelming sight. A wild river running through a twisting gorge that threw up spectacular views at every turn. Gardens as high and vertical as those in Simbu surrounded us like tall sloping walls. Here and there were strong vine bridges, and--I'll never forget--young kids scrambling across mere logs thrown across the raging whitewaters of the Baliem River. As accustomed as I'd become to arse-grass in PNG, it was also a very different thing to see men and women everywhere in traditional dress. The Dugum Dani men wear penis gourds and garlands of chicken feathers or flowers in their hair, sometimes with cowry or tambu shell headbands and pigs' tusks in their septums. Unmarried women wear full river reed skirts with one or two bilum bags (called noken) slung down their backs from their foreheads. Married women wear woven bilum skirts draped across their hips so low they defy gravity, eventually carving deep grooves in the women's thighs to stay in place.
One of the highlights of that trip in 1989 was meeting Pue, from Sioroba. As a child, Pue had starred in a now-classic ethnographic film by John Gardner, called Dead Birds. In 1961 Gardner had been part of the historic Harvard-Peabody Expedition to the Baliem Valley, along with the anthropologists Karl Heider and Jan Broekhuijse, the writer Peter Matthiesson (who wrote ëUnder the Mountain Wall based on the expedition), and the young photographer Michael Rockefeller (whose photographs illustrate Heider's book 'Gardens of War'). 'Dead Birds' chronicles the events surrounding a clan war on the valley floor just outside Wamena. Much of the story is told through the eyes of young Pue, a typical Dani boy with sad eyes and an enormous disarming smile. He had, by 1989, become a charming, soft-spoken adult with that same impish grin. Pue had come to town to shop for rice when our guide Sam found him and told him I wanted to meet him. That afternoon I stepped out of our hotel to find Pue--unmistakably Pue--waiting for me. Sam translated from Dani to English as Pue coyly explained that he was happy I'd seen Robert Gardner's film (--he hadn't), and wondered if I could come to a pig kill at Sorioba next week. I liked him immediately: he smiled that million dollar smile and my heart swelled. Suddenly a minivan pulled up and eight Indonesians tumbled out. They called Pue over and surrounded him for a group photo, assembling themselves arm in arm, careful not to touch Pue. Cameras were handed back and forth, several shots were taken, and then, with equal haste, the group disbanded and drove off again, leaving Pue with a 100 rupiah note (barely ten toea). I asked if he minded the intrusion, and he shrugged, smiling serenely. ìMore money for rice,î Sam the guide said.
I came back the following year and spent more time with Pue, videotaping a long interview with him in Sioroba and joining him at a pig kill with Wierdekek, an old man who had also been in 'Dead Birds'. But when I came back again in 1994, Pue was gone. He had died the year before. Someone said pneumonia, another said tuberculosis. Sad, said one young man in the village--but he was old already, he said. No he wasn't: he was 36 years old.
On my second trip, I met an Indonesian photographer and his assistant working for one of the airlines, and we travelled together to Kosarek, in the Star Mountains east of Wamena. Here the Yali people live in rugged remote mountain villages, and the men wear the most extraordinary everyday dress: a series of rattan hoops, widening from their chest to their knees like an ante-bellum hoop skirts in the American South. They're all held up by a metre-long penis gourd that is secured with cord tied around the chest. The outfit is at least as precarious, I imagine, as the Dani married woman's skirt, and it dwarfs what are otherwise small and delicate men. My companions flew out, and I took off for a two week walkabout with Yali porters and guide to the mission station of Angguruk. It was, bar none, the hardest walk I have ever made, climbing and descending two to four mountains a day and massaging my poor leg muscles at night. One of the older Yali men accompanying me brought along a three legged dog who, I noticed, was alot more agile than I. In fact both the old man and the dog clearly took pity on me. This same old man would follow me down steep mountain trails tap-tap-taping me on the shoulder, and I'd turn around again and again before I suddenly realised it was his penis gourd and not his hand doing the tapping.
Over the years, I have noticed increasingly more western clothes, more acrylic yarns in the bilums, more begging for smokes and rupiah notes, and more tourists in Irian Jaya. But there is a relationship between the exposure tourism brings and the quality of life for the Irianese, as I have also noticed fewer military police in the highlands every time I visit. It's possible that the Indonesian government has come to view traditional Melanesian culture as a valuable resource, now that tourism has proven itself to be viable there. When, in 1996, the OPM took western researchers hostage in the Baliem, the spotlight of international news agencies was suddenly turned on the plight of the Irianese. While the action certainly jeopardised tourism for the time being, it also may have guaranteed a certain security for the region, one that depends on the continued interest of media consumers around the world, whether or not the OPM achieves its objectives. .
To get to the Irian Jayan highlands, you need a police pass, or surat jalan, from the police station in Jayapura, where they will brief you on which villages are currently off limits to tourists. From Jayapura, you fly to Wamena in the highlands, where you can pick up a guide. Walking south through the valley is the best three or four day trip, and longer walks will bring you down into the Brazza River region where you can pick up a canoe to travel to the Asmat on the south coast. Garuda Airlines also now flies from Wamena to Agats in the Asmat. Or, you can check into MAF for flights into the Star Mountains and points north, from where it is possible to trek back to Wamena with a guide. Walking the Baliem Valley is not that difficult, but once you move out beyond it, the going gets harder, and the experience, of course, gets even more rewarding.
(6) Rock Art of the Karawari, in PNG - Nancy Sullivan
PROJECTS: CAVE ARTS OF THE KARAWARI
In Memory of Fredddie Casi
Cave Arts of the Karawari is a project developed and managed by Nancy Sullivan & Associates (NSA), a small consulting company based in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and comprised of an American anthropologist and twelve Papua new Guinean ethnographers. Most of these are former students of hers from the local Diviner Word University, and the rest are her adopted adult Sepik River children. The company has been in operation for ten years, conducting all manner of ethnographic research for development, from Rapid Rural Appraisals to Social Impact Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluations, Social Mapping, and Situational Analyses, all of which are critically important to the sustainability of donor projects and government initiatives in rural PNG. This is a private company for some important reasons: they are small and need to be free from bureaucratic burdens that come with being non-profit, and more importantly, they wish to have a broad mandate and choose the kinds of projects they prefer (be they, for examples, Gender, Health, or Environment-oriented), without donor interference. This also means they are constantly struggling financially, but also present to the public an image of indigenous social research as a viable profession—something that can replace the expensive international consultants that eat up so much donor funding.
In the past two years they have been dedicated to a major project based in the Karawari River region of the East Sepik Province, titled Cave Arts of the Karawari. Initially sponsored by a Guggenheim, then by National Geographic Society exploration grants, it is entering the third year of what has become a far more ambitious, far more important effort than they had ever imagined. The original prospectus was to map, record, and represent the stories from possibly twentyfive cave sites in the Upper Arafundi and Upper Karawari Rivers—just where the backside of the country’s major mountain cordillera spills down to the Sepik floodplains. These caves are filled with hand and foot stencils, some painted images, and material relics from the hunter-gatherer communities that sheltered and initiated their young men in them until the 1970’s. Fascinating, little explored, and potentially important to the archaeology of Melanesia, NSA is keen to publish a book for these (now) riverside communities, with which they can generate conservation interest and challenge the government into providing long-overdue health and education services.
As recently as 1987 archaeologists Paul Gorecki and Rhys Jones conducted the first survey of these abandoned rock shelters. They describe panels of stencilled and painted images --in some cases “more than 60 metres of cave wall or roof are decorated with continuous panels of art,” they say (Gorecki and Jones 1987:3), constituting “the greatest example of rock art in the whole of Melanesia” (Ibid). Few Europeans have seen any of the Karawari-Arafundi caves, and much of the portable artifacts from them were pillaged for sale by locals to missionaries and art collector prior to Independence. (Indeed, many of these pieces form the basis of the multi-million-dollar Jolika Oceanic Art Collection now based at the San Francisco De Young Museum).
There is not question that these communities are amongst the most neglected and historically exploited in Papua New Guinea.
Still, the NSA team never could have imagined that the project would blossom into a long-term intensive ethno-archaeological project with serious political and social implications. They have established that there are now more than 250 caves filled with art and relics, owned by three major tribes, one of which still includes cave-dwellers, and that the entire rainforest that surrounds these caves has been slated for logging and mining by the government.
The most important objective NSA now faces is to create a wide enough consensus in these communities and convince them that conservation of their environment is a better form of development than logging and mining. NSDA has brought materials for 3 base camps, with thee aim of creating permanent camps for future graduate students, scientists and other cave visitors, whose care will provide an income stream for these villages. These camps are already provisioned with bedding, mosquito nets, kitchen equipment and pit toilets, and we hope to bring in solar and hydro power sources in the future. Combined with the canoes and the outboard motor we purchased for the project, they are sufficient infrastructure for visitors, and can even function as short-term housing for volunteer teachers or medical staff, should the opportunity arise.
To date, the NSA team has walked and climbed the area extensively, and held countless meetings with landowners and their elected officials, describing the project and the possible benefits of being involved. Having a physical presence in the field has somehow demonstrated our commitment, and makes no small difference in areas where no government or private services have ever been introduced.
Much more than holding meetings or spending little bits of money in these sites, the camps are raising morale in the region. This subtle change of outlook, from a general despair, to a frenzy of interest in the caves and their histories, has been the most significant impact of the project by far. And it is this optimism that has helped establish affiliation with the National Museum and include their staff anthropologist, Sebastine Haraha, in the project. He has begun the important process of establishing National Cultural Heritage status for the collective cave site.
The extent to which NSA can maintain a presence in the field remains critical: First, for convincing local villagers that there are options to selling their bark their trees and their minerals to extraction companies; second by building consensus on the need to record and conserve these caves; third for training local people and our skilled PNG ethnographers in the vicissitudes of cave recording, story collecting, and ethnographic research over a long period.
Some of the caves are little more than rough ledges, with a bare minimum of marks, while others are vast panorama of stencils, paintings and petroglyphs. We have photos of more than seventy caves and their owners now, and expect to collect materials for roughly thirty more. These represent the most culturally significant and/or oldest settlement sites, and so provide a good survey of the dispersal and functions of these caves are their art. The data also allows us to reconstruct some of the migration histories of the people in these three separate tributary regions, and in this way establish some of the land tenure precepts that can help them conserve their rainforest.
Dating the cave hand stencils and images is important to understanding the geographic and chronological distribution of art in human history, and in particular for the Melanesian population. Similar hand stencils in Australia and Borneo date from 10 to 20,000 years ago, but even if the Karawari examples are more recent, they are of interest for providing evidence of a continuing tradition. Indeed, this site is the only one in the world today where we can actually talk to the people who lived in the caves and made these images: we can ask them all the why and how questions that normally elude archaeologists.
In May 2008 the NSA team was joined by Edmundo Edwards (Archaeologist, Instituto de Estudios isla de Pascua, Universidad de Chile ) and his colleagues, as well as Dr Bassam Ghaleb (Center of Geochemistry and Geochronology [GEOTO], University of Quebec, Canada) whose radium extraction from environmental samples shall help us establish dates for some of the oldest stencils. But rock art can be difficult to date. The most convincing dated art sequences are those based on a range of data and the complementary use of relative and absolute dating methods. Ultimately, our own ethnographic material (regarding the people and their culture) will be combined with the laboratory data and presented in a comprehensive ethnography of the cave region.
PhD and anthropologist Nancy Sullivan has been living and working in Papua New Guinea for the past 22 years, and has had a long continuous relationship with the area of study, having adopted two sons from the Karawari Village of Yimas, and having briefly managed the nearby Karawari Lodge. She is the Managing Director of Nancy Sullivan & Associates (see www.nancysullivan.org) based in Madang, where Papua New Guinean ethnographers conduct virtually all of the company fieldwork. As an anthropologist deeply involved with development issues in Papua New Guinea, Nancy Sullivan is convinced that no better investment in the remote communities can be made than in their traditional culture. Supporting and preserving the integrity of these remote cultures allows them to remain on their land as guardians of biodiversity and the archaeological record. The Cave Arts project has thus far provided some purpose and excitement for villagers (especially the young), and underscored the general determination of these communities to remain on their land. In Awim village, for example, a small painting atelier has been established, and more than one hundred acrylic versions of their traditional initiation cult’s sago bark paintings have been painted for future sale to collectors in Port Moresby.
Sometimes conservation work is a simple as getting there first, before a competing interest takes hold. The importance of the team’s presence in these remote communities cannot be overestimated, as they are the first outsiders (albiet Papua New Guinea) to establish themselves in these villages and engage the imagination of their hosts. They have enlisted scores of local assistants and planted the seeds for their continued stewardship of these caves.
What makes this project unique is that virtually all the work is being conducted by Papua New Guineans. The team has trained a total of 20 indigenous field assistants in genealogical record-keeping, social mapping, GPS use, cave map-making, cave measuring, photography, and computer basics. A core group has also been trained in social science qualitative research software, and budget-keeping.
The Meakambut people who still live in their caves have agreed to work with NSA on recording their caves, if only because they see imminent threats from legal and illegal logging and mining companies in their surrounding forest. Only a handful of these ledges are accessible to Europeans, and the vast majority have been and can only be reached by the experienced toe-holds of local climbers. Thus, whatever success the project accomplishes is based entirely upon the NSA team member’s endurance and commitment.
Rural development is important to Papua New Guineans, who have long campaigned for services and better access to markets from their traditional homesteads. But because the government has failed to provide services, rural populations have increasingly felt the need to capitulate to large-scale resource projects, for fear of being left behind, and simply to get the small amounts of cash they may need for medicines or education. These communities we are working with yearn for very basic services, and so their ambitions have become an integral part of the project’s own.
(7) PNG women are the first beneficiaries of social change - Nancy Sullivan
Nancy Sullivan Ltd. provides Ecotourism Consulting, Leadership Training Consulting and Social Science Consulting. We also prepare Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) and Rapid Rural Appraisals (RRAs) tailored to a client's needs, including economic, social, legal and project-specific investigations.
In addition, we offer a variety of anthropological workshops on PNG:
Anthropology for Development in Papua New Guinea
Sustainability is a social process. Development in PNG has a history of mismatched expectations. All too often it is led by calls for 'participation' and 'community consensus', without a clear understanding of how to achieve these goals. Foreign facilitators expect their efforts to be reproduced, and Papua New Guineans expect theirs to lead to comprehensive improvements.
But sustainability is a social process that requires collaboration. It avails sociocultural resources, at least, if not more than materials ones. Whether driven by a local or a foreign agenda, economic opportunity today consist of western capitalist structures adapted to this nonwestern setting. And they must be adapted to, combined with and 'naturalised' to preexisting systems. However deliberate, participatory and egalitarian the imported structures may be, they are nevertheless imported and no less exotic than chopsticks at a mumu in Papua New Guinea.
Sustainability of change requires more than a cursory understanding of cultural context. It requires an awareness of indigenous processes and the historical logic behind them. Anthropology, the study of culture, is about defining the vague, sometimes mystifying, differences of thought, interpretation and behavior that make something confounding to one society, utterly 'logical' to another.
Cross-cultural understanding is really trained common sense. The anthropologist's eye, focused on particular issues, is invaluable to the design and implementation of non-oppressive development projects. It is essential to building protocols and commercial relationships that not only work for the present, but will be reproduced over time in the future. Appropriate organisational structures are those reached by collaboration, rather than imposed by one party upon another. But collaboration requires a level of mutual understanding that cannot be acquired in casual interaction, or even in months of side-by-side participation. When a participant approaches a project for incomprehensible reasons, or subsumes project goals to pre-existing ones, there is no way to predict the course of a development project. Without fully understanding the preexisting structures, new protocols are unlikely to be grafted to old ones, and can easily be hijacked for other ends. The investment of time, interest and materials can suddenly, as if overnight, fall apart--often before there is even a whiff of trouble.
These workshops give participants a basic toolkit of information on Papua New Guinea. They are designed to help newcomers to the country bypass weeks, perhaps months, of frustration and confusion; and to insure time, labor, money, and the best intentions are not squandered on reinventing the wheel.
They are also intended to be adapted to client needs and time frames.
As an anthropologist, I am uniquely able to access pertinent archives and ethnographic materials and to construct the kind of framework for a project that will avoid even the unpredictable pitfalls of development.
All workshops include course materials and pertinent articles for each participant. In each, a lecture and class discussion is followed by construction of case studies and role playing exercises. My sessions are also, where necessary, assisted by select PNG Studies students of Divine Word University.
Basic anthropology of PNG:
* PNG prehistory
* Coastal to highlands variations
* Operational/utilitarian knowledge over esoteric information
* Concepts of biology and medicine/Concepts of gender, manhood and womanhood
* Bigmanship and chieftainship systems
* Patrilineal/Matrilineal systems
* Gender relations historically and at present
* Tensions of the cash economy
* Individualism and the consocial or 'tribal' identity
* Payback and reciprocity on the individual level
* Shame and self-punishment
* Contemporary culture: pop music, film and TV
* Conflict resolutions strategies commonly applied in PNG are based on international models. The assumption is that such formulas can be amended to a local setting because the determinants to violence and conflict are essentially human, and universal. But anthropology qualifies this assumption: conflict in PNG arises either between clans, tribes and ethnic groups, or between local skateholders/resource owners and foreign parties, and it always involves some aspect of cross-cultural communication. There is a pressing need to formulate neutral terms, and neutral language for those terms, in all these contexts, and without ethnographic information about all parties involved, these become impossible. Concepts of shame, blame, compensation, retribution, symbolic concessions, sorcery, and debate protocols in different cultures will be reviewed. Participants will workshop a series of test cases that range from local-level disputes to conflicts involving international and local parties. Attention will be given to the level of the individual in PNG, as well, defining the elements that allow PNG participants, in particular, to walk away from a resolution with pride and satisfaction: with a 'bel kol.'
Women in development:
* Gender divisions of labor vary throughout the world. Women play a central role in economic development, even if their social is not. Indeed, empowerment for women in PNG is not necessarily the object of feminist aspirations. Whereas in some places in the world, the introduction of a cash economy has signaled a diminished role for women in production, this is exactly the reverse in PNG. Women are increasingly important to household income generation. In turn, the traditional modes of 'masking' female contributions to production have eroded, and generated more gender friction than equality. Women are commonly perceived by men to have too much socioeconomic mobility.
* In contrast to other countries, PNG women are the first beneficiaries of social change. But they are also, at the same time, subject to increasing abuse by their menfolk because of these changes, and this is a significant deterrent to women projecting their ambitions in the workforce. Fear of reprisals, and of being ostracized, commonly keeps women from stepping forward.
* How to negotiate these thorny issues--which posit men against women, progress versus tradition--is at the core of PNG development today.
* The inadequacy of materialist models: proletarian, entrepreneur and Big Man
* 'Cargo' thinking and its legacy
* Indigenous power relations today
* Consensus and its determinants
* Gender relations in the cash economy
* Access and authority on the ground
* Wantokism: the redistribution of resources
* Payback, reciprocity, and the logic of retribution
* Reconciling western business logic to the exigencies of custom
* Bigmanship strategies in business subsuming everyone's objectives to your own
* The meaning of money: indigenous value systems and the cash economy
* Foreign logic in everyday conversations: metaphors, rhetoric and cross-purposes
* Contradictory values in today's marketplace: stakeholders, resource owners, donors, customers
PNG law for the layperson:
* What is Customary Law?
* Issues in Customary Land Tenure
* Land tenure, criminal law and compensation in Custom
* Legal pluralism and an overview of State law
* The Constitution and Organic Laws
* National Goals and Principles, the Legislature, the National Executive Council
* Dispute Settlements and the Courts
Interpersonal cross-cultural relations:
* What clues are you missing? How is development and/or workplace rhetoric being perceived?
* You call a meeting on new organizational structures, but the older men decline to attend. Why?
* Your project partner shaves his beard and hair off, when no one has died in his family. What is he saying?
* A qualified female refuses a promotion; another female drops out of a project without explanation. What do you do?
* A man chops off his finger and burns his house down after his wife runs away. Why?
* Participants refuse to disagree. How to create open discussion?
* Evasiveness: What does it imply about reciprocity and blame?
* The clash of ideologies: how we know, what is objectivity, and what is relativity in PNG cultures
Ethnographic examinations of development projects:
* Phases in the development cycle: Identification, Appraisal, Planning, Implementation, Operation and maintenance, Evaluation, Project extension into new phase or termination
* Gendered effects of economic change
* New power hierarchies
* The dangers of calcifying bad habits, and reifying the wrong rules
* Case studies of failed experiments: from India, Africa, South America; and from various locations in PNG
Workshops take the form of one day to one-week (of lectures, seminars, practicals), with morning and afternoon sessions, all materials included, for five or more participants, from K1000. Lectures on select topics of one to three hours can also be scheduled at a cost K500 and up. Assistance also available in designing educational materials for the workplace and/or village.