British annexation of southeast New Guinea in Archaeological evidence indicates that humans first arrived in Papua New Guinea around 42, to 45, years ago. They were descendants of migrants out of Africa, in one of the early waves of human migration. This has been correlated with the introduction of pottery, pigs, and certain fishing techniques. In the 18th century, traders brought the sweet potato to New Guinea, where it was adopted and became part of the staples. Portuguese traders had obtained it from South America and introduced it to the Moluccas.
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Kiriwina is the largest island of the four, and currently has a population of approximately 12, people inhabiting 60 villages Weiner, , pg With other languages spoken in Papua New Guinea, it is not uncommon for villagers to speak multiple languages. Many races inhabit Papua New Guinea; some are tall while some are short, many are frizzy-haired while others have straight, and while several have dark skin, numerous have lighter toned skin Malinowski, The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea are a fascinating group of many unique rituals, practices, customs and symbolisms of power.
The two primary anthropologists to this nation are arguably Bronislaw Malinowski and Annette Weiner. Malinowski explained that he lived in the Trobriand Islands for numerous years, making three expeditions to the islands during and Young, He focused mainly on the activities of the male Trobrianders, observing the way they went about fulfilling their daily tasks Gordon, One method Malinowski used to study the men and become one with the natives was by separating himself from the other white men and instead, spending the majority of his time with the villagers Malinowski, Weiner focused primarily on the role the females played in the family as well as their participation and expression of wealth during mortuary ceremonies Myers, It is not a cultural normality to eat in the presence of others in the same way sharing betel nut is sociably acceptable Weiner, While a limited amount of exceptions occur, Trobrianders are forbidden to consume food in the presence of another individual.
Instead, food will be cooked and prepared by the mothers of the family, and each member will disperse into their individual rooms to eat with oneself Weiner, A hospitable and welcoming home is of utmost importance throughout Papua New Guinean culture.
Although some families have lower income than others, it is still expected to offer what one has to whatever guest visits their home Gordon, Frequently, home owners will give visitors coconuts, tobacco, and most commonly, betel nut.
Although eating is not a sociable act, sharing and chewing betel nut is a traditional activity Trobrianders consistently engage in with one another Gordon, The nut is combined with a piece of pepper plant and lime powder which turns a bright red colour after being chewed the same way one would chew tobacco Gordon, Melvin Ember describes the meals typical of Trobriand culture being: sago, breadfruit, yam, taro, sweat potato, wild greens, mango, coconut, and various kinds of bananas.
Although not common to have on a daily basis; pork, fish, and shellfish are included in a fancy meal or feast Ember, The Trobrianders dressing style varies from western-style clothes to traditional attire based on the occasion and event Ember, Papua New Guineans take pride in standing out by wearing bright and colourful clothing, a lot of which is brought from Australia to the South Pacific Ember, Day to day activities may call for casual wear like this, but traditional dress is still very popular.
Females will be seen covered in coconut oil wearing short miniskirts made of red-dyed and dried banana leaves, along with leis, armbands, feathers, flowers, and jewelry made of shells Weiner, The female Trobrianders also seem to enjoy having hibiscus flowers delicately placed in their teased hair Weiner, Men will be dressed similarly, but wearing sarongs and pandanus coverings Weiner, Makeup is applied to the villagers faces using vegetable dyes to create intricate designs.
Baby powder also may be sprinkled on their bodies, as this is considered beautiful in the Trobriand culture Weiner, The kula refers to the great voyage involving thousands of individuals spanning throughout 18 islands to trade white shell armbands and red shell necklaces Malinowski, Malinowski describes that the necklaces include gold-rimmed oyster shells and are traded in the clockwise direction, while the armbands consisting of pendants and beads are traded counterclockwise.
The contributors continue passing along these shells until they make a full circulation, often taking longer than years Malinowski, It was discovered that the exchange of these goods was linked to political authority and fame Weiner, Men who succeed in extensive trading are highly respectable and are viewed honorably by elders and women Weiner, The ceremony occurs at the start of the harvest season, where the yams are put on display for the village for a full month.
The day finally comes to deliver the yams to the yam house of that family, and all related peoples attend wearing traditional clothes, dancing provocatively with the yams Weiner, This large quantity of yams are given to the owner always a woman and she will distribute the yams among the people Weiner, Weiner emphasizes that the more yams a woman receives from her brother and father, the more rich and powerful the family is considered to be.
The Trobrianders have a unique custom of initiating and officializing marriage which is specific to their culture Hartsock, When they decide to marry, however, the woman will stay past sunrise and they will sit on the veranda in unity Weiner, This act makes their marriage official and recognized by the other villagers, and the word of their new marriage spreads quickly Weiner, Weiner states that for one year they will continue eating meals together but after the year passes, they will return to eating separately once again for the remainder of their marriage.
The theory of conception among Trobrianders is an unordinary one that has been passed down for generations. Their belief is that a woman becomes pregnant as a result of an ancestral spirit from the island of Tuma entering her body and causing the growth of a baby Malinowski, The idea of a sperm fertilizing an egg is not recognized in Trobriand culture.
Mourning is a long and drawn out process taken very seriously by all villagers; respect being decreased for individuals who do not express enough obvious actions of mourning Weiner, Weiner expresses the belief that the majority of deaths are considered to be because of spells spoken over the person. Spells are normally believed to either have been chanted into the betel nut or tobacco that the deceased consumed just prior to their death Weiner, Villagers view death as an attack to destroy or weaken matrilineage for the next generation; to eliminate power from a family Weiner, Following the death of a Trobriand villager, a mortuary ceremony will take place.
During this time, the women will distribute their banana leaf bundles and decorated skirts to all who engaged in an act of mourning for the deceased Weiner, These bundles and skirts are either passed down through families or made by these women; Weiner stresses the copious amount of time and energy put into this work.
Trobrianders strongly believe in life after death. Already at infancy, babies are covered in bracelets and necklaces made of shells and seeds to appear more beautiful Weiner, This occurs because having a seductive personality is expected at a very young age; girls are generally sexually active when they reach the age of While this sorcery does not physically change appearances, the method the spells use is to trick males into believing that female has beautiful facial features Hartsock, Attracting multiple men is a sign of power; therefore changing partners frequently is typical.
Weiner expresses that traditional seduction spells are constantly circulating, as new spells cannot be created. Commonly, young people will offer gifts to elders in exchange for a couple lines or a verse of a spell, hopeful that one day they will possess the spell in entirety and eventually pass it on to their grandchildren Weiner, Visibly expressing angry or hostile behavior is very dangerous in the Trobriands, as the risk of being attacked by someone who could be practicing sorcery might be increased Weiner, Sorcery is feared throughout the islands, and people will drastically rearrange their schedules based on full moons, temperature, and dark and moonless nights Weiner, The Trobrianders are a remarkably intriguing body of people, consistently offering anthropologists immense and detailed knowledge on their customs, ceremonies, sexuality, sorceries, and beliefs.
References Ember, M. Countries and Their Cultures: Laos to Rwanda, 3. Gordon, R. Fifty Key Anthropologists pp London and New York: Routledge. Hartsock, J. The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Myers, F. Annette Weiner: Weiner, A. Austin, University of Texas Press. Young, M. Malinowski: Odyssey of an Anthropologist
Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea Essay
Kiriwina is the largest island of the four, and currently has a population of approximately 12, people inhabiting 60 villages Weiner, , pg With other languages spoken in Papua New Guinea, it is not uncommon for villagers to speak multiple languages. Many races inhabit Papua New Guinea; some are tall while some are short, many are frizzy-haired while others have straight, and while several have dark skin, numerous have lighter toned skin Malinowski, The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea are a fascinating group of many unique rituals, practices, customs and symbolisms of power. The two primary anthropologists to this nation are arguably Bronislaw Malinowski and Annette Weiner.
The Trobrianders Of Papua New Guinea
The first European to settle in the Trobriand islands was a Methodist minister who moved to the island of Kiriwina in He was followed a decade later by colonial officers from Australia who set up a governmental station nearby, and soon a small colony began to be set up by foreign traders on the island. Then in the s, the Sacred Heart Catholic Mission set up a settlement containing a primary school nearby. It was following this European colonisation that the name "Trobriand" was legally adopted for this group of islands. Seligman , who focused on the Massim people of mainland New Guinea. Despite being a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian empire , which was at war with Australia which then controlled the Trobriand Islands, he was allowed to stay provided he checked in with authorities every now and then. Whaling ships called at the islands for food, water and wood in the s and s.