Context: Discovered the music of Eric Bibb while reading this one. Love it. Perhaps Kenelm felt that a name like Mambu would sound exotic. Perhaps his parents felt the same way about him. He is generally believed to be the first documented guy to spread Cargo cult belief over a relatively wide area.
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In both localities the situation is to a large extent determined by political and economic decisions taken in Port Moresby, the administrative capital of Australian New Guinea, which itself looks for directives from Canberra. In turn, Canberra must react to what is happening at Lake Success or in other world capitals.
The decisions taken inevitably guide or limit to a greater or lesser degree the activities of individuals—especially of Europeans—in Tangu or Manam island.
The Europeans responsible for executing the policies thought out in faraway capitals are at the bottom of a long chain of delegated responsibility. They have little say in forming the policies they are expected to implement, and the New Guinea situation itself not only imposes restraints of its own, but it often provides individuals with considerable scope for personal initiative.
Nevertheless, if Europeans are forced to put themselves into an equation balancing general directives against particular circumstances the native peoples concerned have little choice but to try to manipulate the situation as they find it.
That is, there exists a basic situation of conflict. And its principal elements may be appreciated through a short historical survey. The island of New Guinea lies a few degrees south of the equator off the northern shores of Australia. The western half, a tangle of swamp, jungle, and mountains, is a Dutch possession. The south-eastern quarter, Papua, more accessible country, was annexed by Queensland in and later became, and today remains, an Australian Commonwealth responsibility.
Then, temporarily occupied by Japanese military forces during the second World War, it became a Trust Territory of the United Nations under Australian administration. Strategically valuable, and a natural bridge between Asia and the Indonesian islands to the west, and Australia and the Pacific islands south and south-eastwards, New Guinea is a hard and savage country which is still only partially explored. Running down the centre of the island from west to east, like a backbone, are high mountains enfolding grassy plateaux drained by four main rivers: the Sepik and Ramu flowing generally north, and the Markham and Fly flowing east and south respectively.
Hills rise abruptly from the seaboard in serried rows of steep-flanked, thickly forested ridges; a heavy rainfall ensures a lush vegetation picked with vividly coloured blossoms. The air is humid, and the sun burns out of a tropical sky on to generally fertile soils. During the dry days the many mountain streams cut their valleys as musical brooks; in the rains, or after a heavy shower they rush headlong in muddy, boiling spate, flowing into larger rivers, bog, and swamp.
Earth tremors are frequent. The native peoples of the island, generally dark or copper skinned with thick curly or frizzy hair, are to be found living in fairly large organized groups on the highland plateaux, and in much smaller and more exclusive communities in the bays and inlets along the coast, or on the crests of the ridges further inland. Highland peoples speaking the same mutually intelligible language may number several thousands.
Within twenty or thirty miles of the tide marks villages or groups of hamlets of no more than two hundred souls may enjoy quite distinctive languages or dialects as well as possess exclusive customs and institutions.
Yet, everywhere kin and economic relationships reach across linguistic, cultural, and organizational boundaries. And, over the last half-century Pidgin English, a language with its own vocabulary and syntax, has made great strides as a lingua franca. Indeed, it is mainly through the use of Pidgin that natives of the Trust Territory have come to identify themselves as Kanakas, black skinned folk, distinct from men and women of European descent.
In most places in the Territory a simple village life continues. Yams, taros, sweet-potatoes, bananas, beans, and other vegetables are cultivated in garden plots. Pig rearing, sows mating with wild boars, is general. Coconut, sago, and areca nut palms are grown where possible. Some of the indigenous social institutions have fallen into decay, and other kinds of activity have been introduced. Local warfare and feuding have, for practical purposes, ceased.
Clubhouse organization and rituals, foci of the traditional ways, are falling into disuse under the impact of mission teaching and administrative influence. The belief in sorcerers and sorcery, in the existence of men who kill, or induce illness, mainly by mystical means, has, on the other hand, continued to be strong and general; and dancing and feasting, hinges of prestige, political life, and the distributive systems, remain popular, favoured activities.
More and more young men from the coastal villages leave their homes to go to work for Europeans for cash as labourers, policemen, seamen, porters, or domestics on plantations or in such centres as Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, and Madang: European tools, knick-knacks, and gew-gaws bought for the cash thus earned are gradually replacing native made equipment, decorative furnishings, and art forms.
Steadily, European civilization is extending its blessing. General administration of the Territory—which consists of keeping the peace, maintaining law and order, regulating the flow of migrant labour and supervising the treatment of native workmen, and establishing schools, technical training centres, co-operative enterprises, hospitals, post offices, and banks—is effected from Port Moresby in Papua.
From thence authority devolves to territorial Districts—themselves divided into sub-Districts and Patrol posts—down through a hierarchically organized chain of European Australian officers to locally appointed Kanaka officials who, unpaid, are responsible to the District Officer through Patrol Officers and sub-District Officer for a village or collection of hamlets.
They are, first, the Luluai with general supervisory duties; second, the Tultul, under the Luluai and nominally the village constable; third, the Doctor boy who is held responsible for general hygiene, the upkeep of a medicine hut, and the care of the sick.
Realizing an administrative ideal in such country as the Territory presents cannot be other than difficult. Roads, their foundations undermined by tremors and rain, slip off the hillsides or are washed away by floods.
Communications by sea tend to be intermittent at best, and when away from the coastal centres officers must rely on couriers, or the battery or treadle wireless. More and more frequent use of light aircraft and airstrips have made things much easier, but, for the most part, administrative officers still have to make their rounds—patrols as they are known locally—laboriously on foot, accompanied by a few police boys and a train of bearers to carry supplies and equipment.
The Europeanized seaport towns and townships remain the chief logistic supports for administrative, educational, and commercial enterprises along the coast, inland, and even in the relatively recently discovered highland plateaux. Generally almost as important, and in specific instances perhaps a more influential factor in New Guinea affairs than the administration itself, is Christian religious missionary activity.
Few of the larger denominations are not represented: in there were some forty differently named mission bodies operating in Papua and the Trust Territory, each typically regarding itself as in some way competing with the others. From thence they fanned out south and east. Rather later, the S. They survived the first World War and throughout the period of the Mandate both organizations continued to recruit from their Houses in Europe.
Both missions recruited and trained native teachers, catechists as they are called in New Guinea, built and ran schools, staked out plantations, and set up trade stores of rice, cloth, razor blades, beads, hydrogen peroxide—to bleach the hair of young bucks—knives, axes, and sundry other articles.
To connect their scattered stations private shipping services were started, and by the S. Lutheran and S. Articles in the learned journals attest their ability and scholarship. They are also practical men who skipper small ships, teach, build, run commercial enterprises, and walk long distances over rough country to minister to the needs of pagans as well as converts. Formerly financially dependent on their own resources, and on donations from the faithful in Europe, the Japanese war hit both missions hard.
They had to accept financial grants in aid from the administration. Nevertheless, they still have a moral and economic interest in New Guinea which is also at least quasi-political; and because they learn native dialects as a matter of course, and live among their charges for long periods, they know their own areas in a way that few administrative officers can. The European elements of the Seventh Day Adventist Mission, on the other hand, much later arrivals on the scene, have tended to remain in residence round a hospital, school, and chapel in the more metropolitan atmosphere of the coastal towns.
From thence Kanaka teachers are despatched to outlying areas where conversions are deemed to be likely, and after a few months they return again to the main school.
Financial support is almost wholly from outside New Guinea. Sincere, exclusive, and taking their departure from what might be criticized as a rather too narrow and oblivious viewpoint, S. Their own stake in the country might be almost irrelevant: they are not tied to its traditions and atmosphere in the same way, or to the same extent as are Lutheran and S. If, for the latter, the administrative machine is often a rival, to be influenced and steered, for the S.
In , if we may take a round date, Kanakas of the Territory were living their own lives in their own ways: there were no missions, no administration. Their cultures were rich in rituals, myths, and art forms. From childhood until death their lives were ordered by a relatively narrow, but complex ambience of kin obligations.
Their tools were of stone and shell. They enjoyed, for the most part, what we call subsistence economies. They produced huge surpluses of foodstuffs which were consumed in feasts to yield prestige and political influence: they engaged in barter, trade, and food exchanges. Feuding, based largely upon beliefs in sorcery, and organized within terms of small local and kin groups, was endemic. Generally, individuals were proud, self-centred, and quick to recognize a slight: warrior values went hand in hand with hard work in the gardens, business acumen, and a fiercely independent and ethnocentric spirit.
A generation later Kanakas of the Territory had become a factor in world politics; and their own comprehension of the world outside was being concentrated into the triangle of relationships formed by themselves, missionaries, and administrative officers.
Relationships with traders, planters, and other white men, though significant, were relatively simple and direct: a passage of cash in exchange for services, and a minimum necessary moral component. During the decade preceding the first World War the triangle began to develop.
After the war, with the change in administration, it took a fresh, more complicated direction. Through the triangle, for the whole of the Mandate period, the separate economies and ways of life of many Kanaka communities could be affected by financial and political crises in Europe, the United States, and Australia.
With limited means, and with confidence sapped by those who actively advocated the return of the Territory into German hands, development could not be other than slow. Capital, the will to sink it, and the means to use it, seem to have been lacking. The world wide economic depression hit Australia as hard as anywhere else, and could not but have its effect on the New Guinea scene.
Individual adventurers and prospectors searched the hinterland areas for minerals; and eventually they found gold in workable quantities. Coconut plantations, most of which had been established during the German days, were maintained but not greatly extended. Labour recruitment from the native villages was general. The missions gradually extended their ranges of influence, bringing to Kanakas schools and Christianity. The administration explored, opened up new country, and, with a thinly spread corps of officers, kept and regulated the peace.
The second World War passed over the Territory as might a series of summer cyclones. The triangle was broken. Few preparations had been made, and the Japanese came in overwhelming force.
Those Europeans who did not escape were captured and imprisoned. Missionary work came to a standstill. Despite the fact that a large number of them were German nationals, allies of the Japanese, Lutheran and S.
Some died of privation early: later, many more were to lose their lives. Existing Kanaka officials were dismissed, and others were appointed in their places.
Labour gangs were recruited for work on military installations, and villagers had to fend for themselves. Administration, such as it was, was put into the hands of Japanese political officers.
For Kanakas a period of relative quiescence but increasing dearth and finally famine was brought to an end by the departure of the Japanese and the arrival of Australian and American troops. Huge quantities of canteen goods and war material began to pour in.
The labour gangs which had melted into the bush as the Japanese retreated were re-recruited and reorganized into pioneer detachments on a scale of rations and wages which had hardly been dreamt of in the Mandate, and which were, indeed, quite impracticable then. General administration of the Territory was the responsibility of a military body known as the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit A. After a while, as military considerations began to shrink in importance, a few surviving missionaries were allowed to return and pick up again the threads of their work.
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Mambu: A Melanesian Millennium
In he received his Ph. Be the first to review this item Would you like to tell us about jambu lower price? Buy with confidence, excellent customer service! Inhe was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. After teaching at Baghdad University and Oxford University, he served as a professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia from until retiring and assuming emeritus status in They are at least reading copies, complete and in reasonable condition, but usually secondhand; frequently they are superior examples.
Mambu : A Melanesian Millennium
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