Friday, February 11, 2011

Essay on Papua New Guinea

Essay on Papua New Guinea

The Kukukuku formally known as the Angu or Anga are the most feared tribe in Papua New Guinea. The tribe is known universally for its cannibal practices and its primitive Neolithic lifestyle. The Kukukuku are the pygmy people of the Upper Watut, the highlands of Papua New Guinea. There are various explanations as to how these Head-hunters came to be called the Kukukuku, though when the name is translated in the local language it means; “wild”, “sanguinary (blood thirsty) ” and “untameable.” These three words correctly define the nature and personality of this tribe.

Cannibalism is considered legend to most cultures; it is the base in which the Kukukuku tribe was built on. Women first introduced this barbaric practice to the Kukukuku’s. To them, the flesh of human beings is better than the flesh of any other animal. A party of Kukukuku warriors set out to take an enemy prisoner by either combat or abduction. Once they have brought their captive back to the village they break its legs with a blow of a club so that the prisoner is unable to escape. They then bound him/her to a tree. As part of the preparation ritual, the members of the clan adorn the prisoner with shells and feathers to celebrate the forthcoming feast. They dance around the victim singing and blowing their shell horns in celebration of their successful hunt.



Unlike the huntergathers of the lowlands, the Kukukuku are a farming population and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables in their “gardens”. The women collect fresh vegetables and place them in a large hole filled with hot coals and heated stones. This is used as an oven, most foods are cooked using this process but another method was to steam the meat in bundles of leaves or lengths of bamboo. The children (often male) of the village “play” with the prisoner whilst the oven is being prepared. The game requires a target, this being the enemy prisoner, which the children use to throw rocks at, eventually, stoning the prisoner to death. The elders believe that this activity will harden the children and teach them to kill without remorse.

The limbs are then severed from the body using a bamboo knife. The flesh is cut up into small pieces and wrapped in bark. The parcels are then cooked together with the vegetables in the oven in the ground. The most common vegetables used are sweet potato, yams, breadfruit, and taro (the practice of cannibalism ceased in 1986, pork is now eaten in place of human). The meal is eaten outside by the fire with other relatives. The huts are rarely used as a kitchen or a dining room, but are used as sleeping quarters. The dwellings are designed to trap the heat rather than to keep it out. The positioning of the dwellings depends on the location of the individual “gardens” or farms. The houses are designed to house single and extended families.

The Kukukuku are notorious for their style of raid. They sweep down upon the un-expecting village, usually at the early hours of the morning. Their aim is to destroy the village and take prisoners. If, during battle, the parents of another child’s tribe is killed the Kukukuku then adopt the child and bring it up according to their beliefs and religion.

Like many other Papua New Guinean tribes, the Kukukuku’s system of belief is animistic, embracing a wide range of spirits. Some of these spirits take human form, like the spirits of the dead and long-dead kin. Others being nature spirits such as those of the forest, mountains, rivers and storms. Some of these spirits were considered evil, and places where they are thought to inhabit are avoided as much as possible. Others are called upon during rituals to assist in human affairs. When a family member has passed away, the women coat their face and body with thick yellow clay they also wear multiple strands of coix seeds (Jacobs tears) around their necks, single strands are removed one at a time until the mourning period is complete.

A “sing-sing” is a special festival in which the young, male members of the clan are initiated into man hood. The initiation process, which lasts a number of years, begins when the boys reach the age of eight and nine. The ceremony is lead by the most respected men of the clan, who lead the boys to a designated area where they believe the spirit tambaran lives. Each boy receives a box and a wall is erected around the clearing segregating it from the outside community, to keep the women and un-initiated persons from witnessing the event. The boys have their nose perforated, then they must pass through two rows of adults, armed with reeds furnished with teeth and bones. The boys are then taught the art of hunting, which lasts four months.

During a large “sing-sing”, the new initiates are covered with mud. They receive gifts, the elders of the clan burn their hands, and their nose is crossed with a reed. They are then trailed by the elders by running around in broad circles and howling warlike chants.

When the young men have completed the initiation process, they are able to take a wife. The couple will live with the father of the husband, until the wife falls pregnant. It is then that they are officially recognised as husband and wife. The childbirth is made public.

Now days some members of the Kukukuku, are used as body guards to the white residents of Papua New Guinea because they are the most feared people of the land. They are also very protective and are known to follow their employees un-noticed, until they are at an un-unsafe destination and they appear and force their employees to return to a safer place. I have chosen to study this culture because one of my close friends living in Papua New Guinea informed me of their culture. I found it fascinating, and it proved to be a very interesting topic to study.

Warning!!! All free online essays, sample essays and essay examples on Papua New Guinea topics are plagiarized and cannot be completely used in your school, college or university education.

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