Category Archives: Indigenous

PNG Tribal Chiefs Threatened to Turn Taps Off


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Picture courtesy – Official Website of the PNG LNG Project

PNG chiefs made threats of a civil unrest over an unpopular Australian bank deal in the $19 billion PNG LNG project , The Age has reported.

Until now, the tribal chiefs in Papua New Guinea have been happy to host a hugely profitable natural gas project on the slopes of their mountainous land.
It might have disrupted hunting grounds, ruined waterways and uprooted fruit and vegetables, but the money flowing from it also promised progress and development for the people.
So they stuck with a 2009 agreement to provide access and security to a $US19 billion ExxonMobil PNG liquid natural gas project, which has given Australia’s nearest neighbour one of the highest GDP growth rates on earth. All that, though, could change. They are threatening to “turn off the taps” after the PNG government barred their Australian lawyers from entering the country. Read more in the The Age.

 

Training to Enhance Skills of Cultural Producers


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Robinson Fairo, Figurine, Solomon Islands. Photo: Collection of Waikato Museum via SPC.

A training programme to enhance the business, marketing and product development skills of cultural producers in Solomon Islands began this week in the capital Honiara. The Solomon Islands is part of the Melanesian region of the South Pacific. The secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC) reported in its newsletter Culture Talk that cultural industries in Solomon Islands represent an important economic sector as well as the country’s rich heritage and culture.

Although there are increasing numbers of cultural producers in Solomon Islands, only a few training programmes target this sector to assist producers to export their cultural goods.

Supported by European Union, the training called “Enhancing the Pacific Cultural Industries: Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands” project, was implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The training is held in partnership with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Solomon Islands Arts Alliance.

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Welcome Vaka picture from SPC.

Easter Island Monuments – How did they get there?


Unsolved Mysteries: The secret of Easter Island. YouTube.

In the most isolated place on Earth a tiny society built world-class monuments. Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is 1,000 miles from the nearest Pacific island, 3,000 miles from the nearest continent. It is just six by ten miles in size, with no running streams, terrible soil, occasional droughts, and a relatively barren ocean. Yet there are 900 of the famous statues (moai), weighing up to 75 tons and 40 feet high. Four hundred of them were moved many miles from where they were quarried to massive platforms along the shores.

Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo began their archeological work on Easter Island in 2001 expecting to do no more than add details to the standard morality tale of the collapse of the island’s ecology and society—Polynesians discovered Rapa Nui around 400-800AD and soon overpopulated the place (30,000 people on an island the size of San Francisco); competing elites cut down the last trees to move hundreds of enormous statues; after excesses of “moai madness” the elites descend into warfare and cannibalism, and the ecology collapses; Europeans show up in 1722. The obvious lesson is that Easter Island, “the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself“ (Jared Diamond), is a warning of what could happen to Earth unless we learn to live with limits.

A completely different story emerged from Hunt and Lipo’s archaeology. Polynesians first arrived as late as 1200AD. There are no signs of violence—none of the fortifications common on other Pacific islands, no weapons, no traumatized skeletons. The palm trees that originally covered the island succumbed mainly to rats that arrived with the Polynesians and ate all the nuts. The natives burned what remained to enrich the poor soil and then engineered the whole island with small rocks (“lithic mulch”) to grow taro and sweet potatoes. The population stabilized around 4,000 and kept itself in balance with its resources for 500 years until it was totally destroyed in the 18th century by European diseases and enslavement. (It wasn’t Collapse; it was Guns, Germs, and Steel.)

The world-class monuments of Rapa Nui

What was up with the statues? How were they moved? Did they have a role in the sustainable balance the islanders achieved? Hunt and Lipo closely studied the statues found along the moai roads from the quarry. They had D-shaped beveled bottoms (unlike the flat bottoms of the platform statues) angled 14 ° forward. The ones on down slopes had fallen on their face; on up slopes they were on their back. The archeologists concluded they must have been moved upright—”walked,” just as Rapa Nuians long had said. No tree logs were required. Standard Polynesian skill with ropes would suffice.

Archaeologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo attempt to solve the mystery in this documentary. Easter Island is also called Rapa Nui.

Read more here:

Easter island Reconsidered

 

Together We Can: Jamie Lee


Together We Can, a music video from Papua New Guinea.

I had a request by fellow blogger Annette from Beauty Along the Road for some singsing (dancing) when I posted a story last Saturday about the South Pacific Games opening in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I could not find any material on the web, You Tube and other avenues, however I found this video, released on July 3rd, 2015 which is about the 2015 SP Games. The video was released to celebrate the opening of the 2015 South Pacific Games. I am proud to share this video not only for its content, but it was created by two of PNG’s amazing talents, Jamie Lee and Jagarizzar. The video features a collection of traditional singsing  from across PNG and some of PNG’s pop and contemporary singers. I hope you enjoy the video.

Artist: Jamie-Lee

Featured Artists: Jagarizzar, Briena Micah, Tinzy Mau, Henry & Santanya Gewang

Choir: Emirau Praise

Directed by Karl Bouro & Andrew Bouro of Torn Parachute

Written & Composed by Jagarizzar & Jamie-Lee

Produced, Mix & Mastered by Bryan B of Tune Studios, Malaysia

Aerial/Drone Footage: Robert Weber & MASALAI

Video Producers: Motsy David & Kamuna Consultancy

Production Assistants: Floyd Manata, Roan Paul, Graham Robinson

Cultural Groups: Aroma, Morobe, Huli Duna, Asoro Mudman, Paluai SookSook, Kiwai Dancers, Buka Bamboo Band

This is My Heritage: Photographic Exhibition


This is My Heritage: Photographic Exhibition

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Similar seed pod rattle found on the public domain images.

Standing in the warm Brisbane sun outside the Queensland Museum this morning, listening to Rhianna Patrick recall her story about her heritage, which reminded me of my own. My grandmother and I collected the same seeds and went through almost the same process to produce seed pod rattles for my aunts to dance with. This musical instrument is quite common in Melanesia and other cultures such as the Indigenous Australian culture.

While Rhianna and her father drilled holes in the hard seed shells, grandma and I used metal rods from broken umbrellas by burning the rod on the fire until it was red, which then easily burnt a hole into the seed.

Rhianna’s story was about making the Kulap, the dance rattle (as pictured above) from the Torres Strait. The rattle was an object found in the Queensland Museum collection. Rhianna’s is one of twelve stories told in a photographic exhibition to highlight the significance of Australian indigenous cultural heritage in association with the collection. The exhibition also acknowledged young keepers of traditional knowledge and promoted the importance of skills in making these cultural objects. Young keepers of traditional knowledge and skills were encouraged to sustain the knowledge and skills for future generations.

Curated by Michael Aird and Mandana Mapar, twelve outstanding indigenous Australian story-tellers were invited to speak about their personal recollections of their cultural heritage – the Kulap, an object in the Queensland Museum, was the one thing that stirred many memories for Rhianna.

In her early childhood, at eight, Rhianna recalled that she had run out of things to ‘show and tell’ at school, and finally, she was forced to make something up. That was when her father suggested the two of them make the Kulap. In the process of collecting seeds on the beach to sawing the seeds in half and incising holes to threading the half seed pods together, the Kulap-making became one tradition she learnt from her father, and also one cultural heritage that has left a lasting impression on her.

Rhianna’s story about the Kulap with 12 other storytellers and their personal recollections on objects of cultural significance went on show in Queensland Museum today. The event was timed to mark the beginning of the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week.

In the curatorial statement, curators Aird and Mapar wrote, “In our own way, each of us gathers mementos and keepsakes around us as we remember our past and look towards the future. Our collective stories and memories guide us to tell our own personal narratives with strength and conviction.”

According to Aird and Mapar, the stories told in this exhibition reflect on the tangible core themes of connection to family and country of the indigenous people. The stories also acknowledge the unique techniques used to craft some of the artefacts and signpost historical and political milestones in Queensland indigenous history.

National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony 2014. Event Photos Australia Pty Ltd
National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony 2014. Event Photos Australia Pty Ltd

This is my heritage opened today to coincide with the Statewide launch of NAIDOC, a week-long event celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt said the This is my heritage exhibition was a stimulating way to recognise Queensland’s indigenous people as the primary guardians and knowledge holders of their cultural heritage.

Naidoc Home Page

Black East: Tracing Black Ancestry


My friend Paco D. Taylor enjoys researching and writing articles. I have not met many people who are so fascinated and interested in a culture outside of their own.  Paco is from Chicago, U.S.A, but he is intrigued by Melanesia. After a year of exchanging stories, history, art, music, etc, I can understand why Paco  feels strongly about the Melanesian people and culture.  His study of the black people in Asia has produced some very interesting connections to Melanesians.

In my culture, as you make friends with someone and whether they are from your tribe, a relative or a friend,  they become your “wantok”.  Some time ago, my wantok Paco published his article, Black East which discusses the ancestry of the black people in the East. I have read and found this story very interesting and Paco has kindly let me share the article on this blog. I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions, I’m sure Paco would be very happy to answer them.

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​Ban Doan Woman (Wa) and child (Samoi). Saturn Province, Southern Thailand, 1963. Photo by John H. Brandt

BLACK EAST
By Paco D. Taylor

As a kid growing up on the far South Side of Chicago, whenever I would envision the physical features of Asian peoples—since those I saw most were in martial arts movies and Ultraman reruns on television—a fairly narrow set of characteristics always came to mind. Perhaps not surprisingly, brown skin and curly black hair were never among them. But one fateful day my father told me of an eye-opening experience he’d had as a young man serving in the United States Marines. While stationed in the Philippines between 1961 and 1963, “Pops” learned of Asians whose physical features were significantly different from what most Americans have been conditioned to expect.

There in the Philippines, Pops saw native Filipinos who, albeit small in stature, looked a lot like him, with dark brown skin, curly black hair and—stranger still—African facial features. To say the very least, the sight of such people living in the heart of Southeast Asia was completely unexpected.

It was also unsettling.

Perhaps equally as unsettling, my father learned that these puzzling pint-sized people were referred to locally by a Spanish term, one that translates literally into English as the “little blacks.”

Facts of Life

As the Earth’s largest and most populous land-mass, Asia is home to 60 percent of the planet’s human population. Included in this sum are the continent’s lesser-known groups called the Negritos—indigenous Asians who look a lot more like the relatives of Gary Coleman than Jackie Chan.

Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Paco?

The term Negrito was first applied by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, after encounters with such people during early forays into the region. And though wholly unscientific, the term is still used today to refer to distinct ethnic groups living in parts of Southeast Asia and the Asian Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.

According to James J.Y. Liu, author of the book The Art of Chinese Poetry, the term kunlun is the equivalent of Negrito in the Chinese language, and there are several mentions of kunlun people in the early literature of China. The most well-known of these can be found in the classic adventure romance entitled The Kunlun Slave.

In the language of their Malay-speaking neighbors, Negritos are known as the orang asli, meaning, “first people” or “original people.” This term would come into general use in the 1930s, in response to efforts by the Malaysian government to officially recognize them as the region’s earliest human inhabitants.

Prior to the adoption of a more respectful designation, such people were commonly called by the pejorative term semang (“debt slave”), a word bonded to times when, like other blacks, Negritos too were abducted from their homelands and sold into slavery, but in Asia.

Family Tree

The defining physical features of Negrito people include dark brown to black skin, curly black hair and diminutive stature. The average height among men is 5 feet, 5 inches, and the average height among women is 4 feet, 8 inches.

And though they are seemingly orphaned from humanity’s family tree, Maury Povich won’t be needed to pop for a DNA test to figure out “Who is the father?” According to geneticists, these peculiar Peoples are actually the modern descendants of the first migrant populations to venture into Asia more than 50,000 years ago.

That there is a strong resemblance between Negritos and African groups like the Pygmies of Uganda and Congo is obvious What is impossible to see, however, is that on DL (DNA level), these people share closer genetic bonds to other Asians than they do to now-distant cousins back in the Motherland.

Stunted Growth

Fossil finds from across the continent suggest that these nomadic hunter-gatherers once lived across Asia from India to southernmost Japan. The southern islands of the Pacific Ocean (Oceania) were also once part of their domain, as well as the southern continent of Australia and the island of Tasmania.

Their stomping grounds today, however, are but mere traces of what they once were.

Challenged by the continuous spread of larger, more organized and more technologically advanced human groups, their once wide-open range has been limited only to isolated parts of the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Andaman Islands (off the coast of Burma), and Papua New Guinea.

What’s more, populations that were documented as recently as the late 19th century to have numbered in the tens of thousands now number only in the thousands. But the numbers for some groups have become even smaller.

Drastically smaller.

Today, the tribal population of the Onge people in the Andaman Islands numbers less than one hundred. It is conceivable that in the proverbial blink of an eye, this ancient tribe of humankind will simply cease to exist.

Please visit Paco Taylor’s blog link below to read the rest of the article and view images.

Paco Taylor’s Blog : Kungfu Grip Zine