I love to read stories about our people (in Papua New Guinea) continuing to preserve their culture. I am especially proud because the Siassi is in my province and I have family there. Thank you Brendon Zebedee and Scott Waide for bringing us this cultural heritage story.
The clash of religion and culture – the fight that almost brought the House down How many times do we hear about religion and culture clashing?Does someone’s personal belief make it right for them to destroy a nation’s heritage? Religion versus culture and vice versa is a topic that often raises concerns around the world. In 2013, I remember protesting against the destruction of 19 cultural objects in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) national parliament house on Facebook, with many others. Our National Speaker who comes from Morobe Province, decided that he did not want the 19 statues that represented the provinces to be in the chamber. He ordered the removal and destruction of the statues, build with the house by the first prime minister, Sir Michael Somare.
Ryan Shram write this very interesting article about the incident and discusses the argument about religion and culture in the material world. Ryan goes even deeper into the history of the house and the country. Click here to read this story. While I am a christian, I treasure the beliefs and good traditions of my ancestors in Melanesia, and especially in PNG. My grandmother was a great believer of both – you learnt the christian ways and you also use your traditions because that is what your identity is. Your heritage is also one that has given birth to you and there are so many great things you can learn from your culture through your beliefs, foods, celebrations, rituals and many more. It is not easy to separate yourself from your culture and your heritage – unless you choose to. Traditional medicine healed Melanesians and other indigenous people before European medicine came. The rituals and spiritual practices provided – food, water and shelter and created sharing, love and healing in a community that was balanced with nature. All the practices were connected to and derived from nature and the environment. There are traditions in Melanesian heritage that are not good. These include sorcery and witchcraft, confusion between what is an ailment and what is a spiritual curse, the Big Man syndrome (the act of thinking you are wealthier and better with more status so you could manipulate and have several wives). The treatment of women and girls as second class is another Melanesian culture I detest. What are your experiences of your culture and religions – please share your comments here.
Discover the remarkable story of one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures in this major exhibition.
The show is the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects, celebrating the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This culture has continued for over 60,000 years in diverse environments which range from lush rainforest and arid landscapes to inland rivers, islands, seas and urban areas today. Hundreds of different Indigenous groups live across this vast continent, each with their own defined areas, languages and traditions. The exhibition runs from 23 April – 2 August 2015.
And here is another view of the exhibition has sparked.
Exhibition Sparks Protests
Published on Apr 23, 2015 (YouTube)
On 21 April 2015, the British Museum’s BP-sponsored ‘Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation’ press launch was disrupted by activists, criticising oil sponsorship and calling for the repatriation of stolen indigenous objects.