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The Korowai

Sociology 4A
by

Emma Jardas

on 24 February 2015

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Transcript of The Korowai

Introduction
The Culture of the Korowai
Emma Jardas & Eden Raduege
Small tribe in Papua New Guinea
Primitive people
Live without technology and little to no outside contact (unknown)
Live in Tree houses that they build themselves
population = 3,500
about 15 people per house
Family
Subcultures
Language
Southeastern Papua language
part of the Trans-New Guinea phylum

Sports and Games
Music and Entertainment
Sago GRUB Feasts:
Once in a lifetime
Celebrate Fertility and prosperity
sing songs and perform "fertility dances"
Gift Giving between the men
Sacrifice pigs to the spirits
females not allowed
Fashion and Beauty
Education
No formal system of education
Children live with the women
Children are taught gender roles early on
Laws
Strongest man in tribe is the leader
no formal system - generally "rules" revolve around beliefs
Hunter-gatherer style economy
Weapons -- bow & arrow
No currency
Are self-sufficient or work together as a community and share everything
No exports, no imports

Economy
Food
Sago: a type of flour
pork for special occasions
Sago Worms from the sago tree
Women
beat the sago palms to produce a flour like substance
care-taking
married off young (15)
very sexist society - women cannot participate in ceremonies
Men
big game hunting
Children
hunt little game such as lizards and smaller rodents
Marriage
typically arranged; men can have more than one wife
A pig is common for a bridal purchase
In case of adultery, husband gets to shoot his wife through the thigh

none - they technically are one
nearby tribe called the kombai have a similar lifestyle
Taboos
Reincarnation
A spirit of the deceased may roam the tree house or enter the body of a lark to help detect witches
The universe was created from the dead body of a mythical pig
Beliefs
their world is full of Evil spirits
all bad things are caused by these spirits
some elderly women can communicate with these spirits to detect witches or neutralize disasters
Christianity
First successful conversion to Christianity occurred in the 1990's
most of the korowai people are very resistant to new religions and outsiders
Do not say their mother-in-law’s name out loud -- doing so causes the child to become ill, also a sign of respect (avoidance)


cannibalism of those suspected of being possessed by Khakhua (an evil spirit)
the brain is eaten first while it is still warm, pregnant women and children do not participate

Interesting Facts
Before the 1960s, they thought they were the only humans on Earth
White people are called “laleo” - “ghost demons”
Michael Rockefeller, of the Standard Oil Rockefeller family, disappeared in the area when he was searching for native art

Interactive Activity
Questions
1) what's one thing that the korowai do that is different than american culture?
2) what's the economy like in the korowai tribe?
3) Name one belief that the korowai have.
http://raafay-awan.blogspot.com/2011/03/krorwai-tribe-people-who-eat-human.html

http://knowledgenuts.com/2013/10/28/the-culture-that-still-practices-cannibalism/


http://dice.missouri.edu/docs/papuan/Korowai.pdf


http://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/12804/ID


http://www.papuaerfgoed.org/en/Life_up_in_a_Korowai_tree_house#6. Dancing at sago grub feasts
Sources
(protection)
ritual: WHen they catch a wild pig they put it at the bank of the river and shoot it several times. for the next two days, it is forbidden to bathe in the river.
https://play.kahoot.it/#/lobby?quizId=ccff7e1c-05e4-4247-b77f-305b6da87c6b
A short "What would you do?" quiz to see if you would be well-suited to live with the korowai
Try to answer honestly to see how well off you would be
Full transcript