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Indigenous Peoples in a Global Context

This Grade 12 U/C level course is designed to introduce you to indigenous peoples across the globe - to their cultures and identities, and to the issues they face when their paradigm clashes with that of the dominant culture. Let's start with Kombai.

Lisa Hodgkinson

on 27 March 2018

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Transcript of Indigenous Peoples in a Global Context

The quest of anthropology!

The Kombai
Photo based on: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr
Despite their similarities, the Kombai are known to war with their neighbouring tribe, the Korowai. The Korowai are similar to the Kombai in their tree house dwellings and cultural practices, but only the Kombai wear koteka protective wear, and the two clans speak different languages!
Perhaps the most intriguing cultural practice of both the Kombai and the Korowai is that of penis inversion.
pulping the sago
sago grubs! also good for eating the wax from one's ears!
healthy source of protein for all!
Nature of the Soul
The Kombai believe the soul resides in the brain and the stomach.

They believe in evil spirits, called Suangi, who eat the organs, blood and soul of a man.

They also believe in Khakhua-Kumu - evil men who eat the souls of victims amd must be killed and eaten in return!
climbing home
First contacted in the 1980s, there are about 4000 Kombai people; they, and a culturally similar tribe - the Korowai - live in the forests of Papua New Guinea.
A staple of the Kombai
diet is starch harvested
from the sago tree.
mashing the sago
modern sago pudding!
The Kombai are hunter-gatherers. The men hunt a wide range of prey including cassowary, wild boar and marsupials in the forest using their bows and arrows with their dogs as trackers Pigs are domesticated for ritual use.
cassowary (like an ostrich!)
Pig sacrificed to settle disputes; no woman may be present. Fat is scraped off and offered to Refafu (God).
Dog bone necklaces
Clashes with the Indonesian Government
1980s Government moved Kombai into kampung villages with other clans; witchcraft accusations/warfare increased

in the 1980s, the Indonesian government attempted to relocate Kombai to kampungs (or villages) where they lived with other tribes; this resulted in an increase in witchcraft accusations and violence
deforestation threatens the Kombai due to loss of habitat, but also violent clashes with military
start at 3:30
start at 22:55
Full transcript