The native people of Papua New Guinea have a lot of things to teach the Western world. Papua New Guinea is probably the most undeveloped and most traditional country in the world.
Just seventy years ago, a gold digger who was exploring new opportunities discovered more than a million people who are living in the Stone Age. They did not have any alphabet, wheel, metal, even had no idea that outside their mountain there is an advanced developed world.
These native people, forty years later, gained their independence, entered the Parliament and the democratic principles started guiding their country.
To understand Papua New Guinea and its native people, we must understand its natural directions, history, and culture.
New Guinea is the second largest island in the world, the western half belongs to Indonesia, and the eastern is Papua New Guinea. Geographically it belongs to the Western Pacific, but the population has a culture of Melanesia. It is among the countries with the greatest biodiversity with best-preserved wilderness and natural resources.
People living along the sea coast, and those in the valley of the river, are hunting and gathering wild fruits. They live as people of the rest of the earth did several millennia ago.
Native people of New Guinea are strictly territorial
Their country gave them everything they needed, and across the border have always been hostile tribes with which the war was waged. Therefore, they did not travel outside their territory.
Since every tribe evolved in isolation, each tribe has developed its own culture, a special artistic style, and a special language. PNG is the country with the most languages in the world, so far it has counted 867!
We’re not talking about something that happened long ago, but about something that is still alive. There are still old people who remember the first arrival of a white man, and since then, life has not changed much.
In the villages far from the road, people walk barefoot, using bows and arrows. They do not know how old they are and don’t know anything about history.
Everything is based on stories. In the most remote villages, there are native people who still dress in grass skirts decorated with shells, bones, and feathers. The only things received from civilization are some linen clothes, machetes, and knives. But even cities do not resemble others in the world.
The tribe’s traditions
Some of the traditions and unwritten laws of these unique native people are horrifying. If a woman is widowed, she has to be strangulated by her husband’s brothers or even her own sons to follow her husband to the spiritual world. Other cases of practicing strange law have been recorded.
Women are allowed to kill their own children in certain situations, but on the other hand, these tribes respect peace and nature much more than the western world ever did. Their relationship with nature is something that goes deep inside of their culture.
A very famous biologist, Jared Diamond, has written a book about these tribes. The book is called The World Until Yesterday and it represents the culture of Papua people in a very specific way. The message of this book is simple. There is nothing special or superior about western civilization or so-called European culture.
The few native people left on the planet could teach us a lot about the respect and love in the family relations. The system of learning is based on each individual’s own experience.
Therefore, children are never punished for being curious. Of course, Jared Diamond says that widow strangulation and some other negative examples are not acceptable, but the will to live in peace with nature, peace with each other and above all, at peace with themselves is something that we could start learning again. These people have a special gift when it comes to communication.
They are open to share and explain every single detail of their culture.
For them, everything is describable. They did not lose the imagination as many of us from the civilized world has.
- The Guardian
- The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond