Like People You See in a Dream: First Contact in Six Papuan Societies

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Stanford University Press, 1991 - History - 325 pages
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This book is at once a detailed ethnographic and historical analysis of one of the final modern-day experiences of first-culture contact, a classic example of historical geography, and an extraordinary tale of exploration, imperialist arrogance, blood-shed, suffering, courage, and near disaster. By the 1930's, the interior of the island of New Guinea, protected from outside penetration over the centuries by its rugged mountains and unruly rivers, remained one of the few places outsiders had never seen. In early January of 1935, the Papuan colonial administration dispatched patrol officers including 40 Papuan carriers and police, to explore the vast unknown country between the Strickland and Purari rivers. The expedition moved inland along the river systems by steam launch and canoe until, in mid-February, they abandoned their boats and proceeded on foot through the tropical forest and into the mountains. Along the way, the party encountered hitherto unsuspected populations - peoples of six tribes, numbering in the tens of thousands - who had never before seen white men and who were still using Stone Age tools.
 

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Contents

Colonial Papua and the Tradition of Exploration
13
MAPS
15
Through 1935
34
Starting Out
44
The Great Papuan Plateau
58
From the Base Camp on the Rentoul Across the Great Papuan
70
Etoro and Onabasulu people Caught in a dangerous situation Hides makes
83
The Back Door to the Purari
126
Across the Nembi Plateau to the Erave River Valley May
170
Crossing a series of warring territories the patrol is caught in the confusion
196
In the Land of the Kewa May 23June 4
200
Return to Kikori
225
Over Mt Murray and Through the lehi Gorge to Kikori
228
THE ORIGINS OF THE STORY OF WALALI
295
A Sketch Map Showing Patrols and Events in the Erave Area
297
INDEX
315

From the Waga Furari to the Wen
147
Across the Nembi Plateau
168

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About the author (1991)

Edward L. Schieffelin is Reader Emeritus, University College, London.

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