Environment and Human Adaption
The Abelam tribe lived in the east Sepik Province of the Papua New Guinea; this was located on the foothills. There were two different zones that the Abelam tribes lived in the relict alluvial plains. These characterized for these zones are landforms altitudes, annual rain falls, and soil types for thick secondary vegetation. They live in a very hot and humid areas, they have adapted to these area s time went by, with rain falls they created shelter, and with the heat there skin help them in that department. From what my research had told me, is that they lived in a rural setting, because they are indeed a population of 70,000 people, and a large range of farming, because the Abelam are big yams people. They are a more isolated culture, when it comes to other types of tribes, for example: say Indians. They eat pigs, and chicken, animal that can be raised and killed, but they do hunt for variety of animals. They always grow crops such as: giant yams, sweet potatoes, and even bananas. The heat and rain are the main two that they have adapted to. Heat was a major one because how they are outside most of the time, and the sunrays, so as time went on their skin helps with the heat. Rain was another because how they needed to learn how to keep their crops from becoming no good. So they build shelter for the animal, the villagers, and also the safely of the crops.
One physical adaptation I noticed are there thick black hair, for having such thick black hair, I really thought this would be hard in the heat but to come to find out it help from the heat. It is actually cooler for the scalp, and keeps it from getting burnt. The second is there skin, now I never knew that black skin actually helps them from the sunrays, but they must get hot and sweat, because black is attracted to the sun. One culture adaption would be there hunting, without some of the meat they get they could feel blah, I mean just eating crops is no good, some meat you need. The Second one is gardening, I believe they spend at least 12 hours a day just on there garden, planting or just going through it make sure everything is in ship shape. The third is that there giant yams, they take such good care of there yams, because they believe the big the better, has more spiritual power inside.
Language and Gender Role
The Ndu languages are the most common language used for the family of the Sepik. The Ndu stands for “man, ” and this language was made up from the family Kirschbaum in 1922. There are about 45,000 speakers that know the Abelam language, but for the people on the outside know this language as latmul. The Ndu has about twelve languages all together and some are: Latmul, Ngaia, Manambu, even Abelam, etc. It depends on what tribe you are with because these languages are still in use. Yes, there is in fact a written language to all twelve languages, which if they needed it to stay in contact with someone they could.
From the last time I checked there was only two genders and that is a female and a male. The man takes care of the hunting, and preparing meat products, the women cook, take care of the kids, laundry. They both work on the garden so they are mainly a team at what they do. Use hunting for a example, it is not a women’s job to hunt for there meat, only because we are sensitive in some situations. I honestly think that a man doing laundry wouldn’t work either. There could be people that looks down at that person, because it’s not in there natural, or could be cast down from the tribe. The father or the man of the family will, teach the young child at a age about 8 years old were the brain is like a sponge and remember the route. A young age is a good age because of by time the child is a man, will know exactly what to do. Yes, I believe that she would be because she is the right protagonist for this culture. She would be great a participating in there daily activities.
Subsistence and Economy
A traditional pattern, there yams, though is such a big deal to their culture, the yams are a very spiritual, and the bigger they are. I f the yams were to disappear, I really feel like that would mess up the culture. Some of them are seasonal and one is all year long, the bananas are all year all, and the yams and sweet potatoes are seasonal. There are meat sources also, but that depends on how much they hunt. Yes, everyone in the tribe needs to help with the garden, exceptionally the yams, because they are the most important item to the culture. That isn’t dividing into sex, age, and/or social class; it’s more of work together time of thing for the culture. My culture grows their crops, and hunts their meat, but grows more than hunt. They all work hard to get the food they need. The one food that is hard to take care of is the yams, because they are easy to mess up, or get ruined, that’s why they spend so much time on them.
They all work to get the food that they want; they don’t need to get their food from a store, or anything like that. I honesty don’t think they are around anything to buy anyways. Well the men have there labor that is specialized in and the women are specialized in there’s. Men hunt, women clean those are perfect examples. The yams are good and it shows wealth if it is grown the biggest out of everyone else.
Marriage and Kinship
The Abelam tribe does the polygyny marriage, where if the man wants more than one wife he can have it. When they marry, and the wife owns her own pigs, she still has to ask her husband to sell it. When you have multiple wives, cooking has to be done separate. The parents do not pick them for them, when they start there menstruation, that is ay they need to go out and start getting interesting and finding men or boy who they are interested in. There is on exchange that they do, and I like to call it the sister exchange, this when the father’s sister and the brother in law’s sister exchange. Well it seems like that male have more of a variety of open relationship. This culture does use endogamy, all there marriage is in the particular group which is there own, there is enough people in the village to go around, and not inbreed or anything. There is not a practiced pattern, since you can get a divorce and find another women to marry. Uncalled for that doesn’t happen in this culture as a matter of fact I don’t think they even would try that, because the tribe would most likely cast you out of the tribe.
The only thing that descent would go on in this tribe would be the sister exchange but nothing that has to do with uncle and aunts, or cousins. The only time you would be in kin relationship is if you aren’t married or if you going to get a divorce, and you have to stay at your parent’s house. They don’t ignore they are just not in the relationship part; they like to be new family, and not just in the family. The father or the brother in law, and the reason for this is the sister exchange. Inheritance is patrilineal organized. This concerns mainly landownership and clan membership though there are many exceptions that give rise to disputes. Most likely father and brother would be under father, and sister and mother would be under mother, since there are multiple wives.
Social and Political Organization
The Abelam tribe is a more general egalitarian, they treat each other equally, and everyone has access to power, and though would be the yams, each person has a chance to grow the biggest yam, not just one individual. Yes, they all have the opportunity, to have equal society and well my tribe is very good with that, how they work together, men hunt with other men, and women clean with other women. Everyone has the oppurtunity to grow the big yam to have the most power.
Ok this might sound funny, but its all about the yams, the bigger the yam the more power you have and then you give it to your enemy and pretty much have a comptition, with him for next season. The biggest yam is about 80 to 90 inches, its a well good and healthy yam, if its that big or even bigger. As the season goes someone new will have the power or the same, it depends every year. It really depends on that person and how well they can take care of their yam. To us we have money and to them a yam shows responsibility in this tribe, and sometimes money doesn’t make everyone rich in same places. No one really contains, the law, but every tribe has a chief, and I am pretty sure they have a chief who makes the rules. Each punishment is different for each crime down, you could get beaten, killed, or even banished, depending on the situation.
I believe that punishment is meant, and violate is not meant to happen. One would be if someone stole something from someone, this would result in a fight or even to death, and if someone kills but didn’t mean to then the chief would there for make a punishment for them which would be positive because the chef said it was ok. Another one would be, just an agreement over something, then could go wrong, which would be negative, but when the chief comes in and sets a punishment because of there action, that’s ok. Every action you make can and will affect anyone in any ways, and if it were bad a bad result would be bad, if its good a positive would come good.
Belief System and The Art
The most religious belief the have is the korambo and the grounds its on they call the amei. The korambo is a ceremonial house, and the amei is stand for the ceremonial grounds. This is, were there rituals are where they deal with the circle of life. This will hold, when girls and there first menstruation, and dealing with marriage. Another would be a death ritual; this is where they leave the body for a whole day and night. My culture was monotheistic, because they really just believe in their spirits; this is like there god, and their name is Ngwallndu spirits. They were around 5,000 to 6,000 years ago and was flooded with sea water and about 1,000 years ago, from what little people they had moved westward toward the Ndu family, which is where is all started. The same ritual that was held in the Korambo was where they held their death rituals, which was very unique. They left their bodies out for a whole day and night, so that the Ngwallndu spirit could come and take them, to their heaven. This is very important, because there girls becoming a women, and the death being then there right full resting place, so I really don’t think they would function with out it.
The Abelam has an artwork of paint; they see their paint as a magical as a substance, that’s like they are being given a woodcarving. They feel like it become powerful and active, which is a metaphor for it being a magical substance. The Abelam music is like an Oceania, that is played with fine flute music for solo and ensembles, as well as other wind music a fine flute and wind music. Not much of performer they are, but there religious arts are what they do at the korambo, all there religious arts are held the and everything they do is in a helping way for there people.
The most affected culture toward the Abelam would be the Western Culture. The Western culture is trying to bring there own rituals, and traditions to the Abelam tribe, and by this happening the negative impact is going to be losing the traditions and rituals that the Abelam tribe has grown toward, and grew up by. The positive impact that might come from this is that the Abelam might learn something new, but they will always keep their own rituals, and traditions.
There will always be something good, and something bad that comes in any situation. The most things that the Abelam could be influence is that by the Western Culture coming in, the Abelam could lose their identity. By this happening, the information about them isn’t well known. This culture could become a market economy, as time goes on. This could take time because of how small they our but their food supplies could indeed get them in that direction.