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Download Lost Tribe: A Harrowing Passage into New Guinea's Heart of Darkness epub

by Edward Marriott

The Liawep were a lost tribe living in deep jungle in far northwest Papua New Guinea; as far as the outside world was concerned they did not exist. Marriott first heard about them in 1993, when their ''discovery'' by a missionary hit the headlines. He set out to find them himself, to hear their stories, their hopes, & their fears for their changing world. Banned by the Papua New Guinea government from visiting them, he assembled his own patrol & ventured illegally into the wilderness. ''A gripping narrative adventure & a stunning account of what happened to a small society of primitive people suddenly ensnared by the predations of modern life.''
Download Lost Tribe: A Harrowing Passage into New Guinea's Heart of Darkness epub
ISBN: 0788193414
ISBN13: 978-0788193415
Category: Travel
Subcategory: Australia & South Pacific
Author: Edward Marriott
Language: English
Publisher: Diane Pub Co (April 1, 1996)
Pages: 258 pages
ePUB size: 1105 kb
FB2 size: 1257 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 348
Other Formats: lit rtf txt lrf

Marriott was one of the most interesting travel writers of the late 20th century, early 21st century. He is now doing psychodynamic counseling (?) because of all the bad reviews, I suppose?

Maybe he has not learned to create artificial reviews to boost the average?

I understand the ethical concerns of contacting a "Lost Tribe" but this is done on TV often. Not that it makes it right.

The tribe was going to be contacted one way or another by someone.

Marriott did very interesting work, very smart. I miss his writing. Hopefully he gets back to it, but it seems this is all that's left (The Lost Tribe, Savage Shore).
I grew up in PNG and am familiar with the history of Papua New Guinea. I paid $3 for this book at a second hand charity book sale. I paid too much.
The book is about the author's determination to find a so-called lost tribe in Papua New Guinea. Despite never having travelled to PNG before, having no relevant qualifications, limited local language ability and only a rudimentary understanding of the complex history of first contact the author proceeds to ignore local advice in his stumbling quest for a lost tribe to write about and therefore presumably make money out of. The author is British and throughout the book makes inaccurate and disparaging remarks about Australian development assistance up to independence in 1975. He disregards facts and historical accuracy where not consistent with his own world view. Typical of those with leftist leanings he seeks to reinterpret history to find evidence of white man's guilt and exploitation of the locals. He cannot comprehend that goodwill was the chief motivation guiding the need to gradually and sensitively open up isolated warlike, suspicious and often fearful peoples to the twentieth century. His constant disparaging of the Australian explorers Mick Leahy and Jack Hides, who made first contact with numerous highland tribes in the 1930s, becomes tedious. The author acknowledges the contempt with which PNG nationals, aid workers and even the Liaweps hold him. It is unfortunate that the tribe he stays with is visited by such a poor representative of the outside European world. No one respects an opportunist, even less so a self-doubting opportunist.
Most second-hand books I donate back to charity on completion, but this one will be going to the garbage bin as not even worth giving away.
Liawep is not a lost tribe. I am an anthropologist and I have been studying the "Lost Tribe" over the last three years and I am still carrying out my anthropological fieldwork among them. Every year I spend a couple of months with the so-called "Liawep" in Papua New Guinea. Liawep is not their real name but it is the name of one of their hamlets, the place where they were cutting the bush to build an airstrip when the events described in the book took place. Unfortunately I was not in Liawep during the "harrowing passage" of the book's author. Nevertheless, my Liawep informants counted me in detailed terms the story of his arrival and the tragical consequences of his blitz. During my latest visit to the Liawep, after this book was published in UK, I brought a copy of the book with me and I translated it to them, sentence by sentence. The Liawep people were disgusted by that book and they denied almost the totality of the events in which several of them were described by their own names. I was asked by Liawep leaders to diffuse in our western global society what is, according to them, the real version of the events whose tragical conclusion was the death of five people, four children and a woman. That is the job I am working at now with the aim of defending the intellectual property of this tribal people and preventing their exploitation. For the uninformed reader of "The Lost Tribe" it may be interesting to know that the book contains three kind of faults : 1) SCIENTIFIC FAULT : The Liawep are not a lost tribe. The Liawep are "lost" according to this book but not according to other papua new guineans or to the anthropologists working in the area. In the early seventies, the Liawep used to have regular contacts with Australian officers patrolling the area. At that time they were using steel axes and bushknifes and going in and out the nearest Governmental Stations. In the early eighties, Liawep women were married with men from neighbour villages working in the nearest mining towns. In this book the Liawep culture is misrepresented in terms of stereotyped "primitives" practices. Maybe the author has misunderstood or simply invented stories such as the Liawep elder who used to talk about his past as a cannibal. A certain kind of journalism often tends to exploit the well-known clichés on indigenous people such as cannibalism, savagery and others of this kind. This is a classical problem concerning human and social sciences. Let's imagine a comparison with "hard" disciplines like astronomy. No one would announce to the media that he had discovered a new planet without having serious competence and scientific training. As long as tribal people are concerned, a "lost tribe" is discovered every year by non specialists. 2) LEGAL FAULT : The book's author, as he himself write in his book, has illegally entered the region of Papua New Guinea where the Liawep have settled. The author had just a limited National Government Tourist Visa. Whoever likes to go for research purposes in that area, needs a Provincial Government Visa and is requested to make a series of medical examinations (thorax screen, HIV test, etc.) in order to avoid dangerous intrusion provoking the spreading of typical western diseases. That Visa was denied to the author by the Provincial Authority (the real names of Governmental Officers are quoted in the book). Nonetheless, he decided to enter the Liawep area as a clandestine, breaking the laws of an independent country. The author aimed at going in that restricted area looking for a tribe which he supposed to be lost and make his journalist scoop. In addittion to that, he wrote in his book about his illegal action in terms of proud heroism. A form of contemporary ideological neo-colonialism. 3) ETHIC FAULT : The book refers to an explosion during a nocturnal storm killing a woman and four children. The author did not knows their name. I knew them. The woman was called Wypam, two of the children, boys, were called Laup and Pula and the other two, girls, Nafawam and Yawari, all between one and ten years old. The book talks about a lightning which hit the house. The Liawep did not agree with this version. Liawep are forest people and they know very well the natural phenomena like lightning and how try to avoid them. They say that the white man was sleeping in the Mr Herod's house, the local Lutheran missionary ("so much for a lost tribe!" as someone wrote). According to the Liawep version, the white man moved, during the nightly storm, a part of his cargo faraway: from the pastor's house to another Liawep house, under the floor as those houses are traditionally built on pillars, elevated from the ground. This happened few minutes before the accident. The writer and his guides run away the same night, just after the explosion took place, scared by local people's reactions to the accident. They reached the nearest airstrip, a half a day walk from there. Among the terrified Liawep there was a shocked man (which is one of my friends and informants by the name of Fioluana, the Wypam's husband) who had lost three of his children and his wife in the explosion. He together with others pursued the white man until the airstrip where they contacted the local leaders and explained the situation to them. Following the Liawep version, the white man was guilty of the accident. In western terms this may be translated in a symbolic guilt, a sort of sympatethic responsibility, not a real one. Nevertheless the matter has to be seen in terms of local customs and laws. The Liawep intended to ask a compensation for the accident the white man had provoked. In Papua New Guinea payback to compensate accusations of sorcery or murder consists in goods or money. This is a common rule in the whole of Melanesia. According to the Liawep, the white man promised them to look for the nearest bank in town and he would send them money as a compensation as soon as possible. The Liawep allowed him to leave. As far as I know, the writer has never sent further payback to Liawep in any form. Once in town, the white man did not advice the competent local authority about the accident. He did not deem that there were in Liawep seriously wounded people who were still urging medical assistance. One of the children survived few days and then died. One wonders whether the writer was he scared because of his clandestine condition in that area of Papua New Guinea. Or maybe he intended to start as soon as possible with the writing of his great book to let the world know of his heroic travel in the "heart of darkness"? "The Lost Tribe" has been published without asking the permission to the Liawep people. After all, the book was conceived and published thanks to the Liawep. Or rather, because of the exploitation of the false information describing the Liawep as a lost tribe. Noboby, neither the author nor the editors have never thought, for example, of devolving a part of the book's profit to the Liawep. This would have provided a service of medical patrol in their own area or assisted the Liawep with food and water supplies during the dry season. I would like to warn the innocent reader of this book by stating that the book is not of an innocent kind. While this book is being promoted on the net, in Liawep people are dying of pneumonia, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhoea and other typical tropical deseases. They did not have enough medicines and medical assistance which costed the price of few copies of this book. Of course, health and nutritional problems of Papua New Guinea are not the fault of this kind of books. However, this sort of books, articles or movies, exploit a false image of indigenous people. This fake sensational portray has become more and more common all over the world, because it is rentable stuff. Except for the indigenous actors.
A truly adventurous travel tale of the writer's quest to find the supposedly "lost" Liawep tribe in Papau New Guinea back in the mid 1990s. Gonna go trekking in the jungle and find some mysterious natives, yeah! Actually, despite the remote locale and traipsing through rugged rainforests, this is far from a wild and reckless adventure. After a very disturbing incident in the last days of his stay with the tribe, the author reflects on his actions and the "need" to visit such primitive people. The author is obviously not an anthropologist and he approaches his initial trip with somewhat of a naive, starry-eyed fascination. But found this to be a well written and thought provoking look at the need for westerns to assimilate with tribes such as this. This book also exposes the suspicious motives and methods of Christian missionaries who have some sort of warped need to "convert" local people they feel to be in need of saving. Despite the criticisms of Marriott and his methods, I think this is a worthwhile read.