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ELDP Project Highlight (Part 2): Meakambut ways of speaking: Audio-visual documentation of communication practices in a small semi-nomadic hunter-and-gatherer society in Papua

Today on the ELAR blog, Darja Hoenigman is back on the blog to share another excerpt from her field diary from her work on Meakambut in Papua New Guinea. To learn more about this project, visit the ELAR archive at here.

On my first trip I brought with me digitized video material which the anthropologist Borut Telban, who works in Ambonwari village, recorded when he met the Meakambut in 1991. These videos, which the Meakambut had not seen before, triggered interesting discussions about how differently they live now from how they used to live at that time, about the habits and personalities of the by now deceased relatives who were in the video, about their ways of speaking, eating, their quirks and their faults, as well as about their ways of sharing food with others. That video won me access to working with the Meakambut, as they clearly expressed the wish that their children and grandchildren be able to see them one day, like they could now see themselves (as children) and their ancestors. When we were later transcribing and translating the recorded materials I found that people were sometimes explicitly talking to their descendants who will at some point in the future watch these videos.

Pedi Warea, with her daughter Ropeka and grandson Aloa, watching herself as a young woman, and her late daughter Kuranda and husband Papilam in footage from 1991 (still frame from video recording by Darja Hoenigman).

Blog post by Darja Hoenigman