Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Awiakay , Papua New Guinea
|Affiliation||The Australian National University|
|Location||Papua New Guinea|
|Collection Status||Collection online|
|Landing page handle||http://hdl.handle.net/2196/38f2j98o-5c72-0819-9909-8rz976330p83|
Summary of the collection
This deposit will be a result of a documentation of the traditional ecological knowledge of the Awiakay and Meakambut from Papua New Guinea, funded by ELDP between 2023–2025. The project is a collaborative effort between a linguistic anthropologist and Awiakay and Meakambut people, in collaboration with an ethnobotanist. The data deposited in this collection will encompass video-recordings of a wide variety of genres of language use related to TEK; a collection of short observational films about Awiakay speakers’ interaction with their environment, including landscapes, plants, animals and spirits; photographs and a list of identified specimens of the local flora and fauna; and an Awiakay–Tok Pisin–English photo-dictionary of local plants and animals.
The group represented in this collection are the Awiakay. They live in Kanjimei village in East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Their language, Awiakay, has about 400 speakers and belongs to the Arafundi language family. Despite having a central settlement, Awiakay families tend to spend long periods of time in their bush camps, hunting and processing sago, which is their main staple. Sago diet is supplemented by hunting, fishing and gathering, only occasionally by foods brought from town. While garden products such as bananas and taro are an addition to the sago diet, gardening is of minor importance. The Awiakay therefore heavily depend on their environment. However, a recent discovery of gold in their creeks resulted in a goldrush, which brought along radical social changes…
This collection is part of the project that aims to document Awiakay and the neighbouring Meakambut traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and language use related to TEK. This documentation will ensure that the detailed knowledge about plants and animals found in this ecological area and transmitted through the two languages, is not lost. The project builds on previous long-term ethnographic fieldwork, including the documentation of Awiakay and Meakambut ways of speaking.
(Awiakay: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/3e788cdb-8886-493c-8151-aeea0038969e; Meakambut: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/962989ef-7d37-4d3d-8dcf-0d1439e5c077 ; Meakambut: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/92f2c99e-5c62-4210-8903-8dd976337c10)
This deposit will be a result of a collaborative effort of a linguistic anthropologist, Darja Hoenigman, with the Awiakay people, in collaboration with a botanist Janet Gagul from the University of Papua New Guinea.
The Awiakay and Meakambut land is a major lowland forest area with a very small human population. There is no major study of TEK from such an area in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
Documentation of Awiakay and Meakambut TEK at this particular moment in time will be a window on long-standing customs that intimately connect people’s lives to the environment, as well as the transmission of this knowledge in the context of changing linguistic practices and rapid social change that is endangering both the languages and the cultural heritage that lives through them.
This collection will include
— Video and audio recordings of Awiakay traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and language use related to TEK. Genres to be documented will include:
– myths, songs and memories relating to knowledge of plants, animals and spirits
– natural verbal and non-verbal interactions with the local environment
– night-hunting practices and related communicative strategies
– interviews to elicit species names and associated information.
— A collection of short observational films about Awiakay speakers’ interaction with their environment, including landscapes, plants, animals and spirits.
— Photographs and a list of identified specimens of the local flora and fauna.
Specimens of the local flora will be deposited in the PNG National Herbarium in Lae.
Specimens of some insects and photographs of larger animals and birds will be deposited the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre in Madang.
— An Awiakay–Tok Pisin–English photo-dictionary of local plants and animals.
Documentation for this project will start in 2023.
Acknowledgement and citation
Users of any part of this collection should acknowledge Darja Hoenigman as the principal investigator. Janet Gagul should be acknowledged as a core member of the research team in all plant-related parts of the collection (check metadata to confirm). The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme should be acknowledged as the funder of this project. Users of parts of the corpus should acknowledge by name the individuals appearing in the recordings whose words and/or images are used. Any other contributor involved in data collection, transcription and translation, or who contributed in any other way, should be acknowledged by name. All the relevant information is available in the metadata.
To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:
Hoenigman, Darja. 2023. Traditional ecological knowledge of the Awiakay, Papua New Guinea. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/47p2j78n-6c99-9949-4582-9ok976750p44. Accessed on [insert here].