“Tell Us Your Story”: Documenting the Nalik Culture Through an Educational Project in Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea has more of languages than any other country, about 840 (Simons & Fenning, 2017), accounting for 12% of all languages spoken in the world (Volker, 2014). It also has 5% of all biodiversity (WWF, 2016). These data suggest a great biocultural diversity, and a subsequent wealth of traditional knowledge of numerous ethnic groups. Much of this is related to plants and animals and is knowledge that has evolved over generations in a long process of human interaction and relationship with nature (Maffi, 2007). This work aimed to record and document the lifestyle, stories and folk tales about birds present in the cultural imagination of one of the numerous Papua New Guinean ethnic groups, the Nalik people. This research was conducted at Madina and Luaupul villages in New Ireland Province during the months between September to November 2016. Among the intended objectives were enhancing an awareness of cultural biodiversity and contributing to the empowerment of the community through renewed interest in its cultural heritage. The participants were six and seventh grade students and members of the local community. Research was conducted through three steps: 1. Recordings of oral narratives in the community, and subsequent interpretation of their symbols in the local context; 2. Exploration of these recordings through interdisciplinary activities with the students and developing the transposition of oral narratives into drawings and written forms; 3. Validation and correction of the students’ text by the community. The material resulting from this process was subsequently edited and the final output was the short jointly authored book “A Maani: Birds and Nalik Culture” created through the eyes and experiences of the participants of the project.

Author Information
Cláudio da Silva, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2018
Stream: Education: social justice and social change

This paper is part of the ACEID2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon