Vincent Rojas Words and Representation

Some of the main key terms I chose that I think were the most important were; poultry project, cattle project, election, political education, development, economic development, roads, self-government, and agriculture.  I believe that these main key terms represents the overall themes of the volume I was given.  From patrol one the main objectives of the Kiaps were to collect taxes and re-distribute these funds back into the village wards in order to keep the peace with the villagers.  The initial report stated that some of the villagers were becoming frustrated with having to pay taxes and not seeing anything done with these taxes.  As the patrols went on the increase in the need to develop the highlands region peaked.  Development included mostly road and bridge construction in order to connect villages with each other.  Other economic developments included, cattle and poultry projects to solve food shortages in all wards.  Development also included agriculture and cash crops to not only provide more food but cash crops such as coffee and tea were grown so that a money economy could be establish in order for the highlands villagers to compete with the more modern coastal regions.  Other developmental projects included the construction of schools and missions in the area.  Day to day tasks of the Kiaps were to survey lands for development but most importantly to educate the villagers in self-government and independence.

I believe the key terms I have chosen reflects what my patrol volume is about in a broader sense, the terms hit the main points that are in the volume.  In my patrol spreadsheet individual descriptions are given of each patrol report giving more specifics into what sort of day to day tasks the Kiaps adhered to while on their patrols, including specific disputes settled, or elections conducted.  These descriptions also lists names of roads under construction, names of schools, missions etc.  When I compared my terms to my partner’s terms they were identical more or less.  My partner’s patrol volume was between 1970-1971, my volume was from 1969-1970, both volumes in the Southern Highlands district, so really it was a continuation of my report with the Kiaps having the same objectives more or less.  However, I did notice some slight differences in my partner’s volume.  For one, economic development was no longer the main objective, but was still an important aspect.  What was most important in my partner’s volume was political education, and getting women involved in politics and everyday life.  I noticed this rise in political education and the involvement of women in the last few patrol reports of my volume, and it seemed to be a more important issue, since road, bridge, and structural development was moving along well.

I can see some dispute when looking at my key terms for future audiences as they concretely stick to the material of the volume with no outside influence.  As I read the reports it was very apparent to me that there was no voice for the villagers, were they being taken advantage of? Did they like Kiap presence there?  I only got a chance to see one side of the story, and from the kiaps point of view the villagers were helpless and needed the support from the kiaps, the kiaps also mention several times that the villagers were generally enthusiastic about the whole situation.  The patrol reports themselves are very bias and do not take into account the culture of Papa New Guineans, I found it very hard to focus on the material and try not to make judgements, but the patrol volumes do generate interesting questions.  The key terms I chose do not have my own bias opinions, and depending on who is searching they may not like how I stuck to the actual material of the patrol reports, which was only in the point of view of the kiaps and the Australian council.  I only wanted to treat these documents as historical ones only listing what is found in them without any personal opinions, I really wanted people to form their own opinions about the volume without any influence by my own personal opinions, and I felt the best way to do this was to stick to the material and describe the volume based off of its own point of views, in the end the volume will speak for itself.

Patrol Report: Southern Highlands District, Pangia, 1969 – 1970

2 Comments Add yours

  1. RUKMINI RAVI says:

    Hi Vincent,

    I like how you thought very critically about the key terms you were going to use for your patrol report volume and the implications of bias when choosing key terms that would have potentially reflected the questions that arose in your mind regarding the lack of representation of the native people’s perspectives. Great work!

  2. Rachel Hicks says:

    Hi Vincent, Great explanation of how you chose your key terms. You raise a very good question about the missing voice of locals. That would be a great thing to add if they could be tracked down at this stage. I wonder what oral histories still talk about kiaps and how helpful understanding those would be? As for your terms, do you think it is necessary to distinguish poultry and cattle project or a term like “livestock projects” could encompass both?

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