Words and Representation, Kyeongbin Kim

For my patrol reports that investigated West New Britain from 1961 to 1962, I chose the following subject terms to represent main points of those reports: volcanic land, plantations, medical services, taro, copra, cocoa, canoe, banana, Catholic Mission School, agriculture, water tank, savings account. I chose these particular terms among many other potential choices in order to effectively represent the influence of outsiders on indigenous villages and people. Those terms listed above can be divided into two different groups. The first group represents the characteristics of West New Britain before the full contact with Kiaps and other forms of outside forces. This group involves terms such as volcanic land, taro, canoe and banana. The volcanoes and volcanic lands are one of the most important characteristics that distinguish West New Britain from other regions of Papua New Guinea. This should be considered as one of the innate characteristics of West New Britain. Taro and banana was one of the main food sources for indigenous people even before Europeans found the region. Officer Todd in 1934 reported that European species of banana was introduced but not really popular among indigenous people. In contrast, the second group represents the characteristics of West New Britain and villages in the region after the full regular contact with Kiaps and other outsiders. This group involves terms such as plantations, medical services, copra, cocoa, Catholic Mission School, agriculture, water tank and savings account. Those reports always mention about medical services such as dental care and medical inspection for indigenous people in West New Britain. I believe this generated critical impact on lives of indigenous people. In similar context, depositing money in bank and creating savings account to benefit from the bank interest clearly show the audiences how outside cultures and instructions from Kiaps influenced New Guineans to behave more like Europeans. Furthermore, plantations enabled indigenous people to make money, which allowed them to use banks.

Natasha also chose the terms copra and Catholic Missionary School as key terms for the reports. Natasha thoroughly read each report and selected interesting points of the report. I did the similar process by finding what would be the few most interesting points of the report that critically influenced the indigenous people in West New Britain. Also, our key terms represented what Kiaps and outsiders provided to indigenous people. For example, Natasha found road construction as one of the key terms for the report by John Reginald Ellem and so did I. This was because the road construction was one of the crucial things outsiders introduced to New Guineans.

Patrol Report: West New Britain District, Talasea, 1961 – 1962

One Comment Add yours

  1. Rachel Hicks says:

    Hi Kyeongbin, it is very interesting how you classify your terms into pre and post interaction with outsiders. How do you know they were pre-interaction if they are being reported by kiaps? Do you think there is significance regarding them talking about aspects of New Britain that are both pre and during colonization?

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