Chambri - Orientation

Identification. The Chambri (called Tchambuli by Margaret Mead) live south of the Sepik River on an island Mountain in Chambri Lake in East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.

Location. Chambri Lake is approximately 143°10′ E and 4°7′ S. The lake is created by the overflow of two of the Sepik's tributaries. This overflow occurs during the northwest monsoon season, from September to March, when rainfall nearly doubles in intensity from a dry-season average of 2.07 centimeters to an average of 3.72 centimeters per month.

Demography. In 1933, Mead reported that the Chambri population was approximately 500 people, but it is likely that this estimate was too low. It may well have excluded some 250 people: migrant laborers away on plantations, as well as their wives and children remaining on Chambri Island. In 1987, the total number of Chambri living on Chambri Island, and elsewhere in Papua New Guinea and beyond, was about 1,500. Of these, approximately one-half were living in the three contiguous home villages of Kilimbit, Indingai, and Wombun. The next-largest cluster of Chambri live in a settlement on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Wewak.

linguistic Affiliation. The Chambri language is a member of the Nor Pondo Family of Non-Austronesian languages and is related to Yimas, Karawari, Angoram, Murik, and Kopar.

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