Daribi - History and Cultural Relations



According to their own ethnohistorical tradition, the Daribi lived originally near Mount Ialibu, in the southern highlands, and then moved eastward, inhabiting the deep valley of the Tua River to the west of Mount Karimui. During this time their staple food was sago, and they took advantage of the large limestone caverns there for shelter. They intermarried with the Pawaian people living at the base of Mount Karimui, eventually moving up onto the plateau. Many of the Daribi phratries trace their origins to Daribi-Pawaian marriages made at that time. Those Pawaian groups that were not assimilated by the Daribi were driven eastward ahead of the expanding population to the valleys of the Sena and Pio rivers, where they now reside. The Daribi seem to have been "pursued" by intermarrying Wiru peoples from the southern Highlands in the same fashion as they drove the Pawaians, for Several Wiru clans took up residence in the extreme west of the settled region at Karimui, and were driven back to the Wiru area late in the nineteenth century after a period of sorcery accusations and internecine warfare. These movements, and certainly the ability to settle inland, away from the rivers, seem to have been involved with the introduction of sweet potatoes as a staple crop. Daribi had their first non-Melanesian contacts with the explorers Leahy and Dwyer in 1930 and Champion in 1936, and they were pacified in 1961-1962, when an airstrip, patrol post, and Lutheran mission station were built at Karimui. Daribi were incorporated in the newly formed Chimbu District (Simbu Province) in 1966.

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