Mundugumor - History and Cultural Relations

Little is known about the history of the Mundugumor before Western contact. Tradition says that the villages were founded by people coming from the west. A significant event was a change in the course of the Yuat River, a change that left two of the villages in the bush and made river villages of the other four. Western contact came early in this century in the form of German and Australian traders, administrators, and missionaries. Warfare and raiding as well as many Ceremonial activities ceased. Men began to leave their villages to work on coastal plantations for extended periods. Although a complete mission station with airstrip and resident priest was not established until 1956, mission effects were present much earlier. There is now a school in the village of Biwat, and many children continue additional education outside of the area and go on to skilled and professional jobs in urban settings.

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