Mundugumor - Orientation

Identification. The Mundugumor live in the area of the central Yuat River in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. "Mundugumor" is an old name relating to their art styles; contemporary residents typically refer to themselves as "Biwats," the name of one of their villages as well as the name sometimes given to the Yuat River.

Location. The dominant geographical feature of the Sepik region is the Sepik River itself, which meanders down from mountains through the hills, swamps, and grassland plains of the province. One of its major tributaries is the Yuat, a swiftmoving and strongly currented river that floods periodically. Although swamps and grasslands predominate to the north and south, the Mundugumor environment includes rain Forest as well. The climate is tropical; the rainy season extends from approximately November through March.

linguistic Affiliation. Biwat is a member of the Yuat Language Family.

Demography. The total population of the Mundugumor at the beginning of this century was probably about 1,000 people. Land and environmental resources were ample to support such a population. However, the population has increased steadily, and now land and resource pressures are being felt. Many people today leave the area and obtain jobs in towns and cities; some participate in resettlement schemes in nearby areas such as Angoram.

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