Sengseng - History and Cultural Relations

Culturally, the Sengseng are almost identical to speakers of other Pasismanua languages, but they also have much in common with speakers of other southwest New Britain Languages, particularly Arawe and Lamogai (Bibling). The difficult terrain and sparse population isolated many interior Sengseng from direct contact with the Australian government until the mid-1950s, though villagers nearer the coast came under government influence earlier. Followers of a cargo cult centered outside Sengseng territory persuaded a number of interior people to move nearer the coast in the late 1950s, and these villagers were converted to Roman Catholicism. Since that time they also have belonged to the system of local government councils, whereas interior villages still had a system of government-appointed headmen in 1981. Missionaries began to work in the interior about 1984.

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