While the Tangu are ethnographically quite similar to their neighbors, they consider themselves to be a distinct polity, tied closely together by kinship, trading, and exchange relationships. Perhaps the most distinctive feature setting them apart from their neighbors is their participation in a disputing activity known as br'ngun'guni, in which grievances are aired at public assemblies. European contact with Tangu was first made by German administrative officials shortly before World War I, although the event had relatively little effect on traditional life. Effective "control" was established by the Australians in the 1920s, at which time a Society of the Divine Word mission was also founded. Tangu have been known for participation in cargo cults or millenarian movements under the influence of two messianic leaders: first Mambu, in the 1930s and 1940s, and later Yali, in the 1950s.