Mono Koame: 'Wij denken ook' ['We Too Think']
An ethnography (in Dutch) about the Yahray (South Papua), with an extensive introduction in English and reference to English translations of key texts by prof. A. Borsboom, prof. L. Buskens and dr. J. Kommers. Edited in co-operation with the Centre for Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Nijmegen.
This book is a multidisciplinary ethnography about the Yahray, a people living in the south of Papua (formerly Irian Yaya and, during colonial times, Dutch New Guinea). For this book, the anthropologist Father J. Boelaars MSC, well known for his ethnography Head-hunters about themselves (1981), collaborated with the ethnopsychiatrist A. Blom, who worked in New Guinea as a medical officer for the colonial government. Both authors intensively experienced the transformation of the Yahray under the influence of the colonial pacification and Christianising. In this book this transformation is presented in Yahray tales, which are rendered in authentic forms. This makes the ethnography a unique representation paying due respect to the voice of a people who, like so many other peoples in Melanesia, experienced dramatic changes. Because of the interdisciplinary venture and because of the specific narrative forms, the ethnography, although resting on research that took place around the middle of the twentieth century, contains many elements of what we now call 'experimental' ethnography. Its humane character, the 'thick description', its attention to the meaning of cultural differences, and its focus on 'indigenous' experiences all fit the central question of the book: to assess what is necessary for reaching inter-cultural communication. It is this kind of communication that is essential in changing Papuan societies, as well as in our own society. Therefore, this book is not only a major contribution to Papuan ethnography, but also to the study of a central problem in today's 'globalising' Human culture.