National Geographic : 1941 Mar
Unknown New Guinea Held by Snout and Flanks, a Pig Was Sacrificed for the Feast at the Bele Convention prescribes death by an arrow through the lungs. The blood was saved for sprinkling rites which took place after the livers had been cooked by the elders and shared with the white men (page 336). suits of natives I saw in other parts of New Guinea were the helter-skelter efforts of chil dren compared with those of the inhabitants of the Grand Valley. In their gardening, devoted primarily to sweet potatoes, some taro, bananas, and to bacco, they showed an understanding of the basic principles of erosion control and drain age. From the neat stone fences surrounding their carefully weeded fields it was easy to imagine that we were in New England rather than in an isolated valley of the last of Stone Age man (page 329). Like the men, the few women were nude, except for a short skirt and a coarse net bag hung over the back from a band around the forehead. Dr. Huls, who succeeded in get ting several of the natives to submit to ethnological measurements, found that their height ranged from 4 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 8/2 inches. Nothing, however, could tempt them to submit to a blood test. They have a superstitious fear of giving anyone a particle of their bodies, even a bit of hair or a fingernail. We found some evidence among them of ceremonial cannibalism, and Dr. Huls believes that, instead of burying their dead, they cre mate the bodies. From the mossy forest we moved down to the south bank of the Bele River. The camp was at an approximate altitude of 7,200 feet, about 14 miles from Lake Habbema (p. 334). White Man's Law in the Wilderness To prevent the ever-curious natives from overrunning the camp, Teerink set up a sim ple form of government. He appointed two who appeared to be headmen as diplomatic agents, whose function was to handle trans actions between the expedition and the natives. He also delegated two younger men as policemen. These four officials were given white bands to wear around their heads as a mark of their exalted rank. They realized the distinction conferred upon them and for the most part performed their duties well. One of the policemen, whom the soldiers nicknamed Beo, was able to call members of the expedition by name and showed a remark able talent in pronouncing Dutch words, even those with the difficult "sch" sound. In addi tion, he was the only native who dared to eat rice and dried fish and seemed to appreciate coffee and tea. He never tired of lending our men a hand, and when he was not helping with the laundry he was bringing in firewood or performing other useful chores.