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A Faraway, Familiar PlaceAn Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea$
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Michael French Smith

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836863

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836863.001.0001

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Ancestors on Paper

Ancestors on Paper

(p.84) Chapter 6 Ancestors on Paper
A Faraway, Familiar Place

Michael French Smith

University of Hawai'i Press

The author explains how Kragur ancestry allows village chiefs, such as Kitok and William Pileng, to acquire high hereditary status. He first discusses the importance of family ties, mainly by descent through males from a common male ancestor (patrilineal descent), in questions about land. He then talks about his research on how kinship and leadership were related in the traditional system, noting that some Kragur people started to use the title of chief for those who qualified as ramat wolap. He also considers the importance of clans to Kragur people and the secret details of Kragur clan ancestry and concludes by describing a project that he helped launch to record knowledge of clan ancestors; this project was called the wok bilong straksa (“work of structure”) or simply straksa wok (“structure work”).

Keywords:   ancestry, village chiefs, family ties, kinship, leadership, Kragur, ramat wolap, clans, ancestors, straksa

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