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Orokaiva Pitek, Emily


The Orokaiva consist of several tribes that reside in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea. The Orokaiva have a history of European contact, as Papua New Guinea was annexed by the British government in 1888, and subsequently became an Australian territory in 1905. This entry focuses specifically on the Aiga tribe around the time of 1925, as the Aiga are at this point "less contaminated by European influence than most of the others" (Williams and Murray, 1930:7). This entry considers the Orokaiva religious group to be coterminous with the society at large; the religious sphere of Orokaiva life is bound up with the functioning of the society as a whole. The Orokaiva religion is concerned primarily with spirits of the dead. A Taro Cult was established in the early 1900's, and was originally directed toward supplicating taro spirits. This quickly shifted towards the placation of spirits of ancestors and departed relatives, who are said to control taro growth. The Orokaiva Taro Cult is both a fertility cult and cult of the dead. Religious practitioners (called taro men) act as medicine men, sorcerers, and weather magicians.

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Attribution 4.0 International