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Siuai also known as “Siwai” Pitek, Emily


“The Siwai occupy the center of the Buin Plain of South Bougainville District, Autonomous Region of Bougainville (formerly North Solomons Province), Papua New Guinea” (Connell, 2016). Bougainville was under the control of Australian officials from World War I until becoming a part the independent Papua New Guinea in 1975. This entry focuses on the Siuai living in southern Bougainville around the time of 1939. Almost all Siuai are affiliated with either the Catholic or Methodist Missions, which arrived in the 1920s. However, at the time this entry focuses on, the Siuai’s affiliations with the Church were nominal—Christianity had not yet made an impact on traditional Siuai beliefs. These beliefs included a variety of supernatural beings (mara), as well as kin group origin stories with kupuna (supernatural) ancestors and sacred places and animals. Although there are no set of ritual practices or full-time religious specialists among the Siuai, there are, however, diviners, magicians, and sorcerers. Because religious beliefs permeate many aspects of Siuai life, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society itself.

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