is believed that Kokop Village was first founded between the late 1500s
and mid-1600s. Traditional stories, passed on from generation to generation
mention that a young man, named Kent, first settled in what is now called
"Kokop Village." It is strongly believed that he came with other people
and together they settled at Kokop. It is of course certain that he brought
with him a wife. Nobody knows how many children they had. It is also not
known whether or not Kent was a polygamist. The name "Kokop" originated
during Kent's era. Between now and Kent's era, there are over 10 generations
of people. The land of Papua New Guinea was first spotted by Portugese
explorers in the early 1500s. It is during this time that Kent begun his
journey for a new place and ended up settling at Kokop. According to traditional
legends or stories, most of the tribes that live in Western Highlands believed
to have come from the western part of the province; that is, towards what
is now Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces. Before Kent settled at Kokop,
the place was a no-man's land.
Kentiga tribe has grown so much in numbers that some had to leave for new
land. Today, the Kentiga Tribe occupies many villages. They are Romor,
Gulfmulg, Tengtenga, Kaetpeng, Popralg, and Kokop. About 20 percent of
the Kentiga people live at Romor Village, 2 hours drive east of Kokop.
About 25 percent of the tribe live at Tengtenga Village. The remaining
majority live at Kokop and other nearby villages. Kokop is the principal
village of the Kentiga people. Major cultural and festivals of the Kentiga
take place at Kokop. National parliamentary elections' voting day is held
at Kokop. My residence is situated right at the center of Kokop Village.
In fact, the historial landmark, the "Kentiga Tree" ( a tree that is almost
100 years old and the oldest tree in the village) is found in my residence.
Kentiga tribe is divided into seven sub clans. They are: Paralgamps, Jikamps,
Lgagamps, Mokamps, Waikamps, Akelka Raimamps, Akelka Pulg-gamumb. I come
from the Lgagimp sub clan. The subclan division was caused during the early
1880s at a feast as I am told. Since all of the members of each subclan
originate from the same patriarch Kent, we live as brothers and sisters.
That is why, we do not encourage nor practise intermarriages. Those that
are found in such an act maybe be subject to the traditional prosecution
Power: The power structure within my tribe depends on which leader
or leaders having greater influence among the people. Normally the councillor
is considered the paramount leader, although this is disputable. Traditionally,
anyone that was seen by the majority of the people as one that has wisdom,
possessed a level of intelligence, and became effective in problem solving
was rewarded unanimously with the leadership status. One major criteria
of choosing a leader depends on the oratory skills. In the entire Western
Highlands Province, leaders are known easily through their oratory skills.
Public impromptu speeches by leaders are a common scene in many big gatherings.
Excellent oratory skills are sometimes used to attract woman, a traditional
way of seduction that is least common today. The tribal power of the Kentiga
is known to be reputable. Many tribes that war against Kentiga did not
succeed. In fact, Kentiga Tribe is known to be a group of warriors. Although
feared by surrounding tribes, we retain the pride and remain humble citizens
of the tribe. Civil obedience is commonly found among the Kentiga. The
present tribal councillor is James Kond, He is one of the top businessman
from the tribe and the provice of Western Highlands.
are some of the endless list of examples of taboos practised at Kokop:
Inside a house, when a made is seated, a woman is not allowed to walk in
front of him because it is rude. When a woman has her period, she is not
allow to touch food and live in the same house with the men. When visitors
are around, no children is to make noise of any kind. (A book can be written
about taboos alone in Kokop, as practised by the Kentiga people, although
most of them are beginning to blur).
Kentiga people of today are not the same as in years during the time of
Kent. Many older people are unhappy with the life of the Kentigas today.
They complain bitterly that there is division of all kinds within the tribe
which never was a thought in mind for all Kentigas. Though religion holds
together this frail tribe at the edge of disunity caused by western politics
and personal vendetta, the people of Kentiga live each day doing the best
they can for their tribe and community. Things have changed, people have
changed, ideas have changed, behavior of the people have changed, and of
course the lifestyle of the people have changed. For the good or for the
worse is solely a judgement that "Time" alone will make. For now, the Kentiga
remain one tribe so unique and different among a thousand tribes in Papua
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