KENTIGA TRIBE
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Overview: This document is aimed at better informing potential international guests planning on visiting Papua New Guinea and may choose to spend a night or more at Kokop Village, home of the Kentiga Tribe. I come from Kokop Village and a native of the Kentiga Tribe. My father was a Chief of the tribe, so was my grand father and great grandfather. In any event, learning about Kokop and the Kentiga Tribe prior to arriving in Papua New Guinea is important. It provides you with general information to help you better adjust your mindset to this unique traveling destination. Should you need further information, send me an e-mail at skyfdn@hotmail.com.

Tribal Origin: The Kentiga Tribe originated from a flying insect called "Kent". The insect is clothed with a shiny greenish color, has wings, looks a little like a beetle, and produces a deafening sound in the morning and late nights. Commonly found throughout the highlands of Papua New Guinea, the Kent is a tribal symbol as well as source of the Kentiga Tribe's origin. The amount of respect and honor rendered to this insect is high among the Kentigas. It is a taboo for anyone to catch a Kent and bring it in front of any Kentiga person. It is a traditonal law that no Kentiga person should kill any Kent. Anyone that breaks this law is damned with misfortune in life. The Kentiga tribe derived its name from the Kent (click to see picture).

History: It 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.

Villages: The 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.

Subclans: The 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 system.

Tribal 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.

Taboos: Here 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).

Today: The 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 New Guinea.

Contact: If you have any questions, send them via e-mail at skyfdn@hotmail.com, post them online at PNG Tourism Forum, and or Sign Guestbook here. All questions will be immediately answered. Thank you for visiting!

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