New Guinea
New Guinea lies to the north of Australia and is the world's second largest island.

With a population over 10,000, the Gende are one of the larger of a thousand language groups living on the island of New Guinea. The Gende's homeland is in Madang Province.

The largest Gende village with close to five hundred residents when I began my fieldwork there in 1982.

Firsthand field experience is the source of most anthropological findings and a basis for sound theory. Another name for fieldwork is ethnography.

Anthropology is the study of human cultures. Cultural anthropologists, like myself, work with living peoples while archaeologists tell us about the past.

A people's (or group's) traditions, beliefs and customs.

Ethnography refers to both fieldwork in a particular culture and the written results of that fieldwork.


Melanesia is a cultural area which includes the islands of New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, parts of Fiji, and other islands located in the southwestern Pacific.

A work of scientific description and comparison required for completion of a doctorate in anthropology and almost always based on firsthand fieldwork.

Provincial Research Officer
Each of Papua New Guinea's nineteen provinces has research officers who oversee the organization and execution of research in their particular provinces.

Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies
A body charged with coordinating research in Papua New Guinea and facilitating the achievement of research and visa requirements for national and foreign researchers.


Tok Pisin
Neo-Melanesian, or tok pisin, is a fully developed creole language spoken throughout much of New Guinea and, with variations, elsewhere in Melanesia.

A length of cloth wrapped around the lower or entire body. Introduced by Europeans offended by traditional dress.

Non-citizen residents. Examples include expatriate workers, their families and long-term fieldworkers. Tourists are rarely referred to as expatriates.


Trobriand Islands
A group of coral islands off the eastern tip of New Guinea. Made famous by anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski.

Melanesian Big Man
A type of leader who achieves influence through generosity and being at the center of a large network of kin and other exchange partners.


Bundi is the location of a catholic mission and government patrol that oversee in part the religious and political affairs of the Gende.

Upper Bundi
Refers to Gende villages higher up in the mountains than those located closer to Bundi. An example of an Upper Bundi village is Yandera, a day's walk from Bundi and located in the shadow of the Chimbu Ridge (10,000 feet).

Lower Bundi
Those villages closer to Bundi.

A tok pisin word used to refer to European women or any Papua New Guinean woman who assumes an air of superiority or Western affluence.


Yandima Clan
One of two clans in Yandera village. Clans are descent groups, membership in which is determined--in the case of the Gende--through a line of males (patrilineal). Thus, a man's children are members of his clan.

Tundega Clan
One of two clans in Yandera village. The clan that adopted me as "Ruge's daughter."

The giving and receiving of goods and services that binds members of a group to one another and establishes relations of power and influence. The Gende practice reciprocal exchange, often delayed and sometimes competitive in nature.

A large town in Eastern Highlands Province, Goroka has been a popular destination of Gende migrants since its beginning as a small Australian outpost in the 1930's and 1940's.

Squatter Settlement
Clusters of shanties and self-help housing--called squatter settlements--are located in every town and city in Papua New Guinea. "Squatter" is a misnomer, however, as residents in most settlements pay rent to local landowners.

The name of a small Gende settlement on the outskirts of Goroka.

Air Niugini
Papua New Guinea's national airline.

Port Moresby
The capital of Papua New Guinea.

Mount Wilhelm
The highest mountain in Papua New Guinea (15,000 feet). Mount Wilhelm is the southwestern corner of Gende territory.


Reflective Fieldwork Accounts
Accounts that consider the impact of gender and other differences on both the lives of the people being studied and the ethnographic enterprise.

Copyright 1996 by Laura Tamakoshi and Brian Cross