Narratives of government and church among the Imyan of Papua / Irian Jaya, Indonesia

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Government agents, foreign corporations and aid agents coming into contact with people such as the Imyan described in this paper, should not assume that they can ease their way by having an understanding of "Papuan values" or even something as specific as "Imyan traditional values". The values of the I myan are dynamic and under stress. They are products of the recent past, particular Imyan perceptions of who they were, and who they might be. Moreover, they are shaped through increasing discrepancies between Imyan experiences and expectations that show no sign of abating. This paper illustrates that understanding the Imyan entails not only knowing that these Papuan people encountered Protestantism, Dutch colonialism and an attempted absorption into the Indonesian state, but also being aware of Imyan understandings, adaptation, and assessment of those 'experiences and teachings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalState Society and Governance in Melanesia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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