The Kila Wari stories: framing a life and preserving a cosmology

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This chapter is a sketch drawn from a work in progress about the way a collection of stories which together frame the life of a single heroic figure engender the identity of the Vula‘a, a coastal people of Papua New Guinea. I conducted fieldwork in the Vula‘a village of Irupara in 2001 as part of my doctoral research, and made a return visit in 2005. My doctoral research was concerned with Melanesian Christianity, particularly women’s experiences of the United Church. During the first visit I did not anticipate the project that would be initiated by my male interlocutors. From the outset, the men were eager to tell me about Kila Wari, the great warrior of Alewai. At first I paid little attention to their stories, dismissing Kila Wari for his apparent lack of relevance to my research. Yet I came to realise that the Kila Wari stories were contributing to my historical and cultural understanding, as they have much to say about Vula‘a religion and cosmology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTelling Pacific lives
Subtitle of host publicationprisms of process
EditorsBrij V. Lal, Vicki Luker
Place of PublicationAustralian National University, A.C.T.
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781921313813
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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