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Trobriand Tales, Kwanebuyee Kilivila: Folktales and Mythical Stories from the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea, Collected by Jerry W. Leach and Held at the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
This volume comprises an edited compilation of traditional oral narratives from the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea obtained by Jerry W. Leach from 1970 to 1973, which are held in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives. The narratives encompass key aspects of Trobriand cultural heritage as well as insights into the Kilivila language, regional cosmologies, and past and present social practices. The narratives constitute an elaborate but fragile system of knowledge that is threatened by rapid social change. The book is the culmination of a research project begun in 2011 through the auspices of the Recovering Voices Program at the National Museum of Natural History. Traveling to the Trobriand Islands with copies of the Leach narratives, the editor worked with communities to select the most culturally important and prevalent narratives, 79 of which are presented here. Trobriand communities proposed that those narratives be printed in Kilivila and in English to help preserve traditional knowledge for future generations. Each narrative is categorized in local terms, preceded by details regarding the storytellers and a summary, as well as links to other stories when narratives are related, and many are followed by a list of key words and expressions that are defined in a section on vocabulary. Further explanations and illustrations help clarify and complete the stories, providing examples of traditional objects and techniques as well as their uses.
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