Thursday, October 22, 2009
In the early 1930’s Australian gold prospectors, led by Michael Leahy, hike into the highlands of Papua New Guinea in an area formerly unexplored by western cultures. Even coastal tribes would not venture into these areas. The dense rainforest, and extremely rough terrain combined with the dangers from tribal conflicts had previously kept these areas isolated. The expedition is recorded on film and can now be seen in the 1983 documentary First Contact. When the people of this particular village see Leahy they think he is a ghost and run away in fear. He mercilessly shoots one of their pigs (their most prized possessions), confirming their fears of his supernatural powers. The story goes that in order to be convinced that this white-man is human he ‘must’ sleep and impregnate a woman from the village. It isn’t until a child is born that they believe.