Chambri(Tchambuli)

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CHAMBRI (TCHAMBULI)

The Chambri People Currently

Now a non-violent community, the Chambri still maintains their lifestyle through bartering and inter-tribal trade. The diet of the Chambri continues to consist mainly of sago and fish. As an island community, fishing is a staple of this society. The surplus fish that are not needed for the villages’ nourishment are then taken and traded in the mountains for sago. Trade takes its form in the way of barter markets that occur on a six-day schedule. Barter markets are located in the Sepik Hills and women from the Chambri travel to meet other women from various villages spread throughout the hills to barter their food. Unlike their history with the Iatmul society, the Chambri and the villages they trade with have a more equal status between each. However, as anthropologists visited and studied the Chambri culture, their villages and culture were affected. Anthropologists brought some of the Chambri people to the United States to share their culture. When bringing them back to Papua New Guinea they brought back new ideas and customs they had acquired from their travels. As the world modernized, the Chambri villages became less financially stable through their trade and goods. However even through the financial distress, the Chambri culture and people survived and continued to practice their ways.

Women of the Chambri

In Margaret Mead’s field study research in 1933 in Papua New Guinea, she outlined a position of women in the Chambri community that was unusual to what had been thought to be the norm across cultures. She speculated that women in the Chambri were the power individuals within the villages instead of men. How Margaret came to this conclusion was based on a few attributes of the Chambri. She first noted that the Chambri women were the primary suppliers of food. Contrary to other cultures the Chambri women were the ones who did the fishing for the community. This empowerment and...
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