BY KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
The first is because of the entrenched culture of tribal warfare, which can erupt at any moment over such disparate issues as women, pigs, land, elections and deaths by intent or accident.
The second is the lack of opportunity for economic advancement. Related to this is the unsuitability of the Galkope lands for development due to the steep terrain and volatile weather patterns.
The third is sorcery. Many innocent people have been killed, tortured and injured because they were suspected by their neighbours and clansmen of causing events that are, in most cases, natural or attributable to logical causes.
These reasons are, for many Galkope, more compelling than their tribal affiliations. They also presage a desire to live in peace and harmony.
In the early days of colonisation the Galkope men heard stories of the Leahy brothers who operated stores in Mount Hagen and Goroka and how there was a big road connecting the two places built in 1948.
From these stores, it was rumoured, one could buy - with money made from paper, metal and shell - all the white men’s wonderful goods. To get this money one had to work for the white men.
The trade stores that they had heard about reached their door step courtesy of the Catholic Church in the 1960s. After two decades of rumours about money and western goods they finally saw both. A few years’ later coffee trees were also introduced into the Galkope territory.
The Galkope men watched these economic developments with avarice and could see no reason why they couldn’t venture out and make a fortune for themselves.
Many of the clans reasoned that if they bought land along the Highlands Highway (later renamed the Okuk Highway after the pioneering politician) they would be able to tap into this economic development and make a lot of money with which to buy the white men’s goods.
In the late 1950s a Nimai Kane woman married Gandin of Kumai Dika Ku. Mol, a niece of the woman, came up from Polko Yauro and stayed with her aunt at Kup. As she grew up she courted a Muglwa Ku man called Apa and later married him. They lived at Moruma.
Mor, one of the chiefs of the Nimai Kane, followed his sister Mol to Moruma and lived at Armar.
When there was a pig killing festival in the Bari lands he rounded up all the pigs he had raised at Armar and took them to the festival to slaughter. The fattest of the pigs was called Moruma Nem.
Mor was wearing a loincloth made of cotton and had a steel axe swung over his right shoulder when he arrived at Ulwal with his pigs. The Bari men were wearing traditionally woven loincloths and had stone axes.
When he killed the pigs during the pig killing festival all the Bari men admired the pigs’ fat and his European items as well.
“I raised the pigs at Armar,” said Mor proudly.
“Aaa… pah! Look at the fat. It is as thick as a banana stem,” said the Bari men with envy. After seeing Mor many of them considered leaving their lands and returning with him to Moruma.
Pigs were the only item of wealth among the Bari and there was much prestige attached to owning large and fat ones.
In 1965, Council Tei, a Muglwa Ku chief went to Gurual to collect taxes for the government.
“Welcome to Ulwal,” said the Nimai Kane men. “It is good you came but what will we give you. We live on cliffs and limestone. Nothing good grows here.” After a brief survey Tei confirmed the validity of their remarks.
“I can move some of you to Awagle-Moruma where the land is better if you like,” said Council Tei.
The Nimai Kane men, remembering Mor’s fat pigs during the Bari pig killing festival, agreed with a smile to migrate to Awagle-Moruma.
Some Nimai Kane men left with Council Tei in late 1965 and took up blocks of land at Awagle-Moruma. Some of the land given to the Nimai Kane was swamp traditionally believed to be the homes of evil spirits. The Muglwa Ku men had always avoided them for this reason.
If they were near the swamps when nature called they were careful to carry their waste home to dispose of it. They believed that if the spirits fed on their wastes they would succumb to sickness and death.
However, the Nimai Kane men who took portions of the swamps at Gunape, Gogl Mugl, Kon Taiya, Alau Kul and River Tawa, were convinced they could drain the land and convert it into something of higher economic value.
Mama Dau, a Bari Sipai Ku woman, courted a Kori Ku man within the Kumga clan in the late 1950s. She took Cecilia, her girlfriend with her and connived for her to marry a Kori Ku man too.
Dongi, her smaller brother and her cousin, Kal, also followed her to Donale. The boys grew up at Donale and in time Dongi got married to a Bonma Ku woman and Kal married a Kori Ku woman.
Years later, in the late 1970s, Dongi and Kal lured almost half of their Sipai Gauma kinsmen from Gurual to Wara Nomans. It is predicted that in the years to come the Sipai Gauma people at Donale will be absorbed into the Kori Ku sub-clan of the Kumga clan of Kumai.
The Bari Gui Gauma and Maima Gauma clans left for Kup. Some of them even migrated to the oil palm blocks at Kimbe on West New Britain in the New Guinea Islands, leaving just two of their families behind.
Recently some of the Bari Kiri Meuwa Mem and the Alane Gauma Nimai Kane left for Goroka in the Eastern Highlands. Prior to that, many had gone to Banz to work in the tea and coffee plantations. Many Bal Kaula clansmen also went there for the same reason to Aviamp.
The constant Dom and Bari warfare saw the Dua Gauma clan, which inhabited the Dom-Bari borders, leave for Kimil Kar and Kumbagl in the Wahgi Valley. A few went east and settled at Zokozoi on the western fringes of Goroka township.
Clan warfare within the Dom tribe saw half of the Bal Gauma also leave for Aviamp. The Aure Gauma clans left their homelands for Ganige and Kundiawa town. A few Dom Nulai Gauma clansmen migrated to Kimbe in West New Britain.
A good number of Kurpi Dua-Nul also left for the Kundiawa-Gembogl district in the Simbu Province. Others migrated to Port Moresby and elsewhere in the New Guinea Islands.
A few Guri Kunana people also left their territory for the Wahgi Valley, Port Moresby and the New Guinea Islands - all to escape the scourge of tribal warfare.
Half of the Yuri tribe are gone from the wonderful Mon Maril Valleys. Ela Kane Kuna Alai, Kun and Kol Bia’s family bought a big piece of land at Minj in the Wahgi Valley and live there to this day. A faction of the Yuri Beri Gale moved to Miunde on the border of the Simbu and Jiwaka Provinces.
The Yuri Kumai Kane bought a piece of land on the eastern fringe of Ganige and a faction of the Yuri Mian Kane settled at 6 Mile in Lae in the Morobe Province. Other factions settled at Kunjip and Ulier. Other individual family have gone to Port Moresby, Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Eastern Highlands, West New Britain, Madang, Oro and Morobe Provinces.
Despite these migrations there are fine fibre threads back to the Galkope lands. The Galkope of the diaspora contribute money to support socio-political and spiritual activities, whether good or bad, back in the Galkope territory.
They even buy firearms, bullets and hand grenades and send them back home to use during wars in an attempt to help their clans uphold their name.
Most of the Galkope of the diaspora also fly their departed home to the Galkope for burial, even when they are living far away.
People have also left the Galkope because of the entrenched sorcery and sanguma. To date the exodus from the Galkope territory has been on a huge scale. Whether or not they will ever return to their homelands is only known to each individual.