Because the culture is changing, it is important to capture traditional elements on film and in photos before more elders die. I have permission from the elders of the Sawiyano to film their lives. And the Sawiyano documented their own lives with cameras I brought in and also sent in later.
Please visit the YouTube channel for video documentation.
This digital humanities project is not only the documentation for the future generations of Sawiyano, but I hope this will others to gain an appreciation for the Sawiyano culture and to develop an interest in other indigenous cultures. Because traditional ways disappear as natural resources are depleted, I also hope the documentary will show the importance of leaving most areas of the rainforest intact.
The video documentation will show many aspects of the arts and crafts of the tribe. In village life – men, women and even children have different roles and each activity supports another. For example, men make their own items such as woven bracelets, their own instruments, and their own bows and arrows. In addition to the actual making of objects, most of the time the Sawiyano also documented where in the rainforest the supplies are gathered.
Below are lists of a few of the activities that have been documented so far:
MEN AT WORK
- Arrows and bows: gathering different types of wood and bamboo, carving of designs with rat teeth, how each kind of arrow is used for specific prey
- Kundu drums: finding lizard, tar, the wood and final use in sing-sing (dance)
- Jaws harps: finding bamboo and fibers for rope and the playing of it
- Arm Bands: show the gathering of bamboo strips and the weaving of different patterns
- Creating a house: making the leaf shingles, finding the wall and floor material from special tree bark, finding clay for fire pit, finding vines for tying elements together
WOMEN AT WORK
- Apparatus for making sago (food): using found objects to construct new sieve systems at each new gathering location week by week
- Bilums (woven bags): the gathering of fibers from the sago palm, dyeing from berries and roots, weaving, and its various sizes for carrying babies to holding beetle-nut
- Necklaces and earrings of cassowary quills
- Grass skirt: gathering of sago leaves, rolling of fibers into thread, making the many layers of the skirt