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THE KALULI The BeginningWhen the land came into form there were no trees there were no animals there were no streams there was no food But there were people People covered the earth The people had no food and so they were hungry They had no homes so they were cold One stood up and gathered all the people together He told one group to be trees and they became trees He told one group to be fish and they became fish He told one group to be banana one sago and finally all the plants and animals rivers and hills were there The few who were left became the human beings Schieffelin 1976Introduction and HistoryThe Kaluli live in the tropical rainforest in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea on the Great Papuan Plateau They are the most numerous of four related horticultural groups who collectively call themselves Bosavi kalu people of Bosavi The addition of the suffix -li real makes the meaning of Kaluli real peopleThe Bosavi people whose number has been approximated from 1200 to 2000 live in about twenty longhouse communities built on ridges throughout the dense forest Each community is about an hours walk from the next and the vegetation is nearly unbroken between them Although there are signs suggesting that the Kaluli are perhaps more closely related to lowland groups than to their closer neighbors in the New Guinea highlands Bosavi tell no stories of their people coming to their present land from somewhere else Their mythology tells that they have always lived on the plateau Over the past several generations they have been slowly moving eastward into unsettled more heavily forested terrain This movement may be a search for better gardening lands an attempt to escape enemies or flight from epidemics with which they have had to contendKaluli traded extensively with friendly neighbors but it was in the middle 1930s that the first Europeans visited the Great
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