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In 1928 at the age of 27 Margaret Mead with a round of ologist husband embarked on a research expedition to the island of Manas and the Australian trust territory of New Guinea. After six months of living and working with the inhabitants of the village of Mary we just emerging from the stunning doctor me wrote the now classic. Growing up in New Guinea in 1953 during the village it made an enormous cultural leap into the 20th century. Margaret Mead returned to Barrie to see for herself. She described the changes that had taken place in the book new lives in August and September of 1967. Margaret Mead went back to very well I will visit with the people whose lives she had studied were almost 40 years this is the story of that event and doesn't change.
Aug. 26 1967. Other methods of transportation in the Territory have changed but an outrigger canoe is still the best way of getting to Perry this is a much shorter trip than the first trip the first trip. We knew we were coming to Paris because we had to carry boys with us. No one of them was Rafi amount and he was about 16 and the other was you know Joe the pope. Older Brother. Did you ever know him. Joseph an hour yes. Or is it just pondered. Am money I mean come one time even for a big brother belong Joseph and now we got another fellow named
Joseph Joseph for my math test and I pass here. Thats all I never knew that you might pass for now. I would argue we have what we have got I love you and your money is the first student from Perry to attend the University of Papua New Guinea in Portnoy's. She is excited about this chance to see her parents and friends in the village. You know you know to put me
out the way I love potential and if you want to more no way. I
may be getting that. Thank you. All this 27 1967
I woke up this first day to the early morning sounds of a go late as familiar to me now as the early morning sounds outside the window of my apartment in New York. The past and the present mingle in the midst of enormous change some things remain this thing. How Levy is cooking Sago. As Perry women have done since the beginning of mammas history but the quality of her life and the lives of all mamas women would be much less pleasant today if there had not been great changes in the past 20 years. Right left right left right left right left right left right left right left right left
right left the first classes of the day are about to start at the Perry primary school it is the children of parents who gain the most from the changes of the past twenty years by their Guardian reading books and thinking feeling they didn't get it. Rana thank you for letting me go out for you to read.
John King the pack is fishing its voice carries in the early morning film change has not been kind to kill or perhaps without the privileges that would have been accorded him as a member of Perry's leading clan used today an aristocrat without a title a wrestler a natural leader unsuited to the new way of life. I am. I am who I
am I am. Very
good day. There are no highways or skyscrapers. There are no roads no electric lights no running water. But the people of Perry share the same world as the people of Sydney and New York. But 40 years ago at the time of my first visit the people were just emerging from the stone in one thousand twenty eight. The people of Perry lived as they had lived for hundreds of years of fishing and trading people. They lived literally in the sea. The village was a primitive Venice. There was no land except a few tiny island. The mainland was a quarter of a mile away. The setting was beautiful but life in the village was far from idyllic although warfare had been abolished for several years. War dances still occurred in peri in one hundred twenty eight.
They searched to express the dominant emotions of the people. Aggression and anger. Now not for war but to celebrate the enormous exchanges of food and property which Sennott around marriage. These exchanges formed the economic basis of peri society and were treated like warfare dressed as they would for war. Armed with spears and wearing phallic shells the men would dance behind the display of dogs teeth and shell money with phallic gestures sneers and insults. They implied that the recipients would never be able to repay this enormous that for it was the unceasing effort to repay his debts. That was the lifelong motivation of a Perry man. He entered this economic treadmill at the time of his marriage which in Paris was a purely financial arrangement in which the bridegroom was bound in debt to the man who had purchased a bride for him.
The only alternative to this way of life was going away to work for Europeans. Recruitment of native labor had been started by the Germans during their occupation of the territory prior to the First World War in 1921 when the League of Nations created the mandated territory of New Guinea under Australia's administration. The policy of recruiting labor from the villages was continued through the natives. The government system of indentured labor was burdensome but essentially external promise man wanted some of the things they could buy or trade or work for. And they liked the adventure sailing the seas in European ship young mammas men served as boats crew and worked closely with white men. They learned to judge their masters quite accurately. Some of them made excellent administrators some indifferent one. The capital of the parish where the new idea of the white man
based on a model. Great training for burns employed large numbers of Navy work boys in their darkside and ship operations and also on their plantation for being the main export of the territory. Some work boys were exposed for the first time in the miracle of the airplane. Planes were used to fly and mining equipment to service the goldfield mountains and you can
service carriers and guides for explorers opening up new parts of the territory. One of the principle areas of communication between Europeans and natives was medicine the Christian ethic and had brought a widespread knowledge of drugs to the parrot. Even when patrols or perspectives penetrated into areas where the people had never seen it like it was only a matter of minutes before stories for attention missions in the Territory were a mixed blessing. They set up school ran hospitals and trained a limited number of catechist teachers and medical assistants for their own situation. On the other hand they froze the people and very local versions of Christianity which were dead with out into the wider world.
The work boys were in a European controlled world but definitely not of it. After serving their period of indentured labor they returned to their villages to marry and take up their old way of life. It was a way of life that streams be vulnerable to change. Man young and old were pitted against each other in an endless round of work and competition a condition which seemed intolerable. After the complete freedom of childhood for the children the Perrier were totally unprepared to enter this grim society. They were carefully trying to meet the physical demands of carrying life but they were allowed to ignore its social demands completely. Well their parents were consumed by work and competitive struggle. The children did nothing but play at fishing swimming and paddling the monist child was Lord of the universe undisciplined and unchecked by any reverence for his elders
monist children were asked to play no part in the adult world. The only children who did any work at all were the five boys all in their teens whom we turned over the running of our household. The original four are still on. Oh my yes and local. That's all me looking past now looking one for the past me making the nineteen twenty eight now me talk talk all together you fellas come off now you're looking very strong you're coming stop and you need one in the industry will you get one for a photo of your highness model why now. Now you know when there's Nana one from along now no I mean like guessing that one cell along the Congo and we sit down and share. Now your fellow savvy along this anthropologist usually finish
that so a long time we come up wrong 19 20 you know I mean you're going to board to town now and you your Tango same one name being on the same you can move and I thing that I've left and will understand when you see nothing to something that's never been the best. You know going to tell you I mean really do you know I believe you know when your middle name didn't do India and you you know damn well really young when they do you know when you know what I mean to me selling papers. I want to you know and you know you got me when you hear me talking you're
going to know you know that's only like straight place here now right. You know how strong I am now. I mean or anything I am wrong I am. Hard as it was for man life in Perry was even more difficult for women. From the moment she was patrol a little girl was surrounded by two blues. Her childhood was over. At puberty she was blessed not with the hope that she would be happy but with the hope that she would be virtuous hardworking and bring a great deal of money into the family. After the wedding ceremony in which she was simply an object of Barker she was shunned by her debt ridden husband. He blamed her for the loss of his freedom.
He was aggressive and hostile. His children were born they and their father were often in league against it. Only in middle age in planning for their children's marriages would husband and wife talk together freely. For then they would be grim hard working partners in the shared economic enterprise in all aspects of peri life. Forty years ago the seeds of change existed. It existed in their knowledge as a seafaring trading people. But other peoples did things in different ways. It existed in the fact that they lived in the present. They had no calendar and no history beyond the memory of the oldest person alive. It existed in their physical skill and adaptability to the scene by dealing with the unpredictable was a daily necessity. And it existed in the abrupt shift from the freedom of childhood to the restrictions of work and marriage. A shift
for which they were totally unprepared and which left them angry aggressive and impatient. They were psychologically ready for change but there were no real alternatives in this closed society. So the children played the men fished and traded the women grew old before their time. As far as you me go finish Now you may belong before true not in the room in a room with too much. No I want to thank you for having me. And we don't want to miss you so
you become a man finished. You know LA Mondrian you know up and you want to be when you know me and you. Come up to you when you can go.
That's all before long long time you stand up. You talk you talk you want to say one fella you got finished you know come back to show me. Now you talk to me. Will you come back you know finding me that's when we come back and finding you will sort of make you think you go back a long hour now. Now the same after Mommy come looking you that saw me come inside long house and I'm going to make an come along the still a bridge. Do you live alone you know me come along no you them I'm going to become a grandmother Grammy I want to me Come on come on and I now you go back to Long Island you know like Sandy cooking you to me. I mean like putting on your blog.
All this thirty three thousand nine hundred sixty seven in modern Perry provision is made for
those who are too old to adapt easily to the new way of life for them. Houses are built over water instead of on man. Today in such a house very much like the one she lived in as a bride 40 years ago an old woman is in Mom's village. There are no doctors to warn of immanent they're afraid of dying alone. Old people are apt to summon their relatives with a series of false along. That is not the case today with the old woman who has John kill a Paki mother and and his daughter alone with its grandmother. In
1928 how life and death rested with the ghost of the most recently dead male member of the house of illness was believed to result from angering a ghost usually by a minor sex offense or failure to repay a debt as punishment. The ghost would take away bits of a man's substance considered to be essential to life. If the stuff was returned the patient recovered. If the patient died. The rule of that goes and the dead man would take his place. Why
do you know that even if you know what I want I will get it when you haven't when you don't also want to be where you are you're not going to get I mean you know what you're thinking. September 2nd 1967 the death of the old woman is a
reminder of how fast the primitive cultures of the world are disappearing and a reminder too of how much the nature of anthropological fieldwork has changed in 40 years. In 1928 I worked with a comforting knowing that everything I recorded about their life would be all that was unique. Vanishing and would be useful. I was equipped to understand the tight little world of the people of Paris but they were totally unable to understand me and the ideas and values I live. Today the people of the same world. My work takes on new significance as my knowledge of their past contributes to the changes they want to make. Meanders
doing her washing to music does not surprise me. Perry no longer cut off from the rest of the world as it seems to 1928. Sixteen years later the United States will be at war and an American crew rather than a train were given the job. When
four days after American troops invaded our Japanese headquarters for the whole group complete the occupation of areas in the Admiralty when the actual fighting was over used a staging area for the continuing American operations in the Pacific. A force of men and materials was enormously greater than anything the people had ever experienced. The American Navy was the largest Pearl Harbor and million American soldiers poured through the air
fighting a war with the most highly developed in the world ever and some of its command respect. The Americans and the Americans took responsibility for the preservation of the caste relationship which
existed between Europeans and they were friendly and generous and they gave abundantly of their supplies food and clothing. The Americans became full of Americans. Many were parts of American military uniform. They rode in American and American canoe. To the people of my lines it defined the distance between master and boy. Things will disappear in the presence of American Negroes in the army and Phebe had a special significance for the negroes were doing most of the manual labor escaped them and their pride the people with whom they identified as black had mastered this most impressive American culture. The way belong name was clearly not the only possibility for black in the American camps of Quonset huts which had grown so
suddenly out of the flood of materials that poured from the cargo ships. The natives experienced a new modern way of life in which things were done right. Life was set straight and men lived in seeming Brotherhood and solidarity. Watching the Americans in my mama's grasp the idea that there existed a total civilized way of life about which civilized man knew and they did not. They desired what they saw. Why could they not be made all right as the white man were and as the Americans that made the news. Why could they nothing brought inside the world society which in its military forms of thinking had come to them in war. There had been discontent with the old way before the war. Now it seemed to many of the younger man unbearable that the war should fade away. If the American army should go home and under the old forms of the
Australian administration the old separate course of the native way of life should return. The war had left them on us with the feeling the change was now possible. The people of Perry and the other villagers had finally been exposed to a real alternative to their old way of life. He
was. I am I am I am. All right long time. But as you know yet. I mean.
I mean I mean sadness no not I mean last September 3rd 1967 I never attend church here without remembering the events that led to Perry's hermetic break with the past and with the Catholic faith they had adopted in the 1930s the mammas version of the Bible. The long story of God does not end for the New Testament and it describes how God sent think English the Germans and the Australians to enlighten the natives how the churches and the government conspired to keep the natives in ignorance. God sent the Americans to help and how they came but then went home and how finally God found a man who would bring his truth to New Guinea. The name of that man was power of First Sergeant in the police force. How I had been caught in rebel during the war for two years he had saved the lives of many work boys from Ana and other parts of the
territory by dealing skillfully with the Japanese. Although this is precisely what the retreating Australians had told him to do he was treated as a collaborator when the war ended. After a lengthy trial he was released for lack of evidence. Now they are returning to Manas from rebel in October of banking 46 and began to establish a new political structure within which he hoped to unite all the people of the Admiralty. There were sharp divisions between the monist and their lagoon villages. The UCI who lived father in a non-monic and I'm a tanker who lived on the little islands off the coast probably out called for an end to these divisions and to the rivalries that existed between different tribes and different villages. From now on they would all be one people. The symbol of the new unity was the meeting house which Galileo had built on his home island of Ballarat. Probably I urge them honestly goon villages to move ashore and arrange their
houses in the pattern of European community within each village there would be a new order of life in which the people would work in unity and this would come to be known as the new form of fashion. The old customs and separated children from adult men from women and grown men from each other were to be eliminated. Land rights and trade across village lines were to be collected handled in a cooperative spirit of brotherhood. Money saved from the Warriors was to be pooled in the central fund and young man were to be discouraged from leaving the villages to work for Europeans. By these means Palios said. It would be possible to conserve the money and labor essential for the launching of the new society into the modern world. The spiritual cornerstone of his plan was the long story of God.
We're excited by the promise of the people. The intensity of the goods sent by God and the spirits of the Europeans. But
the cargo failed to come the noise subsided. The villagers who had thrown away all their old things in anticipation of the cargo were now ready to take the first practical steps towards each treatment apparently hours long term. In 1953 when I arrived and learned I would two graduate students page Watts and his wife I was confronted with conflicting rumors about.
NET Festival
Episode Number
Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal. Part 1
Producing Organization
Educational Broadcasting Corporation. NET Division
Contributing Organization
Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
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Episode Description
The fortieth anniversary of Dr. Margaret Mead's first expedition to New Guinea is commemorated in this ninety-minute documentary. The anthropologist is shown at work among the villagers of Peri on the New Guinea island of Manus. Their forty-year transition from Stone Age to the twentieth century is also documented. The project was additionally supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Old Dominion Fund, and J.M. Kaplan Fund, Inc.
Episode Description
In 1928, early in a long and distinguished career as an anthropologist, Margaret Mead made her first expedition to the village of Peri on Manus, one of the Admiralty Islands in the Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea, and later wrote the classic study "Growing Up in New Guinea." In May 1953 Dr. Mead left once again for New Guinea to do a restudy of the primitive community which she had visited a quarter of a century before. She found the village intact and the children she had studied grown to adulthood, ready to go over the past, reconstruct the intervening years, and let her share in their present struggles to understand how Peri had become a modern community. This restudy is published in "New Lives for Old." In 1964 and 1965 she returned for two further studies of the same village. The film "Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal" is a film about change. It concentrates on the tiny village of Peri, which, between Margaret Mead's first visit in 1928 and her second in 1953, moved from the Stone Age to the twentieth-century. "Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal" describes the factors personal and historical which made this enormous cultural leap possible in such a short time. In the process the film draws some conclusions about change itself why it occurs, how it occurs, and its effect on the people caught up in it. Finally, through the eyes of Margaret Mead on this her final visit to the village of Peri, the film records how the role of the anthropologist has changed in the forty years since 1928. The film is a visual record of change using the following resources: the extensive footage shot on location in New Guinea with Dr. Mead, archival material, such as still photographs and films taken by Dr. Mead and her colleagues on various expeditions to Manus, Australian missionary footage from the 20s, and films of the wartime period when more than 1 million Americans disembarked in the Admiralties. It shows the teenage boys of 1928 now as established leaders of a community that has undergone great change since their childhood. Dr. Mead talks with them about making room for younger men and further change. We see Pokanau, oldest man in Peri, as he was in 1928 and now, reminiscing with Dr. Mead. We see Paliau, the remarkable political leader, now a member of the Papua-New Guinea House of Assembly, who guided the people of Manus into the twentieth century. He is seen in a confrontation with the District Commissioner and also making an election campaign speech. The film records advances in political sophistication, showing footage of the first territorial election held in Papua-New Guinea in 1964. And it also shows two activities that have remained unchanged the way the people fish, and the way the staple food, sago (a starch made from palm), is prepared. Dr. Mead is seen at the new University of Papua-New Guinea in Fort Moresby, before going to Peri. A girl called Niandros, Peri's first student at the university, returns home with Dr. Mead's party for her vacation. In Peri, Dr. Mead talks to the school children on the importance of learning English. We see the villagers in church observing their own form of Christianity. We see the birth of a baby and the traditional last rites for an old woman. We witness a crisis in the village between Peranus, young elected head of the village, and the older established leaders, over the location of Peranus ' house. The quarrel is diplomatically settled, and the house is moved to a new location. Having seen Dr. Mead's arrival on the island, we see her farewell party and departure on this, her final visit to Peri. NET Festival "Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal" is a National Educational Television production. The program was made possible in part by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Old Dominion Fund, and the JM Kaplan Fund, Inc. This 90-minute piece was recorded in color on videotape. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Series Description
NET Festival is an anthology series of performing arts programming.
Broadcast Date
Broadcast Date
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Published Work: This work was offered for sale and/or rent in 1972.
Copyright National Educational Television & Radio Center November 17, 1968
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Camera Operator: Fiks, Henri
Cinematographer: Leiterman, Richard
Director: Gilbert, Craig
Editor: Giffard, Ellen
Producer: Gilbert, Craig
Producing Organization: Educational Broadcasting Corporation. NET Division
Sound: Wangler, Christian
Writer: Gilbert, Craig
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_2483 (WNET Archive)
Format: 2 inch videotape: Quad
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_9337 (WNET Archive)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_9338 (WNET Archive)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_4940 (WNET Archive)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_3249 (WNET Archive)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive
Identifier: [request film based on title] (Indiana University)
Format: 16mm film
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Chicago: “NET Festival; 49; Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal. Part 1,” 1979-02-03, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “NET Festival; 49; Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal. Part 1.” 1979-02-03. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: NET Festival; 49; Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal. Part 1. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from