Image: Golan Levi (C) with members of a Papua New Guinea tribe (Courtesy)
By Daphne Rasehei – EMTV Online
An Israel-based online genealogy platform visited Papua New Guinea to document the family history, lifestyle and rituals that have been passed along only by word of mouth within tribes.
MyHeritage is one of the biggest genealogy platforms in the world with over 80 million active users and 1.6 billion biographies in its database. Users upload information about their family trees in the database where it can be searched and accessed by other members of a family or community around the world in order to better establish where a family came from.
Last month a project led by Golan Levi was started to prevent further erosion of collective memory of the mountain people of Papua New Guinea as westernization is slowly creeping into the traditional way of life.
“As part of our Tribal Quest project we returned with information about the family relationships of thousands of members of the community, including photos, data about burial sit’s, and documentation of rituals and and ceremonies. The kids were especially interested in participating, in order to ensure that their tribal traditions are not lost,” said Levi.
MyHeritage decided to bring its tech to Papua New Guinea to help for the first time digitally document information about lifestyles of the residents of the isolated communities in the interior mountain regions of the island country. The old ways are in danger of being lost, and the MyHeritage team believes that the Tribal Quest program in order to ensure that the ways of the ancestors have not been lost.
According to Levi, “the residents of the villages were eager to participate in the project. While the elders are still clinging to the old ways, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be more affected by technology and have more access to it. With these digital records, they will be able to keep in touch with the histories and stories that otherwise may have been forgotten.”
Israeli genealogical site digit’ses Papua New Guinea’s traditions