(Photos copyright © 1998 Malachy McBride, ofmcap.; Drawings copyright ©1998 Alphonsus Mariot)
homogo A man who has succeeded in gaining wealth above the ordinary is called a homogo. His success is evident in the size and productivity of his gardens, the number of his wives and children, and the health, size and number of his pigs. He usually has gardens in several subclan territories, residing multilocally, and his influence is felt by many. He clearly has the wisdom and secret strategies necessary for success, and his advice is sought - and bought - by others. Because of his standing in different subclans, he is a natural arbitrator in times of dispute, while his wealth makes him a valuable associate when death indemnities have to be met or when wariabu bride wealth has to be paid. He may or may not also be recognized as a manaji.
manaji One who is in possession of considerable secret knowledge is called a manaji. His knowledge is of religious rites and divination, and his power has been proved. He may also be a custodian of Huli myths and lore. Among the publicly acknowledged manaji are figures of influence such as leaders of the haroli bachelor cult (cf Cheetham 1979: 889) and leaders of cave cults (cf Habel 1979).
dandaji are men skilled in war and hunting, knowledgeable in the use of fighting spells and strategies, and of the secret language necessary for journeying into the high bush. They are natural candidates for leadership in war, although war parties usually tend to follow the successful man of the moment.
dombagwa An arbitrator in disputes is know as a dombagwa. He usually has command of a special register called damba bi arbitration talk (cf Goldman 1980: 224), and is skilled in remembering details, so that he is able quickly and vividly to relate the background to the matter under dispute (Peters 1975: 19) and to point towards a solution. He is frequently, but not necessarily, a homogo. An accomplished dombagwa will chant the damba bi in a monotone.
Singers exercise an influence in society through music, although there is no generic terms that covers all categories of music and music makers. Players of the gãwã mouth bow and hirijule jaw's harp articulate words as they play, telling stories and recounting everyday happenings (cf Peters 1975; Pugh-Kitigan 1975). Chanters of the long and intricate bi te folk tales make an essential contribution to poetry and to phatic communion, as do singers of ritual u love chants. Performers of the dawe wail for dead men and dugu wail for dead women/children are leaders in important social functions, esteemed for their skills. Players of the gãwã and hirijule may also be feared a little, since gamu religious formulae are considered to gain potency when performed on these instruments.
jagibano are men who achieve no distinction in society and are patently unsuccessful, with few children, poor gardens, and sickly pigs. They are presumed to have failed to gain little more than a minimum knowledge of everyday skills and gamu religious formulae. They are at the opposite end of the continuum from the homogo. A jagibano may be married, but more typically he is single. Such single men, including widowers, are called daloali, and generally have little social influence. A marked exception to this, however, is the daloali who leads the haroli.
Significant in Huli society are the members of the haroli or ibagija.
This cult is part of the initiation process for young men, the group being
led by an older, celibate, man, the ritual daloali. He is admired
and feared for his command of mana lore and of gamu religious
formulae, for his wealth in pigs and for his spartan way of life.
Young men pay highly to join the cult for two or three years, learning from
the daloali (who is also a manaji) the complexities of traditional
mythology and lore, and the religious strategies for warding off the evil
influences of women. The haroli are segregated from the rest
of society, living in special tracts of bush into which no woman or married
man may go.
Note how the manda wig curves upwards. Although more usually coloured with hare red clay, this one is charcoal black. Freedom of expression is an essential part of Huli culture, and accounts for the wide variety of decoration that is to be found.
The manda is surmounted with multiple ubija Raggiana Bird of Paradise plumes, and decorated in the front with the crest of a yagama Superb Bird of Paradise. Parrot feathers adorn the tips of the curves.
A bright lebage snake skin is stretched over the man's forehead, and tia iri possum fur covers his ears.
The top of the manda is trimmed with small white feathers, and tail feathers of gulugala Astrapia stephaniae bird of paradise feature vertically on each wing of the wig.
wali The position accorded women in Huli ideology is reflected in the social structures. They live apart from men, and have little voice in decisions taken at subclan level. Even when they have been the cause of war they take no part in the fighting or in subsequent negotiations for peace (cd Glasse 168; 1968: 99-100). Their say in the choice of their marriage partner depends to some extent on how assertive they are (cf Glasse 1968: 52), but ultimately it is the male members of the subclans involved who control the decision making and settle on the wariabu bride wealth.
A woman may own pigs and other
valuables, and she is entitled to the food she grows in her gardens, but she
can never achieve the wealth and influence that a man can. She may gain
a certain standing among other women as a chanter of dugu or a player
of the gãwã or hirijule, or as one who possesses
special secret knowledge and gamu (cf Pugh-Kitigan 1975: 45), but her
political influence in society at large is not significant.