The Culture and History of Sepik, The Highlands & The Sepik

The Culture and History of Sepik

Their cultural links with the Sepik River are symbolized in many of their ancient and spiritual rituals, such as the manhood initiation. This requires painful carving of flesh on the backs of young men with razor blades. Patterns are that of a crocodile lying on the banks of the river.

The history of the Sepik region reflects the influence over the years of the missionaries, traders, labor recruiters, and administrators.

Here river and crocodiles, man and nature have learned to live in mutual respect. Parts of the Highlands remain untouched just as they were when first ‘discovered’ in 1933.

The people are hardy and village life depends on subsistence farming. Visitors will be fascinated by the bright ochre colors and two-meter high head-dresses swathed in plumes of the Bird of Paradise worn by the tribal elders. Dancing is proud and fierce at traditional sing-sings, with drums beating long into the night.


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