Everywhere one looks there are signs of cultural change: not Just in the schools and the churches and the retail stores, but also in the political institutions, and in the household economy, and in the very heart of the family. These changes, which go well beyond the more obvious material changes, have touched the heads and hearts of most island people, even affecting some of their core beliefs and values. The quandary facing many young people today is how can you preserve your traditional culture while finding a place for yourself in a changing world.
To stay completely traditional may not work but if you integrate completely into the modern world you may lose your sense of cultural identity. What is the right balance between the old and new? Finding balance can be a struggle and the answer can vary between groups. Change itself is not so much the problem as what it may lead to: the death of the culture. The Tongs, Tip, Tan Torah, Domain, Assistant, New Genuine, and Warrant are some groups we have studied that face this problem today. Due to globalization many cultures have moved away from their traditional practices and cause of this young people are losing their cultural identity.
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Traditional Tong culture has changed due to ongoing interactions with outsiders. In the 19th century, with the arrival of Western traders and missionaries, Tong culture changed dramatically. Many Tongs now live overseas, and send remittances home to family members who prefer to remain in Tong. Tongs themselves often have to operate in two different contexts, the traditional Tong way and the Western way. Tap cloth was a large part of their traditional life. Tap cloth is an art form made from the bark of a pandas tree.
Tap cloth is no longer used for Just personal family ceremonial, now it is used as a product for sale to tourists and to individual/ museum collectors overseas. Few young people are learning how to make tap cloth/ production of cloth anymore. With children going to school and families dispersing tap cloth production is no longer the center of Tong social life as it once was. Because tap cloth is fading it makes you wonder what the future holds for tap cloth. This acts a metaphor for changes taking place in Tong life as a whole. The Tip and Nigeria have gone through many cultural changes.
The Tip traditionally were farmers who lived in kin based economies within leadership are derived based on age, wealth, and influence. British colonialism was the beginning of globalization for the Tip. The British brought new technology such as motor vehicles and imposing a new political system. Today Tip craft production is sold to tourists when traditionally it was Just used in the home and for exchange. Performance arts is of major importance to the Tip culture. Traditionally performance arts were for religion and social life, today Tip perform more on special occasions and for entertainment to outsiders.
Today Nigeria is one to the most populated countries in Iatric and it NAS one to the tastes growing economies in the world. Many people are moving because they cannot survive economically by farming and are moving to cities to work Jobs. With Nigeria becoming eighth in the world exporter for oil, it has tied Nigeria even more to global economy and contributed to economic changes. Economic changes also include cell phones, automobiles, fast food, and mass entertainment. Globalization has also moved large numbers of Nigerian to other countries for political and economic reasons.
With all the changes: colonialism, arbitration, economic development, immigration, civil unrest, Nigeria today is a diverse country working to make a place for itself in the world. Clearly not the same place as when Laura Bohemian went to study the Tip, much of that rich culture had been lost with the British invasion. The Torsions are changing in many ways, economically, politically, and people are moving from traditional communities into cities. Even though religious beliefs have changed (70% have converted to Christianity) elaborate funeral practices continue.
These traditional unreal practices still serve important functions of binding families together and by offering a way for individuals and families to assert their status in social hierarchy. However today funerals have become a tourist attraction which makes the lose some of there sacredness. The nature of the funeral must be different knowing that people are watching and filming, this has to do with the Hawthorne Effect. In the Domain community the epitome of change is present in the recent construction of a hotel/ casino complex on the Gila River Indian Community. Domain today are fully integrated in a market economy.
Today there are mixed goals among the Domain community, they are trying to make a place for themselves in the broader world through education, politics, and business as well as working to preserve their cultural identity of being Domain. Their traditional oral literature (poetry, stories, songs and dances) is used today as a form of entertainment for outsiders, heritage as business. The Assistant traditionally hunter/gatherers today live in towns and work in Jobs for cash. In the beginning of the 20th century with the emerging fish industry, the peeing of Canneries, built to process fish being caught; Sitting’s began to work for wages.
With their way of life changing the Assistant are trying to redefine themselves, similar to the Domain, they are trying to preserve part of their Assistant identity while finding a place for themselves in the modern world. They are trying to balance new technology to help preserve the old. In Papua, New Guiana our progress has made the life of people in traditional societies worse. Due to this progress the cultural changes for New Guinea’s has not gone to well. Changes in diet and health–people eve moved away from traditional horticulture economies began to work for wage labor.
New disease problems developed such as diabetes, heart disease, and AIDS. Outsiders who have come to exploit their natural resources have had significant negative impacts to physical environment. Another change is the movement of people; people are leaving the countryside and moving to the city of Port Moresby. With movement of people it becomes impossible to sustain the traditional way of life. For young people the balance of old and new becomes the composite of what it will mean to be a Papua New Genuine student in the future. Acculturation played a huge role in the changes of the Warrant society.
Acculturation, the fundamental change that occurs when a weaker society comes in contact with a more powerful one, thus when the Spanish colonized the Warrant. Some to the ways Warrant are changing today include, guns instead of blow guns for hunting, many of the Warrant speak Spanish, are nominal Christians, work for wages, do less gardening and hunting, and wear modern day clothing. They also produce crafts for sale as part of their market economy as well as students going to school to learn how to operate machinery. With all these changes it is hard for young people to know the culture they came from.
Through all these examples I hope to show that there are many similarities in all of these cultural changes. Maintaining your cultural identity in a rapidly changing, increasingly globalize world is very difficult without the proper steps taken to do so. If these cultures made notable efforts to learn and speak their native languages as a way of preserving their cultural heritage, they would be able to hold tighter to their traditional ways. Older generations need to be concerned with carrying over this unique culture to the next generations and teaching the ancient language.
However if no one is keeping these traditions alive they will get lost. Though modernity has threatened the resolve of these cultures to keep their unique cultural persona intact, if they strongly preserve as much of their roots as possible the youth won’t loose their true cultural identity. If each of the cultures keeps strong ties to their cultural heritage the youth will have a legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of their group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the resent and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
Cultural heritage includes tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artifacts), intangible culture (such as legend, traditions, language, and knowledge), and natural heritage (including culturally significant landscapes). Cultural heritage is unique and irreplaceable, which places the responsibility of preservation on the current generation, the youth. If these steps are taken the youth will hopefully not lose their traditional practices and in turn they will not lose their cultural identity.