Forced resettlement downriver at Niu Niri

by bzephyr

Part 6 in the continuing short history of the Goiniri Onnele people of Papua New Guinea as reported to me last week by Dominic Pusai…

Around 1960 an Australian doctor was making his regular patrol from Aitape and the lowland areas of Nengian and Wolwale villages before following the Pien River up into the Torricelli Mountains. He went up there to run a bush clinic for the Goiniri Onnele people. On that walkabout, he fell and injured his hand on the sharp spiny thorns of a sago palm. When he returned to the base of the mountains, he met with the Wolwale and Nengian people and suggested that they find a place for the Goiniri people to live down there. That would make it much easier for him to care for their needs as he passed through all the villages that run along the base of the mountain range.

There was a man from Nengian who had a large area of ground that was not being used, and it was decided that the Goiniri people could come settle there. So in 1961 the first three families moved from Koi Nili to the Goiniri village where they have now lived for the last 50 years. They call it “Niu Niri.”

In 1962 the leaders of the Goiniri people had discussions with the police and it was decided that the families remaining in Old Goiniri needed to resettle and build homes at the new Goiniri village. So the rest of the Goiniri people were forced to move to the place where they now live.

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