A Cultural Practice Of The Dani Tribe From Papua New Guinea, Indonesia

831 Words Apr 20th, 2016 4 Pages
It’s no surprise that American culture tends to differ then the rest of the world. Americans simply have little to no sacred rituals performed and passed on throughout history. Where one could consider specific holidays such as the 4th of July and Thanksgiving sacred, these holidays simply signify a remembrance of our past and don’t celebrate the life of individuals. For this reason I believe that if America were to adopt a cultural practice from around the world it should be the finger cutting ritual of the Dani tribe from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia. Americans should adopt aspects of this culture not only for the emotional release but also as a symbol of unity. The Dani tribe resides in an extremely remote area of Papua Province in a town named Wamena, located amidst the Cyclops Mountains, only accessible by plane. Still, there is an estimated 250,000 Dani that live in the region according to Anthropologist Robert Gardner. (Jahoda, 2009) The members of this tribe cut off their fingers as a way of displaying their grief at funeral ceremonies. Along with amputation, they also smeared their faces with ashes and clay, as an expression of sorrow. (Sumitra, 2011) Although we Americans have funeral ceremonies ourselves there is no personal sacrifice made to show our grief of losing a person. The finger-cutting ritual leaves an individual in physical pain symbolizing the suffering and pain due to the loss of a loved one. (Sumitra, 2011) The finger would be cut by a close…

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