"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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Journal of Matthew Stirling
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June 2, 1926 : Papuans of Bisano

June 2nd

Today was a busy one spent mainly in trading operations. The bargaining waxed hot and furious during most of the morning and did not slack off until afternoon. As a result we have no more trade goods and are richer by a large assortment of nose ornaments, arm bands, body ornaments, net bags, bark cloth aprons, tobacco boxes, arrows, bows, etc. This afternoon about four o'clock we were busy giving a sleight of hand and fire eating performance before an appreciative and awe struck audience and just as le Roux had succeeded in setting a can of water dipped from the spring into a roaring blaze (with the assistance of a little gasoline previously placed in the can) a shout of "Orang Dyak" came from the village. We hurried over and lo, marching through the village was none other than Anji Ipoei with about 15 Dyaks and with them Lieut. Jordans. They had succeeded in getting the motor boats through the rapids and they are now safely moored at Batavia Camp and one of the biggest worries and difficulties of the expedition is over. Posthumous returned directly to Albatross Camp and Jordans with Ipoei stopped at the Uama. From there the Dyaks tracked us here – no small feat when the distance and the nature of the country is taken into consideration. Early in the morning we will all start back to the Uama and try to make Albatross Camp the same day. It was certainly a pleasure to see the Dyaks around and watch them set up camp in their efficient way. The more I see of them the greater is my admiration. With their clean limbed athletic figures, they {p. 110} make a striking contrast with coarser Papuans. Ipoei who had the task of engineering the bringing of the motor boats through the rapids said that his head "was sick from thinking so much of the best way." {*} Le Roux and I are both much cheered up from this good news as it means now we will not lose time in getting started up the Rouffaer. Our work here in Bisano is finished and Le Roux and I had planned to start tomorrow anyway for the Uama and to wait at the mouth for the return of Posthumous and Jordans. However, they have returned three days before we thought it possible. Here we have collected a vocabulary of about 500 words of the Takutameso [V1: interlineated: Kauwerawet]. We have collected a good representative series of ethnological objects and have made anthropological measurements of [V1: interlineated: practically] every adult member, male and female, of the village. The results of our ethnologic studies have been most satisfactory and we shall have a real contribution to offer science concerning a heretofore unknown tribe of people.

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