Introduction / History
The Kuot people live in Papua New Guinea. They lived inland as notorious cannibals until World War II and they moved to the coast between World War I and II. The total population of the Kuot language group is approximately 2,500 people. The resident population is considerably lower than 2,200 because there is a very high migration of the educated Kuot people serving in government and business related jobs in Port Moresby (capital city) and throughout the country.
Where are they located?
PNG is situated in South Pacific area near Australia. The Kuot people inhabit the coast and north central New Ireland in PNG. The interior of the Kuot area is typified by very rugged terrain rising to around 450-500 meters and is heavily forested. The climate in the Kuot area is definitely tropical. It is usually sunny, hot, and humid. There are only two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The temperature remains fairly constant year-round, ranging from the upper 28's to low 32's (centigrade). The average rainfall is approximately 2,500mm.
What are their lives like?
Kuot society is made up of the matri-moiety organization. Maternal uncle-niece relation is far more important than that of father-son. Every Kuot person bilongs to one of two moieties which consist of several clans. People are very closely united based on clan system. Accordingly, obtaining fulfillment is more group oriented than individual. They share in work, pleasures, sorrows, and group accountability. Theft is not extensive. There was tribal fighting once or twice for last 20 years. Shame is the most formidable taboo. Their staple foods are yams, taros, sweet potatoes and bananas. Pigs are most valuable living properties.
The brother-sister relationship is still predominant in the culture, but people are no longer tied to the small language area of Central New Ireland. Brothers and sisters leave the language areas to attend high school to find work. They work in Churches and teach in schools throughout the country. Their world view now goes far beyond the daily life of interacting only with one's relatives. A few weeks' vacation back in the village every few years is not enough to keep relationship strong. Economic pressures also result in less time spent in clan functions. The growth of the Church is also bringing about changes that cause people to reevaluate family and clan priorities and members' roles. The father is taking on more of the duties and responsibilities the maternal uncle once performed.
In the past, the kinship system made each persons responsibility very clear. It also set forth social constraints that gave order to one's life. The kinship system and old social structures are being challenged by today's new values and ideals.
The land is basically used for gardening. Oil Palm Companies have also leased large amounts of land for their purposes. All materials for house and fence building are gathered from the forest. Because of the oil palm plantations in the area, no more bamboo forests exit. The streams from the mountains have been dammed and developed in the West villages so that stream lobsters, eels, and fish are enclosed. Villages on both coasts have abundant sea products such as fish, cray fish, eels, crabs, tortoises, sharks, seacows, etc. Bats, tree possums, wild pigs, and certain birds are hunted. Unfortunately wild pigs are now very scarce. Wild foods such as tulip, breadfruit and various types of local nuts (galip, talis, etc) are gathered in season. Coconuts and cocoa are grown as cash crops. Some have stands of sago. The leaves are used for roof thatching while the pith is processed and the starch is taken from it and eaten. Sago bread is not eaten as a daily food. Rather, it is saved for feasts or seasons when garden produce is scarce.
What are their beliefs?
The Kuot people believe in the spiritual reality of eternal life. The vernacular terms for their spiritual beings are Morowa (creator of beings), Sikirivuk (son of Morowa), Muranama (human's spirit), Murale (Ccan spirit), Nema (evil spirit), Kuraima (male human-like) and Kuraibun (female human-like).
What are their needs?
Needs for food, clothing, shelter, companionship, and safety are met very well. But during the rainy season, many people become sick. The village aid posts are giving medical help, but they are frequently short of medicine. There are certain needs that always are on the list. These include jobs for the young adults, aid in meeting high school fees, community based health care, and fund raising ideas for a current community project.
* For spiritual sustainability and leadership: church revival with their mother tongue Bible and Hymn book, regular Bible meditation and sharing in group as well as in family, practicing servant leadership and role model among elders and preachers, humility and total obedience to the Lord when conflict occurs.
* For training: discipleship training for especially youths and life change experience, marriage building and parenting, Christian ethics and morality, outreach and testimony.
* For Connection with World Mission: reading World map and understanding today's world, going beyond denominational barriers and connection with mission agencies, regular group prayer for Bibleless people as well as neighboring peoples , clear evangelistic/mission messages in Sunday school.
* To speed up completing the new church building project: one spirit in love and cooperative attitude among local carpenters, cooperative effort throughout the community, resources.