Chapter 10: The Tribes of Wautogik

These are the clans that make up Wautogik village:

  • Abahinem
  • Ɲumiəduokum
  • Kərapehem
  • Kədaim
  • Jɨbainerim
  • Baimrɨbɨs

The Abahinem clan is subdivided into the bərəg ‘head, top jaw’ and nugur ‘bottom jaw’.1 There is no subdivision of the Ɲumiəduokum clan. The Kərapehem clan is divided into three subclans: Abahinem Kərapehem, Ɲumiəduokum Krapehem, and the Pasarahas. The Kadaim clan has no subdivisions. The Jɨbainerim clan is broken into two subclans – the Mijue Warakau and Yehigu Kɨlemini. The Baimrɨbɨs clan has no subdivisions.2 There is also a group called the Warepim who occupied Bərəgəm Yabues. This is Yauieb’s land now.3

1. Abahinem

The clan name Abahinem comes from the word abahin, which refers to the eldest brother in a family. The final -n in the word indicates masculine gender, in contrast with abahik, the eldest sister. The Abahinem clan is the first clan of the village, having descended from the eldest son of Yəhələgər and Swagien.

The Abahinem clan is the power clan or the giɲau. It provides the prime minister, king, or chief executive of the village. The head of Abahinem clan is said to hold the giɲau, the power or authority.4 This power is both physical and spiritual.

The top jaw of the clan, the bərəg or bur bərəg ‘pig’s head’ is now represented by Hayin, Robui, Sonin, and Gabut.5 The nugur or the bottom side of the jaw is represented by Male Sallun.6 The giɲau must always come from the Abahinem clan. If at any time the Abahinem clan does not have someone who possesses the qualities of a giɲau, the clan will adopt a man from another clan with such qualities and appoint him in that role. Numbojuor was the appointed giɲau.7 Before he died, he conferred the giɲau power to Bernard Narokobi.8

2. Ɲumiəduokum

The Numiəduokum clan descends from the second-born son to Yəhələgər and Swagien. The second-born son is called ɲumiə, and the clan name Ɲumiəduokum is derived from this expression. As such, the Ɲumiəduokum clan is a part of the giɲau system, but always second or subordinate to the Abahinem clan.9 The headman of the Ɲumiəduokum clan will support the giɲau in making decisions for the village.

Generally speaking Ɲumiəduokum tend to share their resources with the Abahinem. However they have their own land. The Ɲumiəduokum are now represented by Horieb and his brothers Worəbai, Watiem, Bonipas Hʷarowe, and Moninara.10

3. Kərapehem

The name Kərapehem is derived from the word kərapen which means an offshoot or secondary growth. It is an offshoot of the Abahinem clan, but it is not an integral part of the Abahinem’s giɲau system. A kərapen is a son born from a woman other than the first wife of the abahin, typically a second wife. The Krapehem provide support to the giɲau and the Abahinem.11

As already indicated, the Kərapehem are subdivided into three: the Abahinem Krapehim, the Ɲumiəduokum Kərapehem, and the Pasarahas. There is a difference of opinion about whether there is a Ɲumiəduokum Kərapehem clan, or whether they should simply be called Kərapehem.12

The Abahinem Kərapehem is now represented by Matthew Rahiria, Andrew Yauieb and his brothers, and Bablis and his brothers. The Ɲumiəduokum Krapehem are represented by William Nindim and his brothers, Herman Wocem, and Ignas and Phillip Baiwog. The Pasarahas are represented by Jikap and his sons, the late John Haugi, and Michael Sengiromo. They are a part of the Krapehem family, but they are quite autonomous. They are closer to the Abɨrasim or Sausa (Boikin) speakers through Walanduom and Seribogunin, Savakun and Wambia.13

4. Kədaim

The Kədaim descend from the third-born son of Yəhələgɨr and Swagien. The clan name Kədaim comes from the Arapesh word kəda or Boikin handa ‘third-born child’.14 The final -m denotes masculine gender, so kədaim refers specifically to sons. The Kədaim clan has no subclans.

The Kədaim today are represented by Sela’s son Anton and his brother Kovero, adopted from Torokena, Bougainville. They are also represented today by Aluis Kalaut and Michael Ivia and his brothers. These men no longer live in Wautogig, though they continue to participate in all major activities of the village.

The Kədaim continue to claim land in Wautogig, though they have not physically occupied or used the land for the last 70-100 years when they left for Banak village down the coast. A dispute arose over a woman, and Sela and Ivia’s father Wauruba left Wautogig resolving not to return.

In December 1996, a form of reunion took place in Wautogig (Huraimbo) between the Kədaim now residing in Banak and their Ɲumiəduokum cousins now represented by Christopher Worebai (nickname “Hombatuo” or “Homes”) and Watiem (Wangron). These are the two men who have long controlled and cared for the Kədaim’s lands.

The decision they reached was that some Kadaim would return to Wautogig, though no mention was made of who it would be. When they did so, however, they agreed they would make a feast and thank their cousins who would thereupon release the land to them in return for a fair compensation.

Matias Manga of the Kərapehem clan lives in Wautogig village. He is a direct maternal nephew of the Kədaim clan. In the event that none of the Kədaim clansmen return, an arrangement could be made between the Ɲumiəduokum and Manga for the Kədaim land to pass to Manga on a fair compensation basis. At the time of writing, however, this has not happened.15

5. Jɨbainerim

The clan name Jɨbainerim comes from the Arapesh word jɨba or capa in Boikin. It means ‘last born’ and with the -m ending denotes that the last-born male. So, the Jɨbainerim clan is the clan that descends from the last-born son of Yəhələgɨr and Swagien.

However, the Jɨbainerim have a different history.16 One subclan of the Jɨbainerim is among the earliest settlers. That part of Jɨbainerim appears to be more akin to the Peiruom or Beiduokum than they were to the Buki.17

The Jɨbainerim are broken into two subclans, the Mijue Warakau group and the Yehigu Kɨlemini mentioned in the introduction to this chapter. In the terms of the modern government system, the Jɨbainerim, the Kadaim, and the Baimrɨbɨs (see below) are like the opposition. They are known as the nɨbagʷ ‘dogs’.18

The Jɨbainerim in fact have their own giɲau represented by their nubahʷ or Parliament House.19 It is called in Boikin the kon wangele or in Arapesh cɨdui ‘morning star’. Like the other clans, the Jibainerim have their own land. Each of the two subclans has its own portion of the land. It is in Uriebigəs.20

One subclan of the Jɨbainerim is believed to hail from Kwaɲigɨr, which is in the Woginara region.21 Kato of Woginara is believed to be directly related to this group of people from Kwaɲigɨr. Their story goes like this.

A group of brothers fought over a cassowary sinew. One brother swallowed a large cassowary sinew (Arapesh korokorowiɲ) and eventually excreted it out.22 He saw it and picked it up, washed it clean, and cooked it for his brothers who ate it. When the brothers learn of this they fought. Some eventually settled in Wautogig and bore many of the present day Jɨbainerim. This is the Mijue Warakau part of the clan. The other part of the clan is derived directly from Beiduokum or Peiruom.23

6. Baimrɨbɨs

The Baimrɨbɨs clan is one. It is well established that they were not originally part of Wautogig village. They were Kwangen people who spoke Sausa or Boikin language. However, over many generations, they have become fully integrated into the village.

The present Baimrɨbɨs clan is said to have originated with Gɨrəsengi and Ɲakamarum, whose story was told in the last chapter.24 Although this clan is now part of the new nation of Wautogig, they maintain their own identity. They have their own lands, most of which are on the northern side of the Urieb River, in what is known as Uditigəs or Butogigəs. They do not have much land in the Wautogigəs or Məbəmigəs. However, through intermarriage much land is now shared.


1 Narokobi writes nugurih here, but Jacob and Tony just say nugur ‘jaw’.

2 Jacob explains that subdivision within clans primarily indicates a split in their residences. Listen.

3 Narokobi includes notes here mentioning “Moriko”, “Wambulu Kohars ancestor”, and “Dad’s mother’s grandmother”, but it is not clear what they mean.

4 The giɲau holds the ceremonial spear called a cɨbuk. Listen.

5 Now Jacob Sonin and Joseph Gabut represent the giɲau, and Joseph Sallun is the nugur (English 'jaw', Tok Pisin 'wasket'). Listen.

6 Joseph Sallun (Male), Bernard and Camillus Narokobi, and Antonius Kwainger are nugur. Listen. Jacob and Tony discuss the role of nugur. Listen.

7 Numbojuor was Jacob’s father.

8 Jacob disputes Narokobi's suggestion that his father Numbojuor transferred giɲau to Narokobi when he died. Listen.Tony explains why it is technically incorrect for Narokobi to hold the giɲau: he is Abahinem, but the wrong subclan. Listen.

9 The traditional leadership system no longer holds. Now there is voting and transfer of power apart from inheritance or assignment by the previous leader. Listen.Lise notices that despite the changes in the way leaders are selected, contemporary leadership continues to reflect the traditional power hierarchy. Jacob and Tony do not disagree. Listen.

10 All the men listed as leaders of Ɲumiəduokum have died. At the time of discussion Dennis Yetuwin Worəbai leads the clan. Listen.

11 Further discussion of giɲau. Listen.

12 The Kərapehem will pool resources for purposes of exchange with others, but they do not occupy a single set of lands and each subgroup has its own leader. Listen.

13 Savakun and Wambia are places belonging to Walanduom. Listen.

14 This kin term is now used to refer to the youngest or last-born in a set of siblings.

15 There is still no such agreement. Listen. Jacob and Tony are concerned that this suggestion about Matias Manga is misleading and could sow confusion in the future. Listen.

16 Despite the emphasis in native genealogy on descent from elder and younger brothers, the groups that came together to form the village do not all have that history. Listen.

17 Jacob and Tony do not accept that the Jɨbainerim have anything to do with the Beiduokum. He says their roots go back to Meliawi and his son who fled Ɲauiya. Listen.

18 Jacob and Tony discuss the relationship between the nɨmbagʷ and the giɲau. They say the giɲau clans enter into political arrangements and the nɨmbagʷ assist. Listen.

19 The Jɨbainerim have their own leadership, but it only operates within their own clan; it doesn't hold sway over the village as a whole. Listen. Jacob discusses the role of the nɨbahʷ, men's house, or Parliament House. Listen.

20 The clans and their relation with each other are discussed in eb1.18.

21 Narokobi originally wrote “Ɲumudipahin”, but Jacob and Tony are convinced that is wrong. Narokobi also listed clan names associated with Ɲumudipahin: Weiduokum, Maurogun, Yoweri, Sembeni. We do not have the knowledge needed to assess these details about Kwaɲigɨr.

22 Jacob tells this part of the story. Listen.

23 Jacob believes the right subclan is Hwogiə Kərapogiɲau. Listen. The Hwogiə Kərapogiɲau derive from a group mentioned earlier, Yehigu Kɨlemini. Listen. Jacob tells how the conflict over the cassowary sinew led the brothers to break apart, with some coming to join the Jɨbainerim through Kato's line. Listen. According to Jacob, the Jɨbainerim that come to Wautogik through this pathway are those from Yehigu Kɨlemini and Hwogiə Kərapogiɲau. Listen. Jacob explains that there are different ways that political groups can come to be related. The elder brother-younger brother model is one, but migration in like this is another. WRONG LINK - NO LINK IN ELANListen.

24 Jacob explains that the original ancestor of the Baimrɨbɨs people is Yomuneh. Gɨrəsengi and Ɲakamarum are actually late settlers. Listen.

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