WHAT IS THEIR PHILOSOPHY OF LIfE
"WARRIORS AND PLANTS ARE CONNECTED THRU MAGIC."
Huli Wigmen are most known for their colorful decorated wigs and extreme violent temperament. They fight with other clans over land, pigs and women. Growing a wig starts from an early age as part of warrior training conducted in a secretive cave deep insight the jungle. For each boy a seed of plant is planted and their souls are connected with magical spell forever. The plan represents the spiritual status of each person and shows when the boy is ready to be called a man and return home. Should the warrior turn into a powerful and respected man, the plant assigned to him will flourish. When the person dies or his mind becomes poisoned, his plant will get dry and perish.
WHERE HULI WIGMEN LIVE
People from the high land
In the heart of Southern Highlights, just few km away from the small town of Koroba at an altitude of 2464m hides a small valley. It is the birth place of Kikori river and it's called home by Huli Wigmen tribe.
Walking & living in the dense jungle is exhausting and requires a special set of skill to survive and navigate. Petr acquired all this from his father, who has learnt it from his father, and like this from generation to generation the secret is transferred.
Manago is one of the most experienced warriors. Besides his fearless courage in battle, he is also known as a wise person. Early on Manago realized by making peace or alliance with neighboring clans, he can help his Huli Wigmen people survive. Passing tribes philosophy and battle skills to the next generation means a lot to him.
To grow a wig takes 15+ years. In an age of 14 boys are taken by their fathers deep into the jungle where they spend rest 7 to 10 years living in caves and learning how to survive, fight, behave in the society, make a family and grow a wig. For the Huli Wigmen the wig symbolizes manhood. Once the training of the boys is completed, they are allowed to return home and get married.
Growing a wig falls into 3 different stages. The hair is formed into half spherical form. This takes about 3 years. Few years later the shape of the hair is transformed to more conical look. After about 15 years the edges of the hair are lifted up. Once this process is finished, the hair is cut with sharp and thin blades to preserve it. The wig is decorated with the colorful feathers for various birds nesting in the jungle. Most notable are the feathers from the endemic "Bird of paradise" placed on its top.
Men and women live separated in different huts. Usually a house is shared btw. same gender only. Kids live with their mothers until they reach age of puberty. Once girls mature, they are married. In general, they are traded for pigs or land.
At the door of each male hut there are skeletons of local fish and bones from a big game. It symbolizes that in this house there are hunters and strangers are not welcomed. Trespassing any of their marked territories can lead to demand for compensation, such as pigs or women. In most cases a refusal will lead to a war.
Getting ready for multi-tribal gathering ceremony called "Sing-sing". The backs of Huli Wigmen are decorated by the beaks of a hornbill bird. It symbolizes strength and courage in battle.
Each tribesman helps others to prepare its outfit.
Once the decoration is ready, the group departures on a long trip. It takes several days until they reach the location for the "Sing-sing" ceremony.
On the way to "sing-sing" ceremony. Small bags called “bilum” accompany each warrior. They are by knotless netting of woven plant reeds and are used to carry most essential items for survival. As per local believe, a man without a “bilum” is not a man, because you never know when you need to take on a journey. “Bilums” are also used by women to carry their babies.
"Sing-sing" ceremony is attended by warriors from various parts of the same valley. All of them are extremely violent and protective and to spark a conflict could happen at any time. Usually clans fight for land, pigs or women. In that order! However, once entered into their world and receiving a blessing by a Huli Wigmen tribe’s chief, I was adopted by the clan and felt in absolute safety. Some of the warriors escorted me for miles on my way down of the mountain just to make sure; all is fine with their new brother.