The Huli Tribe of Papua New Guinea

In October, I traveled to photograph the tribes of Papua New Guinea. Toward the end of our trip and we spent the day photographing the men of the Huli tribe in Tari. The Huli tribe is probably the most photographed of all the tribes in PNG and they were very happy to have their photo taken.

The photo opportunities with the Huli were amazing but I couldn’t really get past some of the stories that the men proudly told us about how the women lived in the village. This is one of the tribes in PNG where men and women live separately. Polygamy is very prevalent and most men in the tribe have multiple wives. Women are bought for a “bride price” and live with the children in the same house as the pigs -the most valued village commodity. Women are also often punished for breaking rules of the village.

I left Papua New Guinea with very mixed feelings about the importance of preserving the native tribes of the world and the need to eliminate these terrible human rights violations towards women who are sold into marriage as soon as they have their first period sometimes at the age of 12 or 13 years old. Obviously, these issues are complex and hard to understand during a short visit to a country but many of these stories will stay with me for years to come as I look at the faces of the Huli tribesmen.

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