Cheif Jerry Taki tells us about the singing arrows of Erromanga, Vanuatu, and their use in ritual warfare.
Kirk Hufmann: This is in the store rooms of the Australian Museum on the morning of Thursday the 25th of May 2006. And we're here with Chief Urmandurru, Jerry Taki - who is the Cultural Center Feild worker from the island of Erromango in southern Vanuatu.
Jerry Taki: These arrows are from my island - Erromango. They are used for fighting - with these bows. They are used for fighting . but also for hunting. There are different names for the different arrows. In a fight, if a man is about to use an arrow he names it and calls out to his enemy, "Get ready to avoid it!" If your smart you can avoid it. If your not smart you'll cop it. They hold the bow like this and sing warning chants. This is the...(naming the arrow types).
Other people stand behind and chant encouragement. They use all these names in our traditions. There's a meaning and use for all these things in our custom.
Last Updated: 8 August 2012
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