.. orks only as an organizer, not a leader. B. What are the effects of outside influences on this culture? Is the culture changing? What will be gained/lost? The British missionaries who arrived in the Trobriands found that the ritualized form of inter-tribal warfare which also involved magic was barbarous and immediately forbade it. Coincidentally, they introduced the game of cricket to the Islanders. When introduced to the Trobrianders, however, something wonderful happened to the game of cricket. It underwent a remarkable cultural transformation.
It was an evolutionary process, over the last 80 years, and it continues even today. The British influence from colonists, and more especially from missionaries, became felt less and less. The islanders slowly began to recapture their native customs. Ritualized warfare was still outlawed, but the magic lived in the people, and the fight was in the men. The first thing to go in the cricket game was the limited number of players. Twelve men on a side could not accommodate all the fighters in a tribe.
The number was expanded to 50 or so, depending on how many showed up in the host village for the game. The other side then was allowed to have the same number of warriors (players). Then the magic came back. In the old days there were many incantations and secret spells cast by the magician to empower the spear-throwers. These same spells, with some modification, began to be placed on the bats used in play.
There were no balls generally used in the old tribal wars, so no magic was available for the balls. But wait! There was magic for the throwing arm (formerly with spear in hand) and that same magic could grant strength and true-aim to a pitcher. And so on, the magic was used. Best of all was the transformation of the dancing and chanting into an element of the cricket game. What we see in the Trobriand Islands is a transformation of war into dance.
On the morning of a game, by this decade, the warriors wake up, put on their paint and battle dress, and dance in line to the village hosting the game. They enter the field, dancing and chanting, taunting the other side to dare compete. The home team then does the same. The chants and spectacle incorporate ancient tribal totems and current advertising slogans. The dancing is precise, vigorous, aggressive, and fierce.
The game is usually played for two days, involving as many innings as there are players, and no one is killed. The game ends with a feast provided by the host chief (for political reasons) and the Trobriand Cricket game is over. Hence we see that this game of cricket has undergone quite a lot of change, change to suit the Trobriand way of life. The game was transformed in many ways. Perhaps the biggest change was that the home team was always the winner – this according to our definition does not constitute a sport. In addition, the visiting teams batted first.
Each out was followed by a celebration. The bowling action was not traditional. Runners as well as batsmen. Bat and ball were not regular. They bowled alternately from each end.
There was no limit to the number of players. Scoring varied considerably with 6 runs being scored by a lost ball, or hitting the ball over the highest coconut tree. Umpire was from the batting side, and when sides changed so did the umpire. There were ritual entrance dances. There was the mascot dressed as a tourist.
Instead of trophies, there was a ceremony of exchanging food with the home team putting on the feast. But more than changing the rules and format of the game, it also meant totally different things for the Trobriands. It was introduced as a substitute for intertribal warfare and much of the game gook on war-like aspects: the throwing of the ball that replaced bowling was very similar to the action of spear throwing; the bodies were decorated in war colors and designs; and the field entry and exit dances were those of war formations. The Trobriands reinterpreted the English game of cricket to suit their own culture. The Trobriand Island Cricket is transmitted by learned rules viewed visually and oral transmission of rules, rituals and traditions.
Thus the outside influence of European missionaries during the late 19th century did change the culture of the Trobriand people. European colonialism brought with it industrial goods like chewing gum, modern form of dressing (shirts, trousers), carry bags, etc. The people were exposed to such products and adapted them to their own living. The brand name of a chewing gum, was used in chants to represent something that is sticky, in this case, it was the hands of the person who catches a ball hit by a batsman and gets him out. It is very interesting to notice that the people have incorporated words like PK in their chants!! One can also notice some of the players not in the traditional pubic dressing, but instead in shorts made out of cotton cloth.
I also noticed that the umpire had a small carry-bag wrapped around his shoulder. It is indeed fascinating to see all these products in the form that they have been incorporated into this culture. The Trobriand culture did lose a lot due to the interference of the European missionaries. Their method of establishing superiority over an opposing tribe through warfare was stopped by the missionaries. This led to a drastic cultural change.
The missionaries and the government officials now had to find something to replace the traditional warfare, and they did. They introduced the game of cricket to the people! It seems that this change brought about by the missionaries has brought about a more peaceful life in these islands. Had the missionaries not interfered in the first place, these islands would have been a different scene today! Anthropology.