Table of contents
Table of contents
A group of people, some of whom wear white necklaces and white feather headpieces, stand in front of buildings with metal roofs and hold a large, colorful map.

Indigenous Mapmaking, or Bringing a Dead Map to Life

In a new book, an anthropologist explores how oil palm plantations in West Papua are upending Indigenous Marind communities' ways of life. In this excerpt, Marind villagers call upon their plant and animal kin to confront a map used by the oil palm industry.
A grove of oil palm trees is shown turning brown.

Allying With Parasites to Fight Industrial Oil Palm

In West Papua, industrial oil palm plantations threaten Marind people’s ways of life. Some in the community find solidarity with resilient parasite species—beetles, rats, fungi, and many more—that attack oil palm trees from within.
Tayap - “Transition” by Papua New Guinean artist Philemon Yalamu.

What’s Left Unsaid When a Language Dies

Deep in Papua New Guinea, the speakers of Tayap have stopped using their native tongue. In A Death in the Rainforest, an anthropologist recounts his journey over three decades to find out why.
The destruction of forests contributes to widespread drought through atmospheric processes that can seem like sorcery.

Corporate “Sorcerers” Reveal the Magical Power of Capitalism

A company’s appropriation of an Indigenous ritual highlights the power of businesses to destroy traditions, community ties, and ecosystems.
A group of Marind gather near a forested area that has been demarcated as a conservation zone.

The Truth About “Sustainable” Palm Oil

In West Papua, Indonesia, both conventional and “green” palm oil projects dispossess and exclude Indigenous people from their lands.
In the Upper Bian region, pets like Ruben challenge our views about the relationship between humans and wild animals.

In Deforestation’s Wake, Wild Animals Turn Troublesome

The destruction wrought by the expansion of large-scale oil palm plantations in West Papua is transforming once-wild animals into problematic pets.