Tik Merauke

(Trade paper)
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A study of culture, colonialism, and an epidemic in New Guinea

When the Dutch government moved to stop headhunting by the Marind people of New Guinea in 1902 their actions unleashed new epidemics among a population already suffering from low fertility. Donovanosis (Tik Merauke in Marind), a rare, newly recognised sexually transmitted infection for which no medicine was available, affected huge numbers. This compelling book investigates the causes of this unique epidemic by exploring the fascinating lives and rituals of the Marind along with those of the missionaries, anthropologists, doctors, administrators, film makers and bird hunters swept up in the events. Tik Merauke shows how the discovery of an effective medicine brought relief, but how the coercive resettlement of the Marind into model villages has left a troubled legacy still felt by the surviving people.