Introduction / History
The Lala people live in villages scattered along the Hiritano Highway and the coast of the Gulf of Papua, NW of Port Moresby, the nation's capital. They live in clans, often with several clans living together in one village. The traditional chieftan system is still in place, although chiefs do not have the same level of authority as they held in the past.
Wallaby hunting is a source of income, as well as an important source of protein in the Lala diet, which also includes starchy "cooking" bananas (the staple food), coconut, bread, bandicoot, and breadfruit.
Traditionally, construction materials were obtained solely from the land. However, today Lala village construction employs a combination of natural materials, such as bamboo and palm leaves (for thatched roofs), and modern materials such as sawn timber, nails, and corrugated roofing iron.
The Lala people adopted Christianity after the arrival of missionaries from the Catholic Church and the London Missionary Society in the 19th century. Despite the official practice of Christianity, belief in some elements of the traditional religion remains strong. The Lala people read the Bible in English in church, even though they do not fully understand it.
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