Ketar Natis, Killings and Two Grieving Kinsmen

Crocodile Prize PNG

By (Theresa) Tess Gizoria

Dad and I very rarely sit and chat about little nothings. But on the occasions when I patiently listen to him retelling stories from his childhood, I more often than naught, am transported back in time to a place I can’t picture, with traditional practices and social norms I cannot reconcile with my present reality.

On one of those rare occasions, I learnt about the practise of ‘ketar natis’.

Growing up, dad would tell me how most problems were made right through ‘ketar natis’, a practise similar to, but a little unlike the ‘pay-back killings’ of societies in the highlands of PNG. An eye-for-aneye sort of practise.

The figurative description of the term ketar natis would be equivalent to the pain of a splinter embedded under a fingernail.

Even if the splinter were removed the sore would prove rather painful and could take forever to heal…

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