Tik Merauke: an epidemic like no other
Author: John Richens (King's 1970)
Publisher: Melbourne University Press
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 to the Marind), a rare, newly recognized sexually transmitted infection affected huge numbers of the Marind. This accessible book probes the causes of a unique epidemic by exploring the fascinating lives and rituals of the Marind along with those of the missionaries, anthropologists, doctors, administrators, filmmakers and bird hunters caught up in the events. It shows how the discovery of an effective medicine brought relief but the coercive resettlement of the Marind in model villages enacted at the same time has left a troubled legacy still felt by surviving Marind who have been marginalized by Indonesian settlers and now lost much of their land and forests to palm oil.