Professor Finds Possible ‘Lost Tribe of Israel’ in Papua New Guinea

April 25, 2013 5:17 pm 7 comments

The flag of Papua New Guinea, where a professor known as the "British Indiana Jones" has tracked a tribal people identifying itself as a” Lost Tribe of Israel.” Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The scholar known internationally as the “British Indiana Jones” has tracked a tribal people identifying itself as a “Lost Tribe of Israel” in a remote corner of Papua New Guinea.

Florida International University religious studies professor Tudor Parfitt recently conducted an expedition to Papua New Guinea, where he studies the Gogodala, a tribe of former cannibals who believe they are one the Lost Tribes, according to a Florida International University press release.

The Gogodala are now hunter-gatherers in western Papua New Guinea with very little connection to the outside world. But from the very first encounters with western explorers in the 17th century, the idea took root that ancient Israelite communities were to be found in the islands of the Pacific. Australian missionaries later went on to further propagate the idea.

A decade ago, at the request of tribe leaders, Parfitt conducted DNA testing on the Gogodala to see if he could establish any link to the Middle East. The tests were inconclusive. Nonetheless, the Gogodala have continued to embrace Judaism. During his most recent visit, Parfitt was surprised to see how the Jewish practice had developed in the tribe.

“The bedrock of the religious identity of the Gogodala remains in some respects, their traditional belief system, upon which has been grafted Christianity, which was introduced to the tribe in the 1950s by missionaries,” Parfitt said. “On top of that has been grafted a kind of Judaism. More and more of the Gogodala wear yarmulkes [kippot] and prayer shawls. They’ve started celebrating Jewish holidays and they are using more Hebrew.”

7 Comments

  • Sosowane Wagumisi

    Professor, has a tribesman concerned,do not agree with your statement, ”Gogodala’s are not cannivals”
    Again would you clarify ‘What do you mean to say on your DNA findings- ‘INCONCLUSIVE’DNA.

  • Profesor, maybe you should spent more time studing the life style of this people. They are uniqie.

  • This article contain significant factual errors. I spent two years living and workin with the gogagala people, 1998 – 2000. Many are christian, an increasing number secular some holding to traditional beliefs and a small group have adopted this lost tribe belief. The gogadala are one of the largest people groups in the western provience. Any generalisation is bound to be wrong. Next time show some interlectual rigor and publish only truth.

  • Esther Margaret Ingram(Nee Teale)

    Dear Professor Parfitt,
    There were no cannibals in the Gogadala Tribe but there was a lot of inter tribal fighting. My parents were there much earlier than the 1950s with the Unevangelised Fields mission who were already there in the early 1930s and there was no resemblence to Judaism in the tribe then, and neither did that Mission Teach Judaism.My parents both learned the Gogadala language and had a great relationship with the Tribe. They stitched up the head wounds and other body wounds after tribal fighting.Missionaries were there in the Western Province a lot earlier in the 1930s.My Father,Ron Teale went up there in 1939.He helped to build a mission house and school in Awaba with Dick Donaldson in early 1940.Outsiders coming into PNG often miss interpret what they see PNG people do and say.The Gogadala people are now a largely educated people,that is not to say not as you depict them Professor. I don’t know where you get your strange information from.They are not they don’t hunt or gather from their gardens or forest, not a lost Tribe, let alone “a lost Tribe of Israel”!!Also other missionaries build a Teachers’College at Awaba which was later moved to Dauli, after which a Nurses College replaced the Teachers College in recent years.
    A number of my Father’s converts and other missionaries converts who embraced a Faith in Jesus Christ went to help our Aussie soldiers on the Kokoda Trail and became
    known as some of the well known “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels”.I hope this is an eye opener for you. My father is still alive at 97 years of age now, if anyone wants to come and talk to him about the Gogadala.

    • Sosowane Wagumisi

      Yes I agree with you, Gogodala’s are not cannivals. Professor has to confess to the Gogodala tribesman.

  • Raymond in DC

    Given the Jewish aversion to eating blood – because life is in the blood – and the myriad dietary restrictions, I think the idea that a Jewish remnant would succumb to cannibalism as a norm is simply ludicrous.

    • SINI WATUTU

      lET ME CORRECT MR. RAYMOND,

      THE GOGODALAS ARE NOT AND NEVER WERE THEY CANNIBALS, THEY HAVE NEVER TASTED ANY HUMAN FLESH WHATSOEVER, THEY FED ON THE SAME FISH, MEAT AND PROTEIN YOU FEAD ON AND THEY ARE NOT ANIMALS BY THE WAY. THE SNAKES PROFFESOR TUDOR REFERS TO ARE EEL FISH AND THEY ARE FISH NOT SNAKES.

      WHAT DO YOU CLASSIFY THE MANIAC/LUNATIC FEEDING ON A DEAD SOLDIERS HEART IN DAMASCUS,AND LUNATICS FEEDING ON BABY BRAINS

      GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.