Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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

April 25, 2013 5:17 pm 9 comments

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.”

9 Comments

  • There is a common misunderstanding here. Prof Tudor Parfitt was only carrying out an expedition, to verify whether the claims of the “lost tribe” was genuine. He even went a step further by carrying out DNA tests, to prove if this theory was correct. The results came back: INCONCLUSIVE! Meaning there was no firm conclusion or result. Obviously, more research needs to be carried out. So in the meantime, let him do his job, without our petty squabble online

  • Professor Tudor probably needs to be corrected for the generalised misconception to include the Gogodalas. Gogodalas were never cannibals. They only fought fierce battles with neighboring tribes or ethnic groups for LAND, TO ENTEND BOUNDARIES AND TO PROTECT THEM.

    Ancestral Gogodalas were already practising a form of sabbath observance only to be converted to observing Sunday worship by the early missionaries when they brought the gospel. They gladly received and accepted it although Sunday was not really theirs. They practised how to live by faith and speak words of faith for the unseen to come into existence – for scouting, warfare, invasion, gardening, hunting, fishing, healing from sicknesses and diseases or injuries, to calm the winds and storms, shorten distances, etc.

    Who can explain where they inherited all these from? It’s quite plain that secular studies will only regard this as impossible and nonsense. A good amount of misconception also took root about some of their practises because of the westernised christianity. Many things they will not tell you because they refer to them as their bone – where the white, red, yellow come from.

    Listen closely to the language they speak, local names of people and places, or discover the giant “Bani’s 8m Footprints”, etc, which the professor was not shown. Why did the Gogodalas not show the professor these things? Why would they hold back some of these things?

  • 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...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →