Update: We have just lost one source of funding for 2013 and are scrambling to make ends meet. Please read and circulate.
Nancy Sullivan & Associates Ltd.
HELP FOR KARAWARI CAVE ARTS UNDER THREAT
PRESS RELEASE 15/3/13
We are appealing to the public for help in preventing Rimbunan Hijau and Pristine #18 from acquiring a mining exploration license (ELA 2008) in the Karawari region of East sepik, Papua new Guinea, over the majority of an area also known as the Karawari Caves. These caves are of
great archeological and cultural importance to the people of Papua New Guinea as they contain stencils that probably date back 20,000 years (dating is yet unconfirmed). A team of PNG ethnographers and fieldworkers has been working to record these sites and the stories associated with them---they number over 300—and assisting the extremely remote people who own them. Some of these cave owners continue to dwell in their caves, as they are amongst the last
semi-nomadic peoples of PNG. Our company, Nancy Sullivan and Assoc Ltd., has supplied school fees, primary school equipment, teachers, solar panels, cocoa pods, construction materials, and basic health services for these communities over the last 7 years, pursuant to their own desires to remain on their land and become more sedentary gardeners. Indeed, their ability to subsist and
prosper on their land is crucial for the conservation of these caves as cultural heritage---free from commercial intervention and open to PNG scientists who can help uncover the secrets of their history within their middens, relics and stencils.
In January 2012 The National Geographic Society published a story about these people and their caves, the beautiful phots from which can be found ere:http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/karawari-cave-people/toensing-photography
Just days ago a joint venture between a Western Australian company and the Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau (well know in PNG for its environmentally and social destructive practices; see for example http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/reports/the-untouchables/ and http://www.forestnetwork.net/rhw/index.htm ), arrived by chopper to meet with these people about an application they had taken out to explore for gold throughout their land.
Exploration does not require landowner consent, only the approval of the Mining Ministry. Despite the protracted requests by villagers that the NOT explore for mineral in their land, but leave them to thrive on the land and protect their important cave sites, the company Pristine #18 has lodged an application to explore (ELA 2008).
Please check out the Facebook page Karawari Cave Arts for more information and images from these sites. See also the petition and an interview transcript on http://ramumine.wordpress.com/tag/rimbunan-hijau/ .
We need your help now. First, to sign a petition that we will give the Prime Minister and Minister for Mining, both reasonable and empathetic men, in behalf of the general public who wish to preserve these international cultural heritage sites.
Say No to Mining of the Karawari Caves http://t.co/s7uHN4JFQv
Second, we need material assistance. Those of you who can donate petrol and two-stroke
motor oil will be providing an important service to our field teams who now
have to travel through the five communities on a regular basis to monitor
morale and security. We also plan to hold a Penale tribe-wide meeting on 6
April about this threat and fuel, and transportation expenses of all kinds are
beyond our means right now. Internet costs in PNG, for example, are amongst the
highest in the world. Domestic flights are as expensive as international
flights in Europe these days.
Our budget depends entirely on conservation grants from overseas institutions.
These are always earmarked months in advance for specific needs, and cannot
legally be diverted to emergency assistance. We have sought funding through an
emergency relief fund at the World Heritage (UNESCO) organization, but because
our application to be listed as a World Heritage site is still at the early
stages (and the WH Committee within PNG has not met or paid its dues), we
remain ineligible. Nor are we eligible for several other emergency funding
options----largely because we have yet to establish a non-profit entity to
accept donations (again, a matter of bureaucratic pacing).
We are a private consulting company based in Madang which has been recording and
exploring the caves for the past 7 years, acquitting grants in this regard to donors like The National Geographic Society, The Christensen Fund and others. Our work has also been rewarded with grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Firebird Foundation and others. We are not running a scam of any kind. Please check our web site www.nancysullivan.net (but beware---www.nancysullivan.org is a
scam---they stole our domain name three years ago and have been raising money
with it since). See also our blog about this issue and our work in the caves:
If you are able to help us please contact Nancy at nsullivan@ online.net.pg for information on how to direct deposit in the US or PNG. Alternatively, she can direct you to the company accountant who will also accept funds on our behalf for this emergency effort alone.
We will acknowledge every single donation in all our media and publications.