Traveler Matt Scheurich Shot With Arrows By Tribesmen In Papua New Guinea

Posted Jul 5th 2011 11:25 AMUpdated Jul 5th 2011 02:18 PM

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A group of Papua New Guinean tribesman hunted a foreign couple through the forest to a river, then shot them with arrows and pelted them with rocks, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Matt Scheurich, a 28-year-old New Zealander, was struck in the chest and stomach by arrows as the tribesmen attempted to molest his french girlfriend, an anthropologist, last month.


Though Scheurich and his girlfriend escaped and were airlifted out of the remote North Fly district, the attack sheds light on potential risks of travel well-beyond the beaten path.


Tours to villages in PNG's remote highlands, which are marketed as unique opportunities to visit fascinating indigenous communities, are becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, violence is perhaps the only common theme among native cultures.


PNG's terrain is so rough that many villages have entirely different traditions and languages than their neighbors. One rite of passage many of these peoples shared (and may still share in places) is headhunting: Young men are not considered adult until they kill an enemy in battle and behead him. Think of it as a strange combination bar mitzvah and bris.


While Scheurich's head was probably not the prize the tribesmen were after, it can be inferred that their intentions were probably not benign.


Meeting diverse peoples has become a priority for international travelers - no doubt a positive development - but talking to strangers can be risky even for adults. Not all savages are noble (and some nobles are savage).


The premium placed on the exotic has driven a certain sort of person to take increasingly extreme risks as the beaten path has gotten beaten wider and wider. India is easy, so travelers head to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is peaceful, so they move on to Borneo. Borneo is accessible, so travelers look to PNG.


PNG is incredibly dangerous. Hurrah.


The U.S. State Department recommends that visitors take precautions before traveling in the highlands and in the capital Port Moresby, which is basically Mos Eisley on the ocean.

Apparently an addendum should be added to those recommendations advising visitors to cover their tracks.

Filed Under: Adventure Travel, News, Weird

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Matt Scheurich

Unfortunately this article is a very poor piece of journalism. There was no 'tribal group' that hunted and attacked my partner and I, plus various other inconsistencies have been integrated from other incorrect news agencies. The level of fiction and cultural misunderstanding makes me believe there was little research invested. Even the photo used is a baseless stereotypical cariacature.

PNG has a large pool of distinct cultures and languages, approximately 823. There is significant variety to the ways of life that just because one or some individuals and groups (or 'lines' as they call it in PNG) could or were considered violent, you can't assume that they all are.

I admit that PNG is a violent place; there are also plenty of kind-hearted, honest, well-intended souls whom I had the pleasure of meeting a living with. It's a shame we met one fellow who decided to commit a violent act towards us, but that's the unpredictable nature of life in general too, plus I believe he was afflicted with an unfortunate mental illness that propagated his strange and extreme behaviour. PNG's catch phrase is 'Land of the Unexpected' and I certainly experienced the whole spectrum of good and bad experiences there!

The emphasis I have now is to heal and recover, and I most certainly shouldn't read internet news about us and our predicament, especially articles that seem to be catered toward fear-mongering sensationalism rather than an emphasis on respect and journalistic integrity!

July 10 2011 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhonda

I believe they got what they deserved. Going into an area that is off the beaten path of regular life is stupid just so you can say you experienced it. Some tribes do not like the intrusion and I dont blame them. Why should they change their way of life for stupid idiots wanting bragging rights. We, shouldnt be infringing on their life and they shouldnt have to change for us

July 07 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhonda

I believe they got what they deserved. Going into an area that is off the beaten path of regular life is stupid just so you can say you experienced it. Some tribes do not like the intrusion and I dont blame them. Why should they change their way of life for stupid idiots wanting bragging rights. We, shouldnt be infringing on their life and they shouldnt have to change for us.

July 07 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
poypoy palaboy

that's it? because they belong to a tribe they have the right to kill. we can't live them that way. They should be educated There are lots of Tribal people in south east asia but never heard about killing a traveler. PNG is dangerous.

July 06 2011 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
doo doo

Contact has been made, the damage is done, whatever innocence there was is gone. What do? Put them in a zoo? There are plenty of other primitive tribes more threatening to modern man . . .

July 06 2011 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
harryzinn

Comparing killing an enemy in battle and beheading him to a combination bar mitzvah and bris is not only absurd but it's lazy writing at best and hateful at worst.

July 05 2011 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
grayt5tm

Leave these pepole alone they do not adhere to any of our beliefs. they have ther own gods and beliefs and this is the way they have lived for probably thousands of years. Why do we want to paloot their society with our belifes. Look where it has borught us, murder,rape,drug addition, and a soiety that has no more morals than a house cat

July 05 2011 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ddracha

Certainly looks like a dangerous place, but let's put it in prespective, so is New York, Houston, New Orleans, Etc. and other large U.S. cities. They may not hunt your head but the acts of violence against everyday citizens certainly reflects that evey though we are a "civilized" nation, there are those bad elements located in all socities all over the world that revert to primitive ways!! Shows you that there are bad apples in every barrel!!

July 05 2011 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BUTTHEAD

This article teaches you that you should quit while your ahead.

July 05 2011 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
targetshot

They are probably lucky they weren't eaten for dinner!

July 05 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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