Cargo cult

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Ceremonial cross of John Frum cargo cult, Tanna island, New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), 1967

Cargo cult is a name given to several religions. There are many cargo cults in Melanesia and New Guinea. These religions started when tribal societies saw Western things like radios. These things are called cargo. The tribespeople did not know how the things they saw worked, or how they were made.

The tribespeople copied the things they saw the Westerners do. They did this because they hoped gods would send them more cargo. Also sometimes, for example on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, cult members worshipped Americans who brought the cargo.[1]

During the age of colonialism, the people came in contact with many societies who had less technology than they did. The first cargo cults were seen in New Guinea, and other countries of Micronesia, Melanesia and the West Pacific Ocean.

The people who are part of the cargo cults think that the cargo was created by their deities and ancestors. They think that the cargo was made for the members of the cargo cult, but the foreigners have it instead. For this reason, the efforts and rituals of cargo cults are so that the foreigners get less of these goods and the cult members more of them.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Cargo cult lives on in South Pacific, Phil Mercer, BBC News, 17 February 2007".

Other websites[change | change source]