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Tudor hot on trail of Gogodala 'lost tribe of Israel'


Tudor ParfittIN A REMOTE CORNER of Papua New Guinea, the scholar known internationally as the "British Indiana Jones" is tracking a global phenomenon of tribal people identifying themselves as a Lost Tribe of Israel.

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

The Gogodala are hunter-gatherers in western PNG 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. Later, Australian missionaries further propagated the idea.

At the request of tribe leaders, a decade ago, 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 this visit, he 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 and prayer shawls. They've started celebrating Jewish holidays and they are using more Hebrew."

The idea that the population can trace its roots back to ancient Israel is shared by other tribes. There are those who believe that the whole Papuan population has its roots in the Holy Land.

Parfitt, who has written 25 books, has been studying Judaizing movements around the world for 30 years. He is best known for his work with the Lemba tribe of Africa, which was shown to have an historic link to Israel.

His recent book Black Jews in Africa and the Americas records the growth of Israelite movements throughout Africa and elsewhere. His research trip shows that the Gogodala are part of this growing, global Israelite movement.


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Doris Korowa

Why do you think the Dutch and British colonisers divided the Island of New Guinea and the Canaan Land into half?

The half Island of New Guinea ruled by the Dutch was given to Indonesia as the territory of West Papua (Irian Jaya).

The other half ruled by the British and Germans until the Germans were booted out in 1914, was given independence along with the Christian religion.

Now let's go to the land of Canaan, the half ruled by British is now called Israel with Christianity strong presence and 1/4 of the Jerusalem City belongs to Roman Catholic.

The other half of Canaan land ruled by Dutch colonial powers now has Islam as its major religion.

Wake up PNG, don't let the colonial masters dogmatise your mind to know your roots and history.

Some places you can research....

1. The Melanesian DNA, World Genetics Society, New York ... Research Findings.
2. World Heritage Centre , Kuk Agricultural Site... Civilization of PNG.
3. World History Books
4. Professor Tudor's Research Work.
5. The Book Niugini Fire Pot
6. The Bible and Fulfillment of Prophesies.
7. And your village elders can give you a history of before colonization if you sit down and ask.

All tribes in PNG has a tumbuna Stori that links to the outside world.

I edited Doris's comment to correct the more egregious of her historical errors. It is highly likely some remain - KJ

Thomas Vue

Now that PNG has rolled out its embassy in the disputed holy land of Jerusalem in September 2023, I've seen religiously delusional people in PNG commenting that it is the right move, etc. without having regard to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and various atrocities committed by the far-right Zionist movements against the Palestinians and Arabs who they themselves are the original Semites. As Tudor Parfitt wrote, these mental delusions started as indigenous people all over the world, including the Gogodalas, "used the stratagem of Israelite identity to help them resist being totally subjugated to Western Christian dogma, praxis, and mores." Call it Stockholm Syndrome if you wish to. It's sad that the gullible would easily fall for this blind belief, which is associated with a strong right-winged view, bigotry, racism, egocentrism, close-mindedness, and delusions amongst our impoverished people, who love to maintain their "comfortable poverty" and defend their captivators to death, without realising that we are no different to the "extremists".

`Robin Lillicrapp

Parfitt's findings regardless, do no despite to the likelihood of "Jewish" influence over many areas of the world, S.E. Asia / Oceania included.

My surmisings allow the Phoenician influence on Maritime history to bear the hallmarks of "global" outreach per-se by command of the ancient King Solomon of Israel

Stanley Huasi

I as a Sepik citizen born in a culture similar to the Israelite culture it was a shame to watch the video of the Gogodala people as they were presuming to prove their connection.

They should have wait for the DNA result before they reacted in the video that the world watched? Shame.

Paul Wagun

The idea of the Gogodalas being the lost tribe of Benjamin is absolutely stupid..pronto!!! and the genetic test's inconclusiveness proves that fact, so what more do we need. Just stop the stupidity. If certain people wish to push ahead with the idea, just simply make a l i a to Israel and prove your point.

Lawi Koleya

Les Loader - Gogodala people are not incited by a misunderstanding of the Bible nor by Messianic wannabes who visit PNG from other countries.

Gogodalas rather want to find out the truth to what has been passed down from generations.

Every Gogodala knows that one day we will return to Yaebisaba where we really belong, wherever our ancestors sailed from, we will return. We only want to find answer to what has been told for generations.

In so doing, many of my cousins have turned into Judaism which has split families. Our Yaebisaba may not be Israel, so please help us find answers instead of being critical.

Lawi Koleya

To all critics of the Gogodala saga, these are some of our very own Gogodala names from our clan system: Mose, Sedeka, Maliki, Aba, Gedela, Bani, Nauri, Auma, Ila, Yawe, Aliya, Idgaela, Yeoba, Shula, Iswani, Eklowa, Semaya, Ikabi, Yaesa, Manase, Samuwa, Dode, Gebone, Aketa, Aba.

Do they sound like middle eastern names?

Lawi Koleya

Maureen Wari - I, as a Gogodala, do not really want to expose too much of my ancestral heritage which existed long before my good missionaries arrived on our shores.

This much I can expose is about my Gogodala intricate clan system which governs our way of life.

All the names of people and places are derived from our clan system passed down from generation to generation. This is my Gogodala ancestral heritage which no one can change.

In 1971 a missionary was writing his thesis, which my father was part of, sharing Gogodala history. Many tribal leaders who have now passed, were not too happy with my father for exposing our secrets with a white skin.

Now I think I understand what I did not then.

Lawi Koleya

Sedrick Moka, there is no confusion or misunderstanding between the Gogodala people and the missionaries.

Missionaries never taught any so-called Jewish culture. They only taught what all other missionaries have taught which PNG is proud to be called a Christian nation.

Lawi Koleya

Cygil Glasper, you are critical about the Gogodala DNA. Do you realise you have posted a Gogodala word "aliya". Do you know what it means to a Gogodala?

Lawi Koleya

Peter Kranz, how have you managed to connect my Gogodala culture, my way of life, with a cargo cult?

Lawi Koleya

Steve Gallagher thinks my Gogodala intricate clan system, where all our clan names are derived from, was introduced by the missionaries from England, Samoa, Australia and NZ? You must be out of your mind!

Peter Kinjap | Howarig Consultants

If this is not the Gogodalas nor the Haggais then it must be the entire PNG island population. I wish to meet Prof Tudor Partiff in person if he is still interested in this research of the claim that the lost tribe of Israel is in PNG.

It is also interesting to read some comments that the Garden of Hidden is in PNG. I have heard these words some 10-15 years ago but never took seriously as it would mean anything to link that up.

Just recently in my quest to write up some tour packages, I meet some of my old friends like Philip Ukuni who is strongly influenced by the fact that what prophet Isaiah said in the book Isaiah Chapter 11 verses 2 to 16 that connects......island of the seas.

Yes it was prophetic words "......island of the seas". And those Australian missionaries came to PNG being inspired by these words.

At Kuk Archaeological Site, now listed as World Heritage, dated back to 7,000 years ago the fertile land of vast Waghi Valley was continuously cultivated, and over 10,000 years possibly the time span.

The evidence of digging ditches with wooden tools were from 4,000 BP (before present) to present time. The remains of some of the sharpen stones used at Kuk were too heavy for an average man to left. There are at Kuk at present. It is believed, at the era some huge human beings existed.

Yuku Rock Shelter in Baiyer River (Plant microfossil analysis revealed cave occupied from before 14,200 BP to recent times). In Chimbu, Nombe Rock Shelter discovered human activity first documented about 25,000 BP and continues through to present time.

If PNG has a link of more organised life way back to over 30-40, 000 years BP years ago, then there is a strong link between what Professor Tudor Partiff is believing. It could have been the Garden of Hidden or the lost tribe of Israel.
The spiritual interpretation of Isaiah 11:2-16, convinces that PNG is the .......".............the island of seas."

Arguably PNG is an Ancient country, with more organised life thousand of years ago. There is a link from Israelite cultural where it says those who eat the meat of pigs and rats......some people in PNG are the only race of human who could eat the meats of pigs and rats. The bride price culture is similar to the Israelite.

I wish to meet the Professor and those who are interested in this. Email: [email protected]

Dulu Lalea

I am one of the tribe members of Gogodala.

I do not support or go against this whole saga.

I am disappointed with the author's ignorant attitude by stating the Gogodala tribe as former cannibals.

That statement is very misleading as my ancestors were never cannibals.

Please do detailed research prior to posting misleading statement(s) in the future.

Les Loader

Professor Parfitt is we understand an Anthropologist from the Florida International University. However his methodology for testing the DNA of the Gogodala Israelites was amateurish. The collection of hair that was given to him was not something he collected in the Western Province but it was given to him in Australia. He did not verify the identity of contributors to the collection of hair which he says was tested for DNA analysis; nor does he submit a scientifically verifiable document regarding his tests. I note that genetic testing is mentioned in other papers in Professor Parfitt's quest for the meaning of the myth that he pursues.
It must also be said that genetic markers for any particular group of people is infinitesimally small and could never be used as a reliable distinguishing system given the immensity of the total human genome.
Professor Parfitt did conclude that his testing was inconclusive. This means that he did not find any proof that the Gogodala people can lay claim to even a rogue Israelite being one of their ancestors.
I am sorry that Professor Parfitt sought to enhance his popularity and mystic among the Gogodala people by publicly declaring - "You are the Gogodala Israelites". It might have been received with great enthusiasm in March 2013 but it has reinforced these peoples self deception and it has done them no good. Sori tru! They may well want to convert to Judaism and go to Israel, but in the meantime they are Papua New Guinean.
Even Dr Parfitt does not really believe they are true blue Jews. His theory of such movements is that "the creation of Israelite and Jewish identities throughout the world, are an innate feature of colonial discourse" and that "the creation of such identities was also the result of what he called racialised religious manifestations". (
They are fair and honest comments. This movement amongst the Gogodala people near Balimo is a recent religious movement incited by a misunderstanding of the Bible and also by Messianic wannabes who visit PNG from other countries.
For all those who today claim to be Jews remeber what the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus - "Except a man be born again - he will not see the Kingdom of God."

Jim Kauk

Bernard, I've found Prof Tudor to be a weird but very smart man. I flew him on the Military Casa aircraft and his team to Balimo and was there for the week to see and hear for myself what he and the two Rabbis had to say.

I've got all the speeches on video and, to be frank with you, the Gogodala people were declared as Israelites. I had a one-on-one talk with Prof Tudor after the official speech.

I am told they carry a major DNA signature of the of the ancient...original...? Hebrew ancestry.

Planti long ol Jews nau istap oli no Israelites, nogat. Planti bilong ol ikam olsem long Poland. Go be ken long stori blong Noah bihain long pinis blong Hiara na painim samting hait stap long hap.

If you need to discuss further, please feel free to email me on: [email protected]

Bernard Singu Yegiora

Clive, I was able to talk to a notorious prisoner who ran away from Boram jail a few years ago and hid in the Sepik plain for weeks.

He told me stories that are similar to your comment.

One statement that he made and I will never forget is that the "Garden of Eden is in PNG". He said everything mentioned in the Bible is here in PNG.

Sadly, he died, but I hope one day I will understand his statement.

Clive Sani

That is the story of the Gogodala.

If we look back at us Sepiks, our cultures, traditions, harvest ceremonies and feasting, taboos, circumcision, spiritual temples, our rules and guidelines resemble those of ancient Israelites of the Bible.

Some of our vocabulary composition is Hebrew meaning the same things. I have been to sacred limestone caves in the Sepik plains with ancient writings not deciphered yet.

Having interviewed an old man, now deceased, he told me it was written by spirits of dead people. There's more to this that, as Sepiks, are I think worth investigating.

Sedrick Moka

Personally I think that there must be some confusion between the Gogodala people and the Jewish tradition brought by the missionaries.

I think before the arrival of the missionaries, the Gogodalans culture must be similar to those of the Jewish.

So when the missionaries brought the Jewish teaching, they may have found some similarities which they must have adapted it into their cultural practices, for instance the Jewish names in the bible.

Sini Watutu

Tobit and the so-called self-proclaimed Gogodala tribal council must clarify and tell the rest of the Gogodalas the truth that the DNA results by Tudor Parfitt are inconclusive.

Stop holding the people in suspense and pretending that all is fine and try to cover up the mess by introducing Judaism.

We are born again, blood washed, tongue taking, Holy Spirit filled people freed by Christ and not held captive by any law. We believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Shame on you blind and foolish leaders. What has gone wrong with you?

Sini Watutu

Mrs Wakasa should refrain from such claims until we have confirmed evidence of DNA results.

Right now the results are not confirmed. You are misleading the Gogodalas and PNG friends.

The professor's words are uncertain at the moment. Stop being in the dream world.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

Tobit, thank you for engaging in the discussion.

I do not discredit the claim but want the professor and the university to clear the air of uncertainty.

Scientific evidence like a positive DNA match will clear doubts.

Maureen Wari

PNG - land of amusement and openness.

Steve Gallagher

Maureen - I don't mean all of us but there are some people who act like longlongs. No offence!

Maureen Wari

And Mr Gallagher, PNG is not a land of longlong idiots. You should take that back!

Maureen Wari

Maybe, Mr Wakasa, to convince all of us trying to understand the connection between Gogodalas and Jews, to list some of your Hebrew names (many other biblical names are known throughout many villages other than Gogodala), or name some kosher foods you eat or some holidays you observe (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur) or some coming of age celebrations like Bah Mitzvah.

While I don't dismiss your claim, I'll be OK with a name or a practice because I know it isn't only the Gogodalas claiming this connection in PNG.

Steve Gallagher

I think the names of people and places were introduced to Gogodalas by the missionaries and not the original names.

If ol Jews ba ol senisim yumi PNGians logtime yet. Maski kon nabaut!

Tobit Wakasa

I wish to thank all those good folks who have come public on this particular issue of Gogodala Jewishness.

As a pure Gogodala, my ancestral oral history passed from generation to generation up to my time now has never changed and will never change.

My ancestral roots will surely prove all critics wrong as Israelites (Jews) are God's chosen race of people and no one can dispute that because Gogodala history connects very much with that of the Israelites today.

If Gogodala connection is genetically inconclusive, historical evidence proves otherwise. For instance; many Hebrew names of people and places in Israel today are Gogodala names.

Finally, Bible believing Christians/believers will know what is happening in the spiritual realm and are therefore supporting Gogodala cause as this is all fulfilment of bible prophecies of the end times for Jews and Gentiles.

Gogodalas will never tell you the truth about themselves until you are caught by surprise because of your foolishness/blindness and unbelief. It will be too late friends...

The ticking time bomb is in Balimo...the Gogodala Land...

Jason Sawera

I think that the ideology that they possess is in fact derived from someone else’s perception, maybe that of the leader , due to his/her own reasons.

History tells us that there is no way this could be possible.

Why waste all your time and effort trying to prove to the world something you’re not?

Gododalas come back to PNG will ya!

Peter Kranz

Is it some latter-day manifestation of a cargo cult?

I sense the influence of fundamentalist Christians for whom the Jews are God's chosen people and can do no wrong.

Except when it come to the last days and they will be consigned to hell for not accepting Christ.

We religionists have a lot to answer for.

David Kitchnoge

One word: Stupidity!

Cygil Glasper

Not this crank again.

The Israel government will never let the Gogodalas make Aliyah based on them saying "trust us, we really feel Jewish."

There's considerable opposition in Israel to the Ethiopian Jews, and they actually are Jewish.

DNA studies will prove that the Gogodalas are genetically Melanesian and are as distant from any known Jewish population as I am. More so, in fact.

Parfitt should be strung up for building up a gullible people's expectations like this.

Peter Kranz

Bernard - It is farce of the highest order. Sadly the Gogodalas seem to have been seduced. I'm not sure to what ends.

And if you go back far enough, everyone is related to everyone! I find this rather reassuring.

Steve Gallagher

PNG - the land of confusion and longlong idiots.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

There is confusion, the Gogodalas said that the DNA result was positive while Florida International University states that it is inconclusive according to this article.

Can the University and Professor Parfitt make a public statement in the PNG media to clear the confusion.

Our relatives have joined the bandwagon and have opened up Aliyah accounts in the Bank South Pacific to aid the Gogodala people return to the promised land.

The Gogodalas have been very vocal on that issue.

So much confusion, please help me understand what is happening.

Peter Kranz

I think the last word on this should go to Mel Brooks - Jews in Space!

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