Kadevuru Sinaqi tribe enthrones woman as chief

Chief Gloria Sibisopere

Headhunters and grandmothers led to the crowning of the new chief of the Kadevuru Sinaqi tribe of Isabel and Roviana.

Gloria Sibisopere, a descendant of a woman who was taken by headhunters from the tribe in Isabel Province, was last week enthroned as its chief in Ilangana, Munda in Western Province.

Mrs Sibisopere, in her 60s, declared to the hundreds gathered at the enthronement ceremony on October 26 that the Kadevuru Sinaqi tribe is ready to move.

“Today Kadevuru Sinaqi tribe of Isabel and Roviana, we are taking a new course of journey — a journey that will take us into the future” she said. “Your navigator in this journey is ready to lead.”

The weeklong celebration leading up to Mrs Sibisopere’s enthronement began with the arrival of the Paramount Chief of Isabel Province Right Reverend Bishop James Mason and other representatives from Isabel Province, along with chiefs from Rarumana and Saikile in the Roviana lagoon, and Vella and Simbo islands in Western Province.

Together, the chiefs traced Mrs Sibisopere’s family tree.

Mrs Sibisopere is the great-great granddaughter of Kadevuru, a woman from Isabel Province who was captured as a young girl by the Roviana people during the headhunting days.

Kadevuru grew up in Roviana and married a man from Munda.

They had two children — one was a girl named Duri.

Duri had two children — one was a girl named Pateroka.

Pateroka got married and gave birth to nine children. One of them was Betsy, Mrs Sibisopere’s mother.

Over the years, Mrs Sibisopere’s relatives in Isabel Province became concerned that part of their tribe was lost. They did some research and discovered that most of their people were living in Roviana, from Kadevuru’s lineage, and made contact.

Last October, according to Isabel Province’s matrilineal system, the late Deputy Paramount Chief Dennis Lulei went to Munda to appoint Mrs Sibisopere as the new chief of the Kadevuru Sinaqi tribe.

Ceremony attendees stand with the newly enthroned chief of the Kadevuru Sinaqi tribe

The search and appointment culminated in Mrs Sibisopere’s enthronement ceremony, which Bishop Mason conducted.

At the ceremony, Mrs Sibisopere told her people she is aware of the challenges she faces but believes they will make her a stronger, better leader.

“We will not miss our destination if we all remain united,” Mrs Sibisopere said. “Let us not revisit the past bitterness, instead let us steer the ship away from those rocks that will sink the boat.

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