5 Papua People’s Characteristics and Way of Life

On May 1, 1963, Papua, a province on Tanah Papua’s northern coast, came into existence. The area of Papua was previously called Irian Jaya, which covers the entire Land of Papua, ex-Dutch New Guinea. Since June 30, 2022, the province has been divided into five provinces. Its splinter provinces include Central Papua, Mountains Papua, and South Papua. Cultural diversity is blooming in Papua because Papua people and tribes each own its tradition. Learn how they do some of them here.

5 Papua People's Characteristics and Way of Life

Papua People and Their Habits

Indigenous ethnic groups in Papua are among the largest ethnic groups in Indonesia, and there are hundreds of tribes in Papua. The following 25 tribes are better known to the Indonesian people. 

These tribes include the Ansus, Amungme, Asmat, and Ayamaru tribes that inhabit the Sorong area. Bauzi, Biak, Dani, Damal, and Empu tribes inhabited Kebar and Amberbaken. Then the Enggros, Fayu, and Hatam tribes inhabit the Ransiki and Oransbari areas. 

And Iha, Kamoro, Korowai, Mandobo or Wambon, and Mee inhabit the Paniai mountain area. Furthermore, the Meyakh tribe inhabits the City of Manokwari, Moskona, the Merdei, Muyu, Nafri, Sentani areas, inhabiting Lake Sentani, Serui, Souk, inhabiting the Anggi and Mengambouw areas, Tobati, Waropen, Wamesa, and other tribes.

Some indigenous tribes who live on the island of Papua are accustomed to living in the wild in the interior of the tropical forest. These tribes are widely known for having unique traditions and customs of Papua people. Some of which are as follows.

  • Tough Walking

Because they live deep in the jungle, some people from the tribes in Papua are very far from the center of crowds in urban areas. So to sell their farm produce, they have to walk from their residence to urban areas, which takes days. This practice has been ongoing for a while. Therefore it is not surprising that the Papuan indigenous people are physically tough enough to walk for days.

  • Papua People Always Carry Sharp Weapons

People in Papua are always ready with various weapons such as machetes, machetes, and arrows every time they leave the house. Because they still live outdoors, a place with many different wild creatures, they practice this habit to protect themselves.

  • Experts in Taming Animals

Because they live in the wild, some inland tribes in Papua are required to be able to adapt to a natural environment that is full of dangers. One form of adaptation is the ability to tame various wild animals, such as dogs and wild boars. Dogs are often tamed by binding a portion of their front paw, but pigs are domesticated by having an eye pierced.

  • Marriage Traditions

Each tribe in Papua has different traditions concerning marriage. However, Papua people generally use a dowry as a valuable item at a fantastic price. Usually, the dowry is in the form of firearms from Dutch and Japanese colonialism, livestock such as pigs, tens of sheets of cloth, to beads.

  • Tari Perang

Tari Perang is one of the dances depicting the Papua people‘s heroic spirit and courage. This dance is usually staged as a firefighter when going to war with other tribes. Tari Perang is performed by a group of men with arrows, machetes, and various other weapons. Because competition between tribes no longer exists, Tari Perang is now more often performed to welcome guests who visit their territory.