On Arguni Island, Papua lives a tribe named Arguni. They speak Arguni Language, and they have a unique culture. Let’s explore their island.
Arguni, or Taver language, is a minor Austronesian language spoken off the Bomberai Peninsula’s north coast. There are 150 Argoeni speakers. This figure is based on data from 2000.
The dialect metric calculation results show that the Arguni/Taver isolect is a language with a percentage difference ranging from 93%–100% when compared to other languages such as Bedoanas 93%, Sekar Onim 97%, Iha 99%, Kemberano 99%, and 100% Irarutu.
Isolect is the initial term used to identify whether a language, subdialect or dialect a speech belongs to.
According to residents, in the east at Kampung Arguni and Kampung Fior, people speak the Bedoanas language, Kampung Ugar at the west speaks the Sekar Onim language.
Meanwhile, the northern part is the village Otoweri, which speaks the Kemberano language. Last but not least, a Kampung Andamata in the south also speaks Bedoanas.
The Arguni tribe has a population of approximately 200 people, while the Ethnologue estimates that the Arguni tribe has a population of approximately 150 people.
Arguni Island and The Uniqueness
There is something unique about visiting Arguni Island, Kokas Fakfak District, West Papua, the color of the roofs of the residents’ houses is different. The people living in Kampung Tavar use green roofs, while Kampung Arguni uses blue roofs.
Not only that, but the fences in front of the houses of the two villages are also different. For the village of Taver, a wall was used, while the fence for the village of Arguni was joined by iron, even though the two villages are on one small island.
The population of Arguni as a whole is Muslim. Arguni Island residents’ houses are lined up beside a road made of cement. The cluster of houses further up the hill follows the topographical contours of the land.
A welcome gate, a kind of gate, only separates the two villages. The island’s population is also small, with less than 150 households.
Most people on Arguni island depend on the sea for a living by fishing. They live in houses on stilts by the beach, which has white sand or at the height of a rock.
Daily, the people of Arguni only on rainwater as a source of clean water for consumption.
Arguni island harbor is no less beautiful. There is a banyan tree that lives above the rock which looks beautiful from a distance. The seawater around it is quite calm and clear, making the banyan tree visible from a distance.
The King of Arguni
Even though they are administratively different villages, they are traditionally united and are under one customary leader.
Arguni Island is also the center of the Arguni Mastership, which a king leads with the surname Pauspaus. Raja Arguni’s house is on this island.
The hallmark of King Arguni’s house is known as the sago frond wall. By the local community, the king is also known as Raja Bule because, from generation to generation, he has the characteristic of being albino or white.
The Stories of the Arguni People about Their Ancestors
From the stories of the local people, their ancestors previously lived in the old village behind the hill, which was called the village of Ris Atot. In the old village, they built houses on stilts on dangerous cliffs.
After sailing around the island, they realized that on this side, there was sloping white sand, and finally, our ancestors moved and founded a new village called Taver. In that place, almost all the people still use Arguni language in their daily conversation.