5 Must Know and Interesting Facts About The Asmat Tribe

Must Know and Interesting Facts About The Asmat Tribe

When talking about tribes in the land of Papua, the first tribe that appears in most people’s heads is the Asmat. Not only in Indonesia, but the name of this tribe is also familiar to people from other parts of the world. The fact is, there are various reasons why the Asmat Tribe is well known.

This is why many people are curious about this tribe that originates from Papua Island. Here are the facts about the tribe of Asmat that you need to know!

1. The People of Asmat Consist of 12 Sub Tribes

the origin of Asmat Tribe

The Asmat are one of the largest tribes that exist in the land of Papua. However, 12 sub-tribes are considered the Asmat ethnic group. They are the Safan Tribe, Joirat Tribe, Becembub Tribe, Aramatak Tribe, Emari Tribe, and Bras Tribe.

Then there are also the Ducur Tribe, Yupmakcain Tribe, Bismam Tribe, Unir Siran Tribe, Unir Epmak Tribe, Kenekap Tribe, and Simai Tribe. Even though there is diversity in the Asmat Tribe, most of them refer to themselves as the people of Asmat.

2. They Speak Asmat Language with Five Different Dialects

Asmat Language

One of the interesting things about the Asmat people is their language. Generally, the people of Asmat speak the Asmat language. It is kind of complex, according to the linguist. This is because they belong to the Asmat language family. It is the sub-family of the Trans–New Guinea language.

However, another language that is considered as the Asmat language families are very distinctive from the Asmat language itself. This is why many linguists state that this is a bit complicated. It is not to mention that the Asmat language has five different dialects. So, it makes the language more complex.

3. The Tribe of Asmat Consider Themselves as Part of Nature

The Tribe of Asmat Consider Themselves as Part of Nature - Asmat Tribe

Most people from Asmat believe that they are part of nature. This is why they glorify the trees and permanently preserve nature. Up until now, they love and appreciate nature around them. It is part of spiritual matters for them.

They even held a five days long festival for their wood carving tradition. When the time comes, they will gather all the people of Asmat. Then, they dance, boat, weave and give musical performances. On the last day, they also do exhibitions of their works.

Aside from that, they also believe that the origin of the Asmat Tribe is from the descendants of God Fumeripits. He was the first person to be stranded in the land of Asmat before a magical bird came and saved him.

4. Their Wood Crafting is Very Incredible

Asmat Tribe ornaments

Because they value trees so much, one of the traditions of the Asmat people is wood crafting. This is not just any wood crafting, but there is a deep meaning in it. Most of their arts are designed to honor their ancestors. Many people know the tribe of Asmat because of their incredible art.

In fact, many Asmat Tribe ornaments are displayed in museums abroad. You can probably find some in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Aside from that, you could also find some of them in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.

5. Once Was Known for Their Cannibalism and Headhunting

Asmat Tribe cannibalism

Before the missionaries arrived, people knew the tribe of Asmat as a tribe of cannibals. In the past, they believed that the death of someone from their tribe was because of the enemy. This is why they always seek revenge by headhunting. Then, they also eat their meat.

However, the headhunting traditions and Asmat Tribe cannibalism are things of the past. Even though they are still one of the most isolated tribes in Indonesia, they do not carry out that tradition anymore.

So, those are the facts about the Asmat Tribe that you need to know. They are one of the most interesting tribes in Indonesia. No wonder many people are curious about them.