Before we developed modern health technology, the world relied on traditional treatment. That was always the primary choice to help the sick. In the culture of Papua, traditional medicine was and still is a choice. There is still knowledge of the natural remedy that their descendants hold.
The Papuan has not only some traditional knowledge of health but also some traditions that hold the essence of humanity highly. Many of those traditions are still part of their life, even today.
Those traditions have some good values that we can still apply to today’s situations. Remembering and doing these traditions could also enhance the character of oneself. Here are the health and humanity traditions of the Papuan people.
Health and Humanity from the Culture of Papua
Not knowing yet about the culture of health and humanity in Papua? So, it is better to check these points:
● Health Culture
Papuan people have understood that nature provides many remedies for the body. They also know what could be used for sickness and how to deal with it. An example is from the Dani tribe. The Dani tribe has several choices of natural plants for health remedies.
Many of the remedies will use the leaves of the plants for brewing the medicine. However, other parts of the plants are also usually used too, which are the roots part, fruits, stems, and many more. Knowledge such as this is passed on to the new one.
For example, they will use the Giawas tree, the Psidium guajava L., to cure sickness. The Giawas’s leaves and fruits can be directly consumed by the sick to cure diarrhea and cholera.
There are also the leaves of Helangka or Abelmoschus Manihot L. Brewing it leaves for several minutes could help pregnant women with their labor. This tribe also used Helangka leaves as side dishes with meat and many others. It has healthy usage but also serves a good taste for everyday food.
The Dani tribe is growing so close to nature and uses it to preserve the body. It symbolizes connections and deeper relationships to their natural environment; they can live harmoniously. This is the genuine culture of Papua that people should keep for the new generations.
● Humanity Culture
The tradition in Papua is different compared to the outside world. However, it still holds some values that the seeing eye cannot ignore. Many are seen in Nasu Palek or Iki Palek.
In the Dani tribe, Nasu Palek is done to express grief and sadness after being left by the dead members of the family. The Dani tribes would usually cut their ear off as their way of honoring and respecting the members of the family that have gone.
This tradition might seem a bit extreme, but we can see their sacrifice of the body as a way to express how deeply they lost their family. Until the end of their lives, their family loved them.
The Iki Palek tradition has similarities with the Nasu Palek. Nasu Palek involves cutting off the ear, while Iki Palek involves cutting off the finger. Many tribes in Papua usually do this tradition. Some of them are the Dani tribe and the Mono tribe.
Traditionally, family members cut their fingers to express their most profound grief over the death of a loved one. The tribe believes that crying is not enough to show their sadness. Hence they cut part of their finger to show it.
In most families, women or mothers carry out these traditions. The practice, however, does not only apply to family members.
Though long since lost, the traditions show great respect to other humans even through pain nobody can comprehend.
The culture of Papua does not only rely on dance, the arts, or the language. Their core values also rely on their day-to-day problems like health. Even though their traditional customs also hold great deals in humanity. Those two are also valuable and applicable to today’s situations.