Getting to Know The Real People of Papua


Papua is famous for the traditional tribes that they have. Not only the tribes but the heritage that Papua hold is something Indonesia should be grateful for. Because it brings many colours to the local cultures, have you ever wondered who the real people of Papua are? Here we have some information that might be useful for getting to know the real people of Papua!

Who Are The Real People of Papua?

If we look at the formal law in Indonesia, Undang-Undang, a chapter talks about the real or legal people. In the Undang-Undang Nomor 21 Tahun 2001, Bab I Pasal 1 Huruf (t), it formally declares that “Indigenous Papuans are people who come from indigenous tribes in the Papua Province and/or/or people who are accepted and recognised as Papuan by indigenous Papuans.”

So, the so-called native Papuan (real people of Papua) only exists if he (the Papuan native) becomes a citizen of one of the indigenous tribes (natives) in the Papua Province. In Papua Province and West Papua Province, community groups speak 251 languages, always considered identical to tribal groups or ethnic groups.

Second Factor on Determining Real People of Papua

Therefore, these people might come from 251 ethnic groups who speak these languages, consisting of ethnic/ethnic groups. They speak languages ​​belonging to the Austronesian language family and ethnic/ethnic groups who speak the Papuan language family.

So, we need to know that the 251 languages ​​are one of the determinants of the classification criteria, who are indigenous Papuans and who are not indigenous Papuans. However, the language of the tribal/ethnic community group alone does not guarantee that someone is a Papuan native or not a Papuan native. Some non-Papuans speak fluently in the local/tribal language due to very intensive interaction and in a short time. And on the other hand, there are also many members of tribal communities who have been outside their original environment for a long time. They rarely even speak fluently in their mother tongue and their children and grandchildren. So the language that is the basis for ethnic grouping. Then, it becomes a reference for determining the “authenticity” of Papuans is a criterion used to determine who is a native Papuan and not a native Papuan.

This issue has made Papuan look into their roots, the tribes. One of the factors that may confirm if they are part of the origin Papuans is their ownership of Tanah ulayat (ulayat land) and hak ulayat (ulayat right).

What is Tanah Ulayat and Hak Ulayat?

A native Papuan must know and then understand that he is in a place because he has the right. No party will object and prohibit him from being in his freedom and property area. Therefore, the ownership, control, and use of the land already exists and continues to this day and will live indefinitely.

Indigenous Papuans own customary land and customary rights over Papuan land. Papuans are suprimanggun, according to the Byak language term. It namely the rightful owner of the right to the area. This includes land and sea (water and waters) and all their contents. Papuan natives are “landlords” of Papuan land as a hereditary inheritance from their ancestors. In this case, each according to its existence as a tribal group or ethnic group. There is also no one, a native Papuan, who was born into this world without the origin of the land inherited from his ancestors.


So, on getting to know the real people of Papua, there are three factors we should confirm besides their appearances. First, we should confirm it by looking at the formal law in Indonesia, which is Undang-Undang Nomor 21 Tahun 2001. Next, by ensuring their languages, and third by knowing their ownership of Tanah ulayat and hak ulayat.