History of Papua; Culture of Cutting Fingers by Moni Tribe

History of Papua

History of Papua

In different parts of the world, there will always be some fascinating traditions and ideas that intrigue someone who does not originate from the culture. Many of them are beautiful and enchanting; others could make you wonder. Likewise, the history of Papua. This place holds many traditions that could be the most unique for some people.

The one tradition that will be intriguing for an outsider might be the cutting fingers from the Moni Tribe. Yes, you heard it right. It is the cutting finger tradition. It may sound scary and horrid. However, there are many things behind the tradition that we need to learn before judging it.

Here we will understand more about the story behind the cultural tradition of the Moni tribe. What is the reason for it, and how did the tribe do it in their way? Here they are.

History of Papua Cutting Fingers Culture from the Moni Tribe

Every tradition is different from the other. We are to learn the story of a culture in the Moni Tribe Papua. Here they are:

● The Reason

The cutting finger culture in the Moni tribe usually is done by women. Such action is not for some sort of cannibalism or something similar. But, this was their authentic expression of sadness after being left by their family members.

Some other cultures might spend their time together with other women crying or applying some sort of mud to their bodies as their expression of grief. However, more extreme action will be taken by the Moni tribe in Papua.

One finger needs to be cut by the members of the Moni tribe. The custom is done if there is a close kin that is dead. Such as husband, wife, father, mother, child, brother, and sister. This is their original history of Papua culture.

The pain of cutting one’s finger symbolizes the heartache of the death of one’s family members. The deep grief and sadness are expressed with the loss of one’s finger. It means that the end of the family members is so painful and deep that it is equal to losing a finger.

That is because the family holds an essential role in the Moni tribe in Papua. The family has their value in life. Therefore, losing one member has a strong effect on the people there.

For the Moni Tribe, the finger symbolizes unity and strength in the human body. The difference between those fingers of humans can symbolize the togetherness and unity to solve the problem in the world.

The human fingers work together to build world peace. Together they will result in bigger and better results than alone. Losing one part of it will give a specific decrease in life aspects.

● The Process

The mother of the family usually does the procession of cutting one finger. However, it is possible for the other members’ a man or female, to join and participate in this tradition. This custom is not only to express grief but also to prevent the same destiny from the family from happening again.

The process of finger cutting in the Moni Tribe is done using several ways. Some people use sharp tools such as knives. There are also other ways of using ropes.

● Present Days

Nowadays, people have left the traditions and modernization around the area. This tradition is also not being done again because of the effects of religion. However, you can still see the track of this culture in older adults.


The history of Papua and its traditions might be different from other cultures. However, as humanity goes, we must respect and try to understand their traditional view and learn their way of life. Knowing the traditional value of other cultures could improve our knowledge and experience of others.