Papua or New Guinea Island is the second largest island on the planet. It is divided into two countries: Papua New Guinea (east) and Indonesian Papua (west). Indonesian Papua, with a size of 420.540 km, is very popular because of its natural biodiversity, exceptional culture, and population. The Papuan Tribe population consists of 255 native tribes. They are descendants of people from the Malay Archipelago and Tribes of Austronesia. Right now, each tribe has a unique and distinct culture and language.
According to the Papua Population Census in 2020, the entire population has reached the number of 3.4 million with 2.94 million being men, while the rest is women. The current Indonesian Papua has six provinces. While some tribes live near big cities, others choose to stay in remote areas with little to no access to modern civilization. Here is a list of the spread of Papuan ethnic groups inhabiting the island.
The Spread of Papuan Tribe Population
West Papua Province
West Papua, formerly called West Irian, occupies the western half of New Guinea Island. This province’s capital city is Manokwari Regency. It is located on the north coast of the Domberai (Bird’s Head) Peninsula and covers the Doreri Bay along with the south of Arfak mountains.
Tens of native tribes inhabit the province. They are Arfak, Biak, Borai, Doreri, Hatam, Moi, Miere, Meyakh, Moskona, Wamea, Mairasi, Madewana, Irarutu, Moire, Oburauw, Roon, Warumba, Yaben Nerigo, and many more. They are divided into two major groups either living inland or in the mountainous region. These tribes cherish nature and preserve hereditary rituals since hundreds of years ago. This province has some endemic flora and fauna such as Matoa Tree and Red Cendrawasih Bird.
Southwest Papua Province
Southwest Papua is the youngest province in Indonesia. It was officially acknowledged as the 38th province on November 17, 2022. The province covers several regions derived from West Papua such as the Regency of Maybrat, Tambrauw, South Sorong, Sorong, Raja Ampat, and the City of Sorong.
Located in the northwest of the island, the Papuan Tribe population in the province is quite diverse as it is home to many native tribes such as Ansus, Asmat, Ayamaru, Abun, Ambel, Awe, etc. Asmat Tribe is the most well-known tribe compared to the others. People are curious about the Asmat people because of their culture, lifestyle, and social structure.
Central Papua Province
Central Papua covers the regencies of Puncak, Puncak Jaya, Intan Jaya, Nabire, Dogiyai, Paniai, Mimika, and Deiyai. According to the data of the Population Census in 2020, more than 1.3 million people inhabit this province. Mimika has the highest number around 311 thousand people, followed by Paniai with 220 thousand people.
The highlands of Central Papua is the residence of the Amungme Tribe. Moving further, Dani Tribe occupies the area of the Baliem Valley in the Central Mountains area. Meanwhile, several tribes such as Korowai, Kamoro, Mandobo, and Mee Tribes live in Paniai mountainous area.
Papua Province, formerly known as Irian Jaya, is located in the eastern part of Indonesia, on the north coast of New Guinea Island. The province Capital City is Jayapura, officially established on the first day of May in 1963.
Muyu Tribe inhabits the area of the Muyu River. The place is located in the northeastern part of Merauke, Papua Province. Some people of Muyu take part in the Boven Digoel’s politics, working as government officials. In the same Province, there is the Nafri Tribe occupying the area of southeast Yotafa Bay, Jayapura Regency. Next, Sentani Tribe lives near and around Sentani Lake, also in Jayapura Regency.
The Papuan Tribe population is so diverse within the western part of New Guinea Island. The distribution of the tribal population is fairly even in the land of Papua. A total of 255 native tribes, each has its unique hereditary culture and sacred traditions.