Let’s Get to Know 3 National Heroes From West Papua and Papua

Get to know national heroes from West Papua and Papua, Frans Kaisiepo, Marthen Indey, and Silas Papare, three Papuan nationalist leaders who defended Indonesia’s independence.

Slug: three-national-heroes-from-west-papua-and-papua


If we know national heroes mostly came from Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan, there are also national heroes originating from Papua and West Papua. These Papuan national heroes took part in Indonesian independence. Here are three national heroes from West Papua and Papua to know more about them.


Frans Kaisiepo


Frans Kaisiepo is an Indonesian national hero born in Biak, West Papua on October 10, 1921. His name is widely known for his merit in uniting Papua and Indonesia. Also known as the fourth Governor of Papua Province, Frans was awarded the hero title after fighting the Dutch in the Land of Cendrawasih.

How did Frans struggle to defend the Indonesian sovereignty? His utmost nationality struggle happened on August 31, 1945, when he flew Bendera Merah Putih for the first time and sang the Indonesian national song Indonesia Raya in Papua. He became the first person in the eastern part of Indonesia who did that.

Frans later upheld the existence of the Republic of Indonesia by stepping as the Nederlands New Guinea’s envoy in July 1946. He was the only Papuan presented at Malino Conference in South Sulawesi during that time.

Even after Indonesia declared its independence, Frans continued his struggle to defend and protect Indonesian independence in the land of Papua. In 1946, he established Indonesia Merdeka, or the Independent Indonesia party in Biak. 

Because of his reciprocal against the Dutch, Frans was sent to prison from 1954 until 1961. Once he was released, he set up another party called Irian Sebagian Indonesia (ISI), or Irian Part of Indonesia. This party aimed to unite Papua with the Republic of Indonesia.

In the same year, he helped the arrivals of Indonesian volunteers in Mimika. On December 19, 1961, Indonesian’s President, Ir. Soekarno, created Tiga Komando Rakyat (Trikora) or Three People’s Command. Trikora ensued New York Agreement, stating Papua was returned to Indonesia following Dutch’s control.


Marthen Indey


Marthen Indey is one of the national heroes from West Papua and Papua who played an important role in the unity of Irian Jaya to Indonesia. Marthen was born on March 14, 1912, in Doromena, Jayapura. Receiving education at the elementary school level and shipping school, Marthen then joined the National Police Head School from 1968-1971 in Sukabumi, West Java. 

He initially worked as a member of the National Police Chief of Hindia Belanda police but then switched direction. In 1941, Marthen was in charge of supervising Indonesian fighters exiled by the Dutch in Digul. Digul was an isolation and exile place for Indonesian warriors who fought against the Dutch. 

In Digul, Marthen met some political prisoners, one of them was Sugoro Atmoprasojo, Taman Siswa’s former teacher. The meeting grew a sense of nationalism in his feeling. Since then, nationalism understanding has influenced him a lot. With his 30 friends, Marthen set a plan to arrest Hindia Belanda government officials. Unfortunately, the plan failed. He was transferred to a remote place in Digul River’s upstream. 

Marthen also conducted the Nationalist struggle through politics. In October 1946, he became a member of Komite Indonesia Merdeka (KIM) or Independent Indonesia Committee, which later changed into PIM (Partai Indonesia Merdeka) or Independent Indonesia Party in which he was the leader. 


Silas Papare


This national hero was born in Serui on December 18, 1918. Silas had a working background as a health care provider and owned a limited education and political experience. Under the guidance of Digulis Harjono and Suprapto, Silas formed Komite Indonesia Merdeka (KIM) or Independent Indonesia Committee. 

Silas arranged a struggle move to defend the proclamation of August 17, 1945. With minor military experience, the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) asked Silas to train Irian youths forming the Papua Battalion. The military training was conducted in Nica, on the outskirts of Hollandia. 

In November 1946, Silas, along with other young nationalists formed Partai Kemerdekaan Indonesia Irian (PKII) or Indonesian Irian Independence Party. He served as the chairman. The nationalists often held secret meetings and planned various opposing actions against the Dutch during the progress. 

However, due to the lack of weaponry, their actions were easily defeated by the Dutch. Some nationalist leaders were arrested and prisoned, while others were returned to their origin regions. Silas himself was released after being arrested for some time.

He then returned to Serui and took charge in Serui Hospital as a health care provider. During the medical duty, Silas met Sam Ratulangie. Although the two had very different backgrounds, they built friendships and cooperated. They had the same dream, which was independence for Indonesia. 

In September 1949, Silas joined some Indonesia Republic-Netherlands official negotiations in Java. He represented the Irian people. In December the same year, he was again elected to strengthen the Indonesia Republic delegation in Konferensi Meja Bundar (KMB) in Den Haag. During the conference, the Dutch granted Indonesia independence. Yet, the conference failed to reach an agreement about the status of Irian.   

His struggle was finally paid off when he witnessed Irian returning to Indonesia during the New York agreement on August 15, 1962. This Papuan national hero died on March 7, 1978.

Besides the three national heroes from West Papua and Papua above, Papua and West Papua also have other national heroes like Machmud Singgeri Rumagesan and Johanes Abraham Dimara.