Fakfak is a mountain range in West Papua, Indonesia, near Tambaruni Bay on the Bomberai Peninsula. The city is located among limestone hills, rivers, and caverns. Both immigrants and , called “children of the land” (Indonesian: Anak Negeri), inhabit the city.native tribes of Fakfak
It was estimated that by 2021 there would be over 18 thousand residents in Fakfak. Among the newcomers are people of Indian and Arab descent. However, there are members of indigenous groups, including the Mbaham Matta, Irarutu, and others living there.
Let’s get acquainted one by one with these tribes.
1. Mbaham Matta Tribe
Mbaham Matta is a prominent native tribe of Fakfak, Indonesia. Twelve smaller clans make up the larger tribe, and they all live in the same general area of the island’s southern coastal plain, which is well-known as a nutmeg-growing region. They were known as “stone men.”
Nine different administrative areas are home to members of the Mbaham Matta tribe. The Mbaham Matta have lived off the oceans and rivers for millennia. In fact, their homeland is famous for its abundance of sago, nutmeg, seaweed, and fish.
The Mbaham Matta tribe still follows many of the customs passed down from previous generations, such as the upkeep of various ancestral locations that serve as classroom lessons in ecology and sociology. The sites also provide a practical way to maintain a link with one’s family tree.
Most interestingly, there is a rich history of music and singing among the Mbaham Matta people.
They use Tifa to play music for their traditional dances. The Tifa is a wooden musical instrument with a single hole along its length, wrapped with animal skin at one end. Meanwhile, the name of the song performed during the customary performance is Meres.
2. Irarutu Tribe
One of the most populous tribes in all of West Papua is the Irarutu (Irahutu). The Irarutu live in three different districts, all throughout the coast and highlands, with Fakfak being one of them. As a group, they represent the very best of mankind and tolerance. They share a community with immigrants of many faiths.
Sasi Pala is one of the distinctive cultural practices of the Irarutu people. To protect and maintain the high standard of the nutmeg grown on their land, the Sasi Pala is a ceremonial procession that also restricts the harvesting of nutmeg from trees for a certain length of time.
As a result, the crop should be of higher quality and fetch a higher price. A traditional leader organizes Sasi Pala, which draws hundreds of people from nearby settlements.
Irarutuans rely on nutmeg growing as their primary source of income. In fact, nutmeg was first identified when Chinese explorers brought the seeds. Despite this, some modern-day Irarutu still engage in their forebears’ traditional practices and subsistence hunting and gathering.
3. Arguni Tribe
The Arguni are a group of native people that inhabit a tiny island in the Bay of Berau on the northwest shore of the Bomberai Peninsula. There are perhaps 200 individuals living there at the moment. This group speaks the Arguni language of people, an Austronesian language.
The houses of the Arguni people are each individually designed, and they all have various colored roofs. This is because there are not just one but two distinct communities—Taver and Arguni—on the same island.
Both settlements have Arguni inhabitants, but the distinction is administrative, so everyone gets an equal share of government aid.
Members of the Arguni tribe refer to their traditional leader as “king.” The Arguni people trace their ancestry back to the town of Ris Atot, where they first erected their distinctive stilted homes on the craggy terrain. Most of them now depend on fishing for a livelihood.
There is a place for both indigenous and foreigners in Fakfak. In fact, it is the only major city in Papua that is home to sizable Indian and Arab populations. All in all, they live well alongside the native tribes of Fakfak, who still maintain the way of life as taught by their ancestors.