As the second largest existing island in the world, it is only natural that the land of Papua is rich in terms of ethnic groups. In total, there are more than 250 tribes that settled in all-around regions on the western side of Papua Island. It includes the Tehit Tribe that inhabits the Doberai or Bird Head Peninsula.
Most of the people of Tehit live around the Teminabuan District. Administratively, this area belongs to South Sorong Regency, West Papua Province. Tehit is one of the native tribes of Papua with a fairly large population. It is around 20,000 to 25,000 people. Here are some facts about them!
Meaning of “Tehit“
According to its lexical meaning, “tehit” means “have been lost”. Possibly, this is because the Tehit people came to Teminabuan and displaced the people who arrived there first. Those people are the Safledrar people, one of the indigenous people of Papua. They are classified as pygmies.
Pygmies are people with small stature. Usually, a male from this ethnic group has a height no higher than 150 cm. At the same time, the Tehit people have a tall stature typical of the swamp people. So, hundreds of years ago, they came to Teminabuan and made the Safledrar people have been lost.
The Origin of Tehit Tribe
As previously mentioned before, the origin of the Tehit Tribe is not from the Teminabuan District. Instead, they come from the Tohor cultural area, Seget-Sele Peninsula. It is a cape area around the Sorong Regency. However, this region had a big natural disaster hundreds of years ago.
The disaster made people migrate to Teminabuan by boat. The people who migrated together were the clans of Kondologit, Salamuk Bless, Kondjol, and Sarwanik. There are also the clans of Kremak, Kemesrar, Blesia, Bleshadit, Sfahrit, Sremere, Momoth, Adjolo, Kdamaa, and Salambauw.
Aside from that, there is another legend related to the origin of this one tribe. It is said that the Tehit people came from kefi. Kefi is a tree, which is also a kingdom for them. Then, a Frisa clan, a resident of Wenselalo Village, split the tree. From there came the people of Tehit.
Several clans are said to have originated from the kefi tree. They are the clans of Sagisallo, Sera, Sagrim, Sakamak, Selaya, Seflembolo, Sarefe, Thesia, Sabru, Sreflo, Sawen, Yarollo, etc.
The Tribal Beliefs of Tehit People
Just like the majority of religions in Papua in general, most of the Tehit people are Christians. However, there are also local beliefs that are still held by some sections of the community. They believe when someone dies, they go to a place called Mlfitain.
There, the ancestral spirits will watch over their descendants living in the world. If they are making mistakes, they will come to them in the form of a disturbance. It can be a disease, a barrier to sustenance, and other vices. You only can stop it by giving them offerings and apologizing.
The Language of Tehit Tribe
It is already common knowledge that almost every tribe in Papua speaks different languages. Same with the tribe of Tehit, who speak the Tehit language. The presence of 11 different dialects in this language makes it even more unique and interesting.
People in Teminabuan and its surroundings speak Tehid Tehiyit. While people in the south, Weri Konda dan Mbariat speak Tehid Afsya or Mbolfle. People in Wehali and Eles speak Tehid Gemma. Then, the Hana and Sanekh residents speak Tehid Yemian.
There are also Tehid Sawiat, Tehid Fkar, Tehid Sayfi, Tehid Konyokh, Tehid Salmeit, Tehid Yatfle, Tehid Olabra, and Tehid Sfaryere. Those are unique points of the Tehit Tribe, which became one of their characteristics and identity.