As the capital of West Papua province, Manokwari is an urbanized area. It has everything a big city would need, such as airport and tourist attractions. However, despite all the modernization, the native tribe of Manokwari, the Arfak Tribe, still has a special place in the area.
In this article, you will learn more about one of the tribes in West Papua; the Arfak Tribe, their origins, and their way of life.
The Myths of the Origin of Arfak Tribe
The root of the Arfak Tribe can be traced back to a long time ago, back to the creation of humans. According to local myths, the deity creates the earth, as well as the first Arfak ancestor, Siba. Then, Siba gives birth to three children, and the lineage goes on into the Arfak Tribe that exists now.
Meanwhile, another local myth states that the origin of the Arfak Tribe starts with a human who has children with animals, mostly dogs. The human and dog descendant turns fully human as they grow older. Then, they get married and breed to form the existing Arfak Tribe.
Came from the Mountains, Spread Everywhere
Most people are familiar with the name “Arfak tribe”. However, where does the name come from?
Apparently, the name “Arfak” came from the Arfak mountains, which line up northeast of Bird’s Head Peninsula, where the tribe resides. However, it seems that most newcomers use pronunciation. The member of the tribe calls themselves by the name of their sub-tribes.
Among many other Papuan tribes in the area, the Arfak Tribe is said to be the most scattered one. Their tribe resides not just in Manokwari regency or Arfak mountains regency but also in Bintuni, Tambrauw, and Wondama Regency.
The spread is simply because the Arfak mountain intersects with those regencies. Moreover, the spread happens due to their economic activities and social interactions, such as farming and marriage.
The Sub-Tribes of Arfak
In some of the tribes in West Papua, there are also sub-tries. Typically, sub-tribes is to signify the area in which the members of the tribe reside. The same situation also applies to the Arfak Tribe.
The Arfak Tribe has four sub-tribes: the Sogbhh-Bohon tribe, Karon Tribe, Mpur Tribe, Meiyah Tribe, and Hattam – Moiley Tribe. Each of the sub-tribes has its own tribal chief. However, the great tribal chief is also leading all the sub-tribes.
Among them, only a few live in the Manokwari regency. In South Manokwari, there is Hattam and Moile tribe.
Meanwhile, in the West, North, and East Manokwari, there is the Meiyah tribe. It is said that they have their territory at first, but now they live adjacently due to social interactions.
Culture and Traditions of The Arfak Tribe
Each of the tribes in Papua usually has its customs that are unique and unlike any other. And, of course, so does the Arfak Tribe.
One of the most famous ones may be the Tumbu Tanah dance. It is a Papua traditional dance that symbolizes togetherness. It usually plays at important events, such as weddings and worshipping events. The purpose of the dance also varies. It can range from “to find a mate” to welcoming special guests to the village.
Another remarkable Papua Indonesia culture that comes from the Arfak Tribe is a traditional house called Mod Aki Aksa, or House of Thousand Legs. It is a traditional house on stilts with many poles on the bottom. The top part of the house is used for residency, while the bottom is used to hold important events.
Aside from that, the Arfak Tribes also have a close relationship with nature. Their main livelihood is from farming, and their children grow up using everything nature serves as their toys. This native tribe of Manokwari sure have a long list of interesting culture to learn about.