5 Things to Know about Communities in West Papua

West Papua
Source : Media Indonesia

Papua is one of Indonesia’s provinces with its own distinct identity. They’re unique and fascinating to see. Papua is said to have over 300 communities and hundreds of native languages. That is why the assumption that Papua is just about the golden mountains or Raja Ampat is incorrect. It’s a shame to miss out on Papua’s many customs.

It is also said that UNESCO has designated West Papua as a world cultural heritage site due to its cultural diversity. This article is about the communities in this region.

West Papua
Source : Cnn Indonesia

1. The Majority of Indonesia’s Subcommunities

As noted in the first paragraph, Papua has many communities, with 312 communities being the most numerous. People who dwell in the Arfak mountains, for example, The Arfak tribe has the largest and most powerful population. They are an inland group, separated into four smaller tribes. Sougb, Hatam, Moilei, and Meiyah are the four tribes.

2. Divided Into Two Regions

Ethnic groups of West Papua are geographically separated into two groupings. In particular, the interior tribes and the outer tribes. So there are tribes that have opened their doors to foreigners, but there are also communities whose inhabitants are still inaccessible to the general public.

3. Dependent on Nature

Many native tribal people prefer to rely on nature rather than labor in big cities because of Papua’s plentiful natural resources. In reality, many rural children are less interested in accessing education since they are already at ease with the natural resources they manage.

4. A Tribe Can Speak Two Languages

In addition to many tribes, hundreds of local languages are spoken in West Papua. As a result, around 268 local languages are in use, including Indonesian.

Two languages are sometimes employed in one tribe attests to the language’s richness. These languages share certain similarities, but they are not all the same.

5. Each Tribe Is Unique

Even though the people of these communities are similar, their cultures are completely distinct. It also contributes to the wide range of cultural diversity in Papua.

Each tribe’s governance structure is usually led by a tribal chief who serves as the chairman in resolving the indigenous peoples’ problems.

– The Other Communities

The tribes are likewise dispersed from the highlands to the shore. This way, the livelihoods of each tribe can range greatly. Those who live on land tend to work as field farmers, while those on the shore tend to be fishers.

Please keep in mind that Papua is a land of incredible diversity in addition to indigenous groups. Not only will you meet locals, but also Javanese, Chinese, Bugis, Makassarese, Flores, etc. Yet the majority of them are concentrated in Papua’s major cities.

– The External Appearance

Papuans are the most unique of all Indonesians. They were black, tall, and well-built, with curly hair. Because of that, they are comparable to Africa’s Negro people.

Another intriguing fact about the Papuan people is that most of them, particularly those living in rural regions, eat sago and potatoes as their basic foods. So it’s not rice like most Indonesians consume.

However, due to the onset of development in West Papua, their food supplies have recently been depleted. The trees were felled. Consequently, the region’s indigenous communities have staged protests and other upheavals.

One of the distinctive features of the tribes of Papua is the Sebyar tribe, which is a sub-tribe of the Arfak. They still believe in spirits and supernatural forces and regard sculptures as sacred items.

The Sebyar tribe follows a patrilocal and matrilocal system in terms of women’s rights. As a result, each house may accommodate two to five families and adopt a patrilineal structure for the kinship system, such that inheritance rights are always handed to boys.

That was a peek into the ethnic groupings distributed throughout Papua and West Papua. This land is incredibly appealing and lovely, with its enormous natural resources and a wealth of culture and language that is second to none.