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Introducing the Korowai tribe from the province of Papua, Indonesia.

Introducing the Korowai tribe from the province of Papua, Indonesia.

The Korowai tribe lives in the south east of West Papua, close to New Guinea. This Indigenous tribe had their first contact with the western world in 1974, when they met an American expedition that was exploring the area. 

There are about 3,000 Korowai indigenous living pretty secluded from society in a jungle about 150 km from the Arafura Sea. Their economy is based on hunting and horticulture and their social structure follows the strongest man rather than any institution.Other than that, the tribe has no hierarchy system and they are known to treasure equality and harmony. 

It is claimed that the Korowai live in treehouses but the BBC revealed in 2018 that the Korowai had constructed the tree houses "for the benefit of overseas programme makers" and did not actually live in them. Since 1980 some have moved into the recently opened villages of Yaniruma at the Becking River banks, but the buildings in which they live are unknown till today. 

This indigenous community believes in different kinds of spirits, some very personal but among it all, they believe in Gimigi, a red headed god. Korowai clans must organize a sago grub festival (a type of meal) in order to stimulate prosperity and fertility. In times of trouble they sacrifice pigs to the spirits of the ancestors. With respect to death and afterlife the Korowai believe in the existence of reincarnation. 

Conflict between Korowai clans have mostly been due to land theft, and adultery. Traditionally, these were resolved with a fight and a death and the Korowai people would proceed to eat the body of the dead. They’ve been known for their Cannibalism although it’s claimed that this is no longer the case. 

Korowai men and women live separately. The boys are taught to fish and hunt from a young age, whereas women are only taught their functions when considered appropriate. When a marriage is agreed men must either pay a dowry or prepare a feast.

Did you like hearing about the Korowai tribe? What other communities would you like to know more about? 

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