Irian Jaya


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Asmat Woodcarver

Source: "The Asmat, Dynamics of Irian"
The Asmat Progress and Development Foundation.


West Irian was united with the Republic of Indonesia in 1962. Before, West Irian was the colony of the Dutch colonial rule until the Indonesian government took it over under the United Nations auspices. This province now has a new name, Papua.

          There are many tribal groups live in Papua. One of them is the Asmat, who call themselves "Asmat-ow" which means "We, the real people," or "We, the tree people."  The Asmat are now numbered about 65,000. Many of them live in the foothills of the the Jayawijaya Mountain. Asmat people are very skilled-woodcarvers.

People of other ethnic groups, especially the Javanese and the Buginese also live in Papua. A few Balinese people live there as well. Many of the Javanese and the Balinese were migrated to this island by the government under the program of "transmigration." Many of these groups also come to Papua as government officers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and police officers. Meanwhile, the Buginese take the occupation as merchants.

This province has a vast amount of tropical rain forests where many exotic birds such as "cendrawasih" live. The soil is also very rich of mining resources such as gold and oil. One of the large companies who has been exploitating the Papuan's wealth is Freeport, a company from the U.S. This company employes many people from outside Papua.

Traditional heritage of the Province of Papua

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