In 1999 it was proposed to split the province into three government-controlled sectors, sparking Papuan protest. In January 2003 President Megawati Soekarnoputri signed an order dividing Papua into three provinces: Central Irian Jaya, Papua and West Irian Jaya. The formality of installing a local government for Jaraka in Irian Jaya Barat (West) took place in February 2003 and a governor was appointed in November; a government for Irian Jaya Tengah (central) was delayed from August 2003 due to violent local protests. The creation of this separate central province was blocked by Indonesian courts, which declared it to be unconstitutional and in contravention of the Papua’s special autonomy agreement. The previous division into two provinces was allowed to stand as an established fact.
The Amungme are a Melanesian group of about 13,000 people living in the highlands of Indonesia Province, Papua. They practice shifting agriculture, supplementing their livelihood by hunting and gathering. The Amungme are very tied to their ancestral Land and consider the surrounding mountains to be sacred.
The Asmat are an ethnic group of New Guinea, and residing in Papua province of Indonesia. Possessing one of the most well-known and vibrant woodcarving traditions in Pacific, their art is sought by collectors worldwide. The Asmat inhabit a region on the island’s southwestern coast, totaling about 19,000 square kilometers and consisting of mangrove, tidal swamp, freshwater swamp, and lowland rainforest. The land of Asmat is located both within and adjacent to Lorentz National Park and World Heritage Site, the largest protected area in the Asia-Pacific region. The total Asmat population is estimated about 70,000. The term “Asmat” is used to refer both to the people and the region they inhabit
The Bauzi tribe consists of a group of 1500 people living in the north-central part of Indonesia province, Papua. The Bauzi area consists of much of the lower Mamberamo area in northern Papua. While the Bauzi people were historically a fierce animistic people group, they are now 65% Christian. For the most part, tribal warfare is no longer a large part of Bauzi culture and all Bauzi people speak the same language. In recent years, linguists have been studying the language and translating various literature, including the Bible, into the Bauzi language.
The Dani people, also spelled ‘Ndani’, and sometimes conflated with the Lani group to the west, are a people from the central highlands of Papua. Linguists identify at least four sub-groupings of Dani: The Lower-Grand Valley Dani (20,000 speakers), Mid-Grand Valley Dani (50,000 speakers), Upper-Grand Valley Dani (20,000 speakers), and the Western Dani (180,000 speakers). They are one of the most populous tribes in the highlands, and are found spread out through the highlands. The Dani are one of the most well known ethnic groups in Papua, due to the relatively numerous tourists who visit the Baliem Valley area where they predominate.
The pig features very strongly in their local culture, being the most important tool used in bartering, especially in dowries. Likewise pig feasts are extremely important to celebrate events communally, the success of a feast, and that of a village chief or organizer, is often gauged by the number of pigs slaughtered. The Dani have an unusual method of cooking pig, and other staple crops such as sweet potato, banana, and cassava. They heat some stones in a fire till they are extremely hot, they then wrap cuts of meat and pieces of sweet potato or banana inside banana leaves. The food package is then lowered into a pit which has been lined with some of the hot stones described above, the remaining hot stones are then placed on top, and the pit is covered in grass and a cover to keep steam in. After a couple of hours of broiling, the pile is opened and food is removed from the pile and eaten.
The Amungme are a Melanesian group of about 13,000 people living in the highlands of Indonesia Province, Papua. They practice shifting agriculture, supplementing their livelihood by hunting and gathering. The Amungme are very tied to their ancestral Land and consider the surrounding mountains to be sacred
The Valley remains one of the last places on the face of the Earth where people continue living in semi-Neolithic circumstances. Upon the spectacular approach by air, the tourists will notice the total isolation of the area. Sealed of the rest of the world by mighty mountain walls and without any roads leading from the coast to the inner region, the Valley keeps its own secrets.
Villages of no more than a few families are dispersed throughout this rough and mountainous region. Dani is a generic name of a series of tribes, until recently adhering to a Neolithic lifestyle. Only by the sixties of last century, they adopted the use of iron. Their dark complexions underline a Negroid origin, something that differentiates from the other Indonesian people. There are numerous tribes residing in the valley, having quite different languages and customs. The Yali, Kimial, Ok and Eipomek claim the eastern periphery of the magnificent valley. It is relatively easy to find their villages under the shelter of rainforest and highland.
Within the small town of Wamena, most Dani people clad in westerns style clothes. If we venture out however, chances are high we’ll have an encounter with a fascinating Dani in full regalia Indeed, the Dani people much prefer to walk around naked save for a koteka or a tube-like yellow gourd, worn over the penis. The bodies of the male Dani gleam with pork fat, applied to fight of the cold. At an altitude of 1.600 m, temperature can be quite low, especially at night.
Jayawijaya Peak, a roaring mountain is permanently covered with snow, despite its location on the equator. We’ll quite never forget meeting an awful-looking Dani, bearing the tusk of a wild pig at the tip of his nose. Despite their groovy looks, these are quite gentle people, shaking your hand politely and always having time for a small chat.
Likewise, women don’t wear terribly much clothes. Just a skirt, entirely made of natural materials will do. It is the women’s duty to carry out the heavy work on the fields. Observe the nuke, typical cloak-like bark string bags, carried half over the head. Heavily loaded with cabbage, sweet potatoes and sago, they resemble a blanket. A woman covered in river mud, is in grief. A less innocent way to show mourning, is finger amputation, a fate that only women will befall. Despite serious efforts of the government to halt this practice, they continue being reported occasionally.
The Baliem Valley remains one of the most fascinating places on the planet, where man may confront it its prehistoric past. But even in the remotest of area. Civilization is seeping through and will not be kept at bay. Maybe the time is right to visit the wild beauty of the Baliem Valley and its remarkable people.
Lorentz National Park
The Park lies within Irian Jaya Province, and the administrative Jayawijaya, Paniai, Merauke (Southern Division), Fak-fak, Mimika and Enarotali districts. It stretches for over 150km, from the central cordillera mountains in the north to Arafura Sea in the south. Access is by air from Jayapura to Wamena and Timika 04º00′-5º15’S, 137º14′-138º20’E.
The Dutch Colonial Government gave the first protection status in 1919 with the establishment of Lorentz Nature Monument. In 1956, the protected status was abolished due to conflicts with local people over unresolved land ownership. In 1978, it has established as a Strict Nature Reserve (Cagar Alam) by the Indonesian Government with an area of 2,150,000ha wdth. In March 1997 it was declared National park by the Ministry of Forestry, which includes the eastern extension (Mt. Trikora, Mt. Rumphius, Habbema Lake area), coastal and marine areas.
With the total area is 2,505,600ha, about 0.6% of Irian Jaya’s total size, the Park can be divided into two very distinct zones: the swampy lowlands and the high mountain area of the central cordillera. The central cordillera itself can be subdivided in the eastern part and the western part on the basis of geology and vegetation types, the north/south line at approximately Kwiyawagi village being the dividing line.
The central mountain ranges are the southern portion of two colliding continental plates, which are causing the mountain range to rise. The lowering and rising of the sea level during the glacial and inter-glacial periods of the Pleistocene, along with continuous activity in the mobile belt which characterizes the contact zone of the two colliding lithospheres plates, has continued to promote the great biodiversity of the island of New Guinea in general, and in the Lorentz area in particular. Large tracts of the mountain range, and especially the area formed by the traditional lands of the Amungme (or Amung) are rich in mineral deposits – especially gold and copper.
The Carstenz or Jaya Peak section of the Jayawijaya Mountain Range still retains small ice caps. It is one of only three equatorial highlands (Sierra Nevada region in the Andes, and Mt. Kenya, Kilimanjaro, Ruwenzori in E.Africa) that is sufficiently high altitude to retain permanent ice, but note that Lorentz glaciers are receding rapidly. Some 3,300ha of snowfields REMAINED IN 1992. The main snowfields comprise five separate areas of ice on the outer margins of Mount Puncak Jaya. These include two small fields, which feed the Meren and Carstenz glaciers, and a small hanging glacier on the Carstenz Pyramid.
Puncak Jaya’s summit consists of several peaks (Jayakesuma / Carstenz Pyramid 4,884m, Ngga Pulu 4,862m, Meren 4,808m) that developed from Tertiary rocks (Miocene). This high area was still covered by wide ice caps (13sq.km) in 1936. These ice caps melted down to an area of just 6.9 km in 1972 and further reduced to 3.3 sq.km by 1991. The remaining ice is now divided into three patches the North Wall Firn, the Meren and Carstenz glacier with only 3 sq.km of ice left. Based on climatic data, a deficit mass balance will continue as the future trend.
The lowland area is a wide swampy plain, covered with virgin forest and intersected by countless winding rivers and streams, mostly tidal. The largest of these rivers empty into the shallow Arafura Sea, which separates the island of New Guinea from Australia.
The Regional Physical Planning Program for Transmigration recognized 9 physiographic types and regions (beaches, tidal swamps, meander belts, peat swamps, alluvial valleys, alluvial fans, dissected terraces, mountains and alpine summits) with 13 major land systems.
Jayapura, founded on 7 March 1910 as Hollandia, had developed into a city with modern civil, educational, and medical services in 1962. Since Indonesian administration services have been replaced by Indonesian equivalents such as TNI (the army) replacing into Papua Battalion. The name of the city has been changed to Kotabaru, then to Sukarnopura and finally to its current official name. Among ethnic Papuans, it is also known as Port Numbai, the former name before the arrival of immigrants.
Jayapura is the largest city, boasting a small but active tourism industry; it is built on a slope overlooking the bay. Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) campus stays at Abepura that is the houses of University Museum. Both Tanjung Ria beach, near the market at Hamadi (site of the 22 April 1944 Allied invasion during World War II) and the site of General Doughlas MacArthur’s World War II headquarters at Mount Ifar have monuments commemorating the events.
There is a settlement on the shore of this lake not far from Jayapura where one can observe local traditions as they are practiced in people daily lives. The short trip from Jayapura, pleasant as it is, offers a little foretaste of the province’s magnificent sceneries.
The Skyline Hills
Tanjung Ria Beach, known as base G by the Allies during World War II, is a popular holiday resort with water sports facilities. From Skyline in the hills behind the city, one gets a beautiful view of Jayapura, Jotefa and Humboldt bays and Sentani lake area. Places in the vicinity of Jayapura such as Skyline and Sentani Lake can be reached by taking a minibus. Biak has air and sea links with Jayapura. Sorong, is also served by air from Jayapura. Other destinations are reached by car or boat, or by light aircraft.
Biak, a town built on the rocky soil of an island of the same name on the rim of Cenderawasih Bay, is Irian Jaya’s gateway. A big Indonesian naval base, it has an infrastructure that is better than in most other places in the province. Japanese caves are found near Ambroben.
There are some good beaches on Biak island, the most popular of which are Bosnik on the east coast, good for swimming and skin-diving, and Korem on the north coast, where one can watch young men dive for pearls. Supiori Island, just north of Biak, has a recreation forest and villages where visitors are welcome.
Among the nine regencies in Papua, Biak Numfor is the only one that consists of islands. Geographically, it is located between 134° 47- 136° east longitude and 0° 55-30° south langitude. It owns 3 big islands; Biak, Supiori, and Biak Numfor.
102.492 people spreading in 8 districts, 7 sub districts, and 153 villages inhabit Biak Numfor regency.
The temperature is generally hot. Light rains fall 189-399 mm per month between 22-29 days, which occurs a lot during the months of Januari to June whereas the dry season in between July to October.
There are numerous types of flora in this tropical area with its mystical tropical rain forest. The forest also has a variety trees and other commercials important species plus the lush vegetation of mangrove swamps. People grant their life by taking sago from the sago palm forest.
The fauna is almost similar to Australian fauna such as the group of fowl like pigeon, cockatoo, nuri (a kind of parrot) and the reptile group such : crocodile, snake, turtle and monitor lizard.
The native of Biak called this cave ‘Abiyau Binzar’. Abiyau means cave and Binzar means grandmother. It is said that in the old times there was a grandmother living in this cave. During the second world war the Japanese army hid in this cave which simultaneously functioned as logistic centre. It is located in Sumberker Village, Biak Kota District; 15 minutes ride to get there from Biak town.
Parai Blue River
A cave with a river running inside contains fresh aquamarine water. Beautiful stalactite and stalagmite decorate the inside walls. It is in Parai Village Biak Kota District and takes about 15 minutes to reach it from Biak town.
Merauke is called Deer Town, lies in the east part of Indonesia, bordered on Papua New Guinea. This regency is well known with its Asmat woodcarvings and Wasur National Park. The population in Merauke Regency nearly 276,122 people, spread in the 18 districts. A large number of the people are living in the interior. To reach the interior, is only by plane such as twin otter or Cessna.
Wasur National Park
It is located 13 km out of Merauke town on an area of 412,387 ha. This park has various kinds of flora and fauna which part of them never found elsewhere in the world. To reach it, all kinds of vehicles can be taken. No hills or mountains range are seen but variety of habitats, such as savannah, mangroves forest and the most interesting sight of stretching marsh ebb. Wasur National Park is suitable for various kinds of activities like bird watching, wild life and nature, adventure, culture and traditional hunting. One other thing strange but interesting is the sporadic designed house which is called termite mounds. It arises to the universe fascinatingly as if the earth flowered huge sponges. There are 74 kinds of bird from 390 species are never found elsewhere in the world. It is so comfortable whenever we watch them hopping and flying among trees and branches, looking for food with their gentle voices like ‘aeolin harp’, as if we were asked to stop and questioned: “where is the melody from”. These are the voices of birds in their own characteristics, which are rare but very attractive. There are 3 ethnic groups inhabit this area. They are Marind, Ranum and Murori, each with their own language and culture. A great number of them live in 13 villages and earning their live by gardening and hunting.
Lampu Satu Beach
It is well known with its solid soft sand that stretches lenghthwise directly across the Pacific Ocean. This beach is very beautiful especially during the sunset. It is very suitable for bird watching, horse racing and motor cycle racing. The distance from Merauke town is 5 km and reachable by vehicles.