Papua (Indonesia) – Primitive Tribes – Today canibals

Kombai-Papua canibals

Kombai man – warrior Photo©JahodaPe­ (Papua guide)

There are now many well-known topics unmistakably linked to Papua – “the island of curly people”: tree people Korowai, Kombai, and the Yali mountain tribe. There is the Wano tribe, which is famous for manufacturing stone axes. It lives in the Jalime area, which lies in the basin of the Mamberamo River. We can’t omit the legendary Dani tribe, and the famous Asmat tribe of cruel cannibals.

Kombai-Papua canibals

Papua Kombai – Papua tree people, Kombai still practice ritual cannibalism Photo©JahodaPe­ (Papua guide)

The Baliem Valley was discovered in 1938, when Richard Archbold spotted it from an airplane. Not earlier than 1954 did the first missionary Lloyd van Stone parachute into the area. In 1961, in an expedition lead by Rokefeller Jr., the son of a New York state governor, disappeared in the mangroves of this area. He and the members of his expedition were never found.

The last cases of cannibalism were only recently recorded. In 1968 two missionaries (Australian Stan Dole and American Phil Masters) were chopped and eaten. During Christmas 1974, four Dutch families were killed and eaten by aborigines in the Jayawijaya Mountains. The last known case was a killing of a priest and his twelve companions. It allegedly happened because they tried to ban the aborigines from hunting for skulls and they burnt their fetishes. This tragic event happened in 1976 almost in the end of the twentieth century. This is a very recent history of the New Guinea Island.

Korowai-Papua cannibals

Korowai tribe – Papua tree people, still in a war with the neighbouring tree people tribe Kombai Photo©JahodaPe­ (Papua guide)

Kombai-papua cannibals

Papua Kombai – Kombai as well as Korowai still practice ritual canibalism in the time of war Photo©JahodaPe­ (Papua guide)