Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Koroway Tribe of West Papua

Source:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news

The Koroway in pictures: tribe living in remote Indonesian forest officially recognised as 'tree-dwellers'


A member of the Koroway tribe stands on a ladder leading to his house
A group of hunter gatherers living in a remote Indonesian forest are thought to have become the first tribe to be officially recognised as tree-dwellers. The Korowai, or Koroway, from Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua, live in tree houses, speak their own tribal language, and live off forest animals and plants
A member of the Koroway tribe stands on a ladder leading to his house



A stone axe gets re-wrapped in rattan. The Koroway say they don't know where the axe stones come from, but ethnologists assume they were quarried in the highlands and then traded down through generations of exchange relationships
 Almost 3,000 members of the nomadic clan, whose people wear only banana leaves, were recorded for the first time in the country's census this year.
A stone axe gets re-wrapped in rattan. The Koroway say they don't know where the axe stones come from, but ethnologists assume they were quarried in the highlands and then traded down through generations of exchange relationships

Aerial view of a recently abandoned tree house. The photographer estimated it to be 50 metres tall
Members of the tribe skilfully climb ladders to their wooden homes often as high as 164ft (50m) from the forest floor where they usually live in a family of up to eight. Homes are built at different heights depending on how well they get on with their fellow tribe members
Aerial view of an abandoned tree house. The photographer estimated it to be 50 metres tall
Picture: GEORGE STEINMETZ / CORBIS
 

A Koroway man carries a juvenile cassowary killed after it was trapped in a snare
The horticultural tribesmen excel at hunting and fishing
A Koroway man carries a juvenile cassowary killed after it was trapped in a snare
 
Koroway arrows, each having a different name, and used for different types of prey. The large barbed arrow in the centre is made from cassowary leg bone and used for killing people. The one to the left of that has a four-pointed tip for fish. The one with the wide blunt tip is used for lizards, and the one with the broad bamboo tip is for wild pigs
Koroway arrows, each having a different name, and used for different types of prey. The large barbed arrow in the centre is made from cassowary leg bone and used for killing people. The one to the left of that has a four-pointed tip for fish. The one with the wide blunt tip is used for lizards, and the one with the broad bamboo tip is for wild pigs
 

A Koroway man carrying a stone axe crosses a flooded area of the forest that has been bridged with a network of rattan-tied poles
Until the late 1970s, when anthropologists embarked on a study of the tribe, the Korowai were unaware of the existence of any peoples other than themselves
A Koroway man carrying a stone axe crosses a flooded area of the forest that has been bridged with a network of rattan-tied poles


A Koroway woman processes pulverised sago palm trunk into the starchy food that is the staple for almost every meal
They have engaged in cannilbalism but anthropologists believe that exposure to the outside world has put an end to this practice in recent years. Korowai people mainly eat wild boar, deer, sago and bananas
A Koroway woman processes pulverised sago palm trunk into the starchy food that is the staple for almost every meal

The grubs are larvae of the Capricorn beetle, and move like someone trying to wiggle out of a sleeping bag. Sago trees are felled four to six weeks before a feast, and left to rot in the swampy forest where they become infested with larvae. When the grubs are at the right stage of development (4-6 weeks later), the trees are opened up and pulled apart with a stone axe or pointed stick. The grubs are a favourite food, and are eaten both raw and cooked. They taste fatty, with a vague nutty taste, like soggy overcooked walnuts. In the protein-deficient world of the Koroway, Sago grubs are one of the few sources of fat
Only a handful of Korowai are thought to be able to read and write. A total of 2,868 of them were interviewed by census workers through missionary translators using sign language. Suntono, the head of Indonesia's statistics agency for Papua, said: "It's as if they're still living in the Stone Age. They don't wear any clothes and they live in trees in the jungles....
The grubs are larvae of the Capricorn beetle, and move like someone trying to wiggle out of a sleeping bag. Sago trees are felled four to six weeks before a feast, and left to rot in the swampy forest where they become infested with larvae. When the grubs are at the right stage of development (4-6 weeks later), the trees are opened up and pulled apart with a stone axe or pointed stick. The grubs are a favourite food, and are eaten both raw and cooked. They taste fatty, with a vague nutty taste, like soggy overcooked walnuts. In the protein-deficient world of the Koroway, Sago grubs are one of the few sources of fat


A man climbs down an ironwood tree after knocking loose a nest of black ants that he uses for fish bait
"...Now that we know who they are, their numbers and characteristics, they won't be isolated anymore. We can ensure they get access to education and health care just like any other Indonesian."
A man climbs down an ironwood tree after knocking loose a nest of black ants that he uses for fish bait


The hosts of a sago grub feast stand in a circle in the foreground, and exchange mock attacks with their guests (not pictured) before entering the feast house
The hosts of a sago grub feast stand in a circle in the foreground, and exchange mock attacks with their guests (not pictured) before entering the feast house
 

Preparation of a lizard for a meal in the forest where it was caught
Preparation of a lizard for a meal in the forest where it was caught 
 

A group of dwellings belonging to a clan comprised of three brothers who live in the same clearing
A group of dwellings belonging to a clan comprised of three brothers who live in the same clearing
 
A man works on the roof of a tree house
A man works on the roof of a tree house
 

Houses belonging to the Koroway tribe stand in a forest near Merauke city in Indonesia's Papua province
Houses belonging to the Koroway tribe stand in a forest near Merauke city in Indonesia's Papua province

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