‘Agrarian Spirituality’ of a Papua Amungme Tribe

goodmorningpapua.com –The Amungme tribe is one of the tribes living in the Papuan highlands. The Amungme tribe has a tradition of the shifting agriculture and hunting. They occupied several broad valleys in Mimika and Puncak Jaya districts between high mountains, namely the Tsinga valley, Hoeya valley, and Noema valley as well as small valleys such as the Bella, Alama, Aroanop, and Wa valleys.

Some of them live in the Beoga valley (called the Damal tribe, after the Dani tribe) as well as the lowlands in Agimuga and the city of Timika. Amungme consists of two words “among” means main and “mee” means human.

According to the legend, it is said that the Amungme people came from the Pagema (Baleim Valley) area of ​​Wamena. This can be traced from the word Kurima, means a place for people to gather and Hitigima, means the place in which the ancestors of the Amungme people first established honey from reeds. The Amungme people have the belief that they are the eldest children of the eldest children of the human race, they live in the north and south of the central mountains which are always covered in snow, which in Amungme language is called Nemangkawi (white arrows).

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The Amungme tribe considers that they are conquerors, rulers and inheritors of the Amungsa realm from the hands of Nagawan Into (God). The Amungme tribe has two languages, namely Amung-kal spoken by the people living in the south and Damal-kal for the tribes living in the north.

The Amungme tribe also has a symbolic language, namely Aro-a-kal. It is a symbol language that is most difficult to understand and communicate, as well as Tebo-a-kal, the language of symbols that is only spoken in a sacred-cinsidered place. In spirituality, the concepts of land, humans and the natural environment have an integral meaning in their daily life. Land is regarded as a figure of a mother who feeds, nurtures, educates and raises from infancy to old age and eventually dies.

Land with the environment as its habitat is regarded as a place for living, gardening, hunting and burying as well as a habitation for spirits and the spirits of ancestors so that there are several land locations such as caves, mountains, waterfalls and graves considered as sacred places. Magaboarat Negel Jombei-Peibei (ancestral land which they highly respect, their source of livelihood), such the Amungme tribe calls their ancestral land in which they live.

Some of the leadership types of the Amungme tribe, are Menagawan, Kalwang, Traditional Councils, Wem-wang, and Wem-mum. To become a leader are not determined by lineage. A leader can come into being naturally by the process of time, and   social situation as well as the ecological environment influencing the traditional leadership behavior at the level of their own culture.

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The first contact with the outside world occurred in 1936 when the Carstensz expedition led by Dr. Colijn cs, through a Catholic mission in 1954 led by Pastor Michael Cammerer assisted by a local resident named Moses Kilangin and the Dutch government, most of the Amungme people were moved to the coastal area, at Akimuga until now. The reason for the displacement was due to the process of spreading religion and the service to the Amungme community was not possible in the mountainous area.

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