by Senaman
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Indonesia is a country with thousands of islands, and the distance between one island and another does not separate the Nusantara archipelago in the Ring of Fire region. One of the famous tribes is the Asmat Tribe. The Asmat Tribe is located in the Papua Province, and the culture they possess is still firmly held and maintained by the local community. The name Asmat has been known since 1904 when a ship was wrecked in a bay in the Asmat region, and to everyone’s surprise, hundreds of dark-skinned men with white, black, and red ornaments on their entire bodies appeared. It was discovered that James Cook had been stranded in 1770. – Asmat Culture

On October 10, 1904, the SS Flamingo ship was pulled over in a western coastal bay in Irian Jaya (Papua). The same thing happened again, and the ship that had just been pulled over was approached by hundreds of long-boat paddlers, a similar event that happened to James Cook. – Asmat Culture

However, unlike what happened in 1770, they communicated with the passengers of the SS Flamingo. Due to language differences, the crew of the SS Flamingo and the Asmat people communicated using sign language and conducted transactions through trade. – Asmat Culture

This interaction eventually opened the Asmat people to the outside world. Many people came to the area that would later be known as the Asmat region. The Asmat people, who were previously semi-nomadic, went out of their region and fought with the settlers who came to their area.

The name Asmat is now known as a region in the Papua Province, specifically Asmat Regency. Initially, the Asmat Regency was part of the Merauke Regency, consisting of the Atjs Subdistrict, Sawa Erma, Agats, Ayam, and Pantai Kasuari. It is known that Kabupaten Asmat consists of ten districts, namely Atjs, Agats, Akat, Fayit, Pantai Kasuari, Suator, Kolf Brasa, Sawa Erma, Suru-Suru, and Unir Sirau.

The population of the Asmat people is the largest in Papua. Therefore, the Asmat people do not live in one place but are scattered throughout Papua, including the coastal areas and mountains.

The Asmat people have a unique art that was previously used only as a decoration for traditional ceremonies. The Asmat people have a staple food that differs from the Papua highlands people, who prefer root crops as daily food, while the Asmat people prefer sago as their staple food, which is different from the highlands Papua people.

The Asmat people are very dependent on forest resources. From choosing sago as a staple food, wood and iron as building materials for their houses and boats, and the media they use to make weapons as an art and culture.

The transaction between the passengers of the SS Flamingo and the Asmat people may make you wonder, what language did the indigenous Asmat people use?

Bahasa Asmat Sawa :

Bahasa Asmat Sawa is one of the languages used by the people of Sawa Village, the Sawaerma District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province. The local people acknowledge that the territory of the Asmat Sawa language is the boundary with the Asmat Tomor dialect to the east, Asmat Yamas to the west, and Asmat Buagani to the north of Sawa Village. While to the south of Sawa Village, the people also use the Asmat Sawa language.

Bahasa Asmat Bets Mbup :

In addition to Bahasa Asmat Sawa, there is Bahasa Asmat Bets Mbup, which consists of three dialects, namely the Asmat Bets Mbup dialect, the Asmat Bismam dialect, and the Asmat Simay dialect. The percentage of difference between these dialects is between 51% and 80%.

The Asmat Bets Mbup dialect is commonly used by the people of Atsi Village, the Atsi District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province. In addition to the village there, the Asmat Bets Mbup dialect is also used by the people of Biwar Laut Village, Yasiu, Amanam Kay, You, and Omanasep. The Asmat Bismam dialect is used by the people of Bismam-ewer Village, the Agats District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province.

Other regions that use the Asmat Bismam dialect include Suru Village, Yepem, Peer, Us, and Beriten. While the Simay dialect is used by the people of Kampung Amborep, the Akat District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province. In addition, the people of Warse Village, Paung, Sakam, and Ayam also use the Simay dialect.


Bahasa Asmat Safan :

Bahasa Asmat Safan, commonly known as the Asmat Coastal dialect, is used by the Asmat Safan ethnic group in Aworket Village, the Safan District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province. The language with this dialect is used by the people who live in the eastern part, which is Emene Village, in the western part, Primapun Village, and in the southern part, Kayarin Village, all of which also use the Asmat Safan dialect. While in the north, Aworket VIllage is used by the Saman Village dialect.

Bahasa Asmat Sirat :

Bahasa Asmat Sirat is used by the people of Yaosakor Village, the Sirets District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province. The usage of this language has also spread to Awok Village, Kaimo, Pos, Waganu I, Waganu II, Jinak, Pepera, and Karpis. In the east, in Amborep Village, the Simay dialect is used. In the west, in Biwar Laut Village, people there are using the Bets Mbup dialect. In the north of Yaosakor Village, which is Kaimo Village, the Asmat Sirat dialect is still used.

Bahasa Asmat Unir Sirau :

Bahasa Asmat Unir Sirau is used by the people of Paar Village, the Unir Sirau District, Asmat Regency, Papua Province. The language is also used by the people of Komor Village, Birip, Amor, Warer, Munu, Abamu, Tomor, Sagapo, Tii, Koba, and Jipawer.

That is the short history of the Asmat Tribe and the language that they used. How about that? Are you interested in going there and finding out more about their habit, foods, art, culture, and also the beauty of Papua Island?

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