Mentawai Indigenous People, Siberut Island, Sumatra, Indonesia.
The Mentawai people live in the densest remote rainforest of Siberut Island, off the coast of Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Traditional clans on this remote tropical island have long resisted cultural assimilation; their lifestyle has been unchanged for generations The tattoo-covered
sikeireis, or traditional shamans, are knowledgeable herbalists and lead the tribe in the practice of
Jarayak, a form of animism: medicine men, rituals, ceremonies and
taboos still define the Mentawai lifestyle.
These traditional jungle tribes live on flour extracted from the sago palm
tree, supplemented by the gathering of other rainforest harvests. The
men also hunt, using bows and poisonous arrows to kill monkeys; deer;
wild boars and birds, while women fish and cultivate taro root.
The endangered indigenous lifestyle of these Mentawai is one of the best
preserved and most fascinating, yet one of the least known and
For more information on the Mentawai, visit Native Planet,
an NGO that we support.