Peeking at the Habits of the Korowai Tribe, a Owner of the Tallest Tree House in Papua

Korowai are a tribe whose existence was only discovered about 35 years ago in the interior of Papua by the Dutch missionary Johanes Veldhuizen. This tribe inhabits the Kaibar area, Mappi Regency, Papua. Their current population is around 3000 people.

One of the uniqueness of this tribe is that in addition to not using the koteka, the Korowai tribe lives and stays on the high trees, the houses they make are usually located on the branches with a height of 15-50 meters.

The Korowai tribe build houses on trees in order to avoid wild animals and also interference from evil spirits; this tribe is afraid of attacks by “Laleo” or cruel demons.

It is said that Laleo is a creature walking like an undead and roaming at the night. The term Laleo is intended for all foreigners who are not included in their population, even other Papuan people can also be called Laleo. They believe that the higher the house they build, the more protected from evil spirits.

Apart from all these reasons, the Korowai tribe really respects their ancestors. Therefore, they also consider that the high house is a legacy from their ancestors that must be carried out, so that they will still feel comfortable and safe even though they have to struggle to climb a tall tree.

In making this tree house, the Korowai tribe did not carelessly choose trees. They will choose big and sturdy trees to be used as the foundation of their house, then the tops of the trees are cut off and made into their homes.

The Korowai people occupy a forest area about 150 kilometers from the Arafura Sea. They are hunters and gatherers who have survival skills. Until about 1975, the Korowai only knew each other among themselves and had almost no contact with the outside world.

This tribe has a balanced life, wherein they maintain the relationship between humans and nature.

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