mentawai tribe aga szydlik
Misty Rainforest

Mentawai tribe inhabit the small island of Siberut, located off the Sumatran coast. Mentawai culture is considered to be one of the oldest among indigenous Indonesian societies.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
Salomon- Mentawai tribe elder and a Shaman

After getting necessary provisions in Muara Siberut, we started crossing the jungles and rivers to get into the heart of Mentawai settlements. The Mentawai tribe consists of around 64,000 members and is known for their distinctive body art and practice of sharpening their teeth, which they believe makes them more attractive.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
River crossing

December is a wet season in Indonesia and our trek was accompanied by heavy monsoon rain, in between villages we took breaks from a torrential downpour to secure camera gear before walking back into a rain.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
Wrapping the gear before walking into the storm
mentawai tribe aga szydlik
On the path of Adventure

Rain-swollen river got too deep for the comfort of our shaman and he got a bit of help during the crossing.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
When the river is too deep for a Shaman

 The main subsistence of the Mentawai is farming, together the members of the tribe raise pigs and harvest fruit, sago palm, yam, taro, rice, banana, papaya, sugar cane, vegetable, and various medicaments.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

 Kelelawar goreng, a fried bat, is a true local delicacy…. an honest attempt was given.

Mentawai mostly live in small settlements along the river banks, commuting back and forth using a dugout canoe.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

After gaining independence, the Indonesian government launched a campaign to modernize the Mentawaians. Traditional cultural practices such as shamanism, tattooing, tooth filing, and the wearing of loincloths were forbidden.  Several Mentawai clans retreated into the remote interior of Siberut to escape the modernization in an attempt to retain their original culture.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

Behind the scenes

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

If by any chance I have omitted your website as the source of reference, please accept my apologies and please email me, so I’m able to make necessary corrections, after all, I’m just a human…….. 

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