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Mentawai: Rainforest Guardians




2017 - Now


Siberut island, Indonesia


Jatenipat Ketpradit (JKBoy)

Deeper within one Siberut island rainforest, there is one spot that has not been altered by the passage of time. For almost 1,000 years, Mentawai aborigines have resided in this forest. They still believe in nature and revere spirits. They are skilled at tattooing the body with natural ink.

Mentawais converse with natural spirits through shaman. The skulls are used in rituals and placed on the home to fend off the devil. These people live in a manner reminiscent of ancient times, with no electricity and a strong relationship with nature. They sharpen their teeth and hunt the animals with poisoned arrows, a fantastic weapon that can rapidly slaughter the giant wild boar.

A long time ago, there was a dispute with another tribe. They would sharpen their teeth like crocodiles, tattoo the number of foes they kill on their bodies, and consume their enemies' bodies to keep morale high. Following Indonesia's independence in 1950, the government launched a campaign to organize the islands' aborigines in order to decrease brutality and civilize the metropolis. As a result, Mentawai culture has been significantly influenced.

Sharpening their teeth, tattooing the number of victims they murder, and being naked are all illegal in Indonesia.

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