Offbeat

By Laura Dale


A man visited the Indonesian ‘Dani’ Tribe to unearth their ways of life – including woman cutting off their fingers to symbolise a family member’s death.

 Markus Roth / Caters News

Markus Roth, spent one week with the Dani Tribe from Baliem Valley, Highlands of West Papau, Indonesia, to document what life is like for the community.

While discovering their cuisine, basic life skills and rituals, Markus also witnessed their ‘pig festival’ – where the tribe killed a pig and proudly showed it off.

Alongside this, the females of the tribe are expected to cut off a finger for a family member that died.

Markus Roth / Caters News: A member of the Dani Tribe with Kurulu, the scared mummy

Markus, from Pulheim, Germany, said: “One of the amazing things was the mummy of Kurulu, which is said to be at least 370 years old.

“It is of a particularly successful and feared warrior, preserved in the men’s house in the village and shown to visitors with a great deal of pride.

Markus Roth / Caters News: Two men of the Dani Tribe with a pig they hunted and caught. 

“I was told the warrior was adorned with one necklace for each enemy killed and the Danis commonly preserve their most successful warriors.

“How close these people live with mother earth and how they try to resist all the modern things we have stood out to me.

 Markus Roth / Caters News: A portrait of a male member of the Dani Tribe

“They plant all they need and trade things with other villages. They still cook with fire and live separated in women and men houses.

“The story with the cut off fingers – the tradition was that the women would cut off a finger for a family member that died.

“They celebrated a pig festival for me – pigs are very expensive and the most valuable thing the village has to offer.

Markus Roth / Caters News 

“I think it would be pretty unfair if a westerner would describe these people as primitive – these people were just discovered in 1938 by pure coincidence.

 Markus Roth / Caters News

“It was an amazing experience interacting with them – they are shy, curious, wild and at the same time – very warm hearted.”