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(from Malay papuwa, “the curly-haired”), the name for the greater part of the indigenous population of the island of New Guinea, the islands of northwestern Melanesia, the northern part of Halmahera Island, and the eastern part of Timor Island. The Papuans number more than 3 million (1972 estimate).

Anthropologically, the Papuans belong to the Melanesian race. They speak Papuan languages. The main elements of their religious beliefs are ancestor worship, magic, and totemism. Christianity was introduced in the late 19th century by missionaries, and today the majority of Papuans are formally Christians. The primitive clan system prevailed until recently, and it still prevails in some regions of New Guinea and the islands of northwestern Melanesia.

The economy of the Papuans is based on slash-and-burn farming of tuberous plants, cultivation of palms and fruit trees, hog raising, fishing, and some hunting. Some of the Papuans work on plantations and in enterprises of the mining industry. The Papuan’s life is almost entirely centered around his clan, each clan consisting of several kin groups. There was no private ownership of land before the European colonization, and property and social differentiation had only begun to take shape. The Russian explorer N. N. Miklukho-Maklai made a great contribution to the ethnographic study of the Papuans.


Miklukho-Maklai, N. N. Sobr. soch., vols. 1–5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950–54.
Puchkov, P. I. Formirovanie naseleniia Melanezii. Moscow, 1968.
Butinov, N. A. Papuasy Novoi Gvinei. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
We have had five consecutive discoveries in the Eastern Papuan Basin where we hold a premier license position.
His opening ethnographic vignette (Kirksey 2012:3) is the description of Ester, a young Papuan woman who is taken away at gunpoint to be raped by Indonesian soldiers while her male relatives stand by.
The Papuan activists entered the consulate in the Bali provincial capital of Denpasar early Sunday, but left it several hours later after delivering a letter directed to foreign leaders participating in a two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that began Monday on the resort island.
The people of West Papua express our gratitude to the Indigenous Elders, Kevin Buzzacott, human rights activists, musicians, artists, and others on the Freedom Flotilla who have raised their voices for peace and justice in West Papua," West Papuan activist Awom Eliezer was quoted as saying.
An additional significant and challenging factor is the serious lack of teaching and learning materials that reflect indigenous Papuan realities or build on the local-context in the creation of primary school literacy programs.
Savosavo is the easternmost of the four Papuan languages spoken in the Solomon Islands in the Southwest Pacific, says Wegener (linguistics, U.
The project will focus on improving capacity of the existing stakeholders, including Indigenous Papuan people as target beneficiaries to have an access for a better livelihood through three interconnected components:
Over the past 26 years, Pacific Peoples' Partnership (PPP) has actively engaged in calling attention to West Papua, and working with partners around the world towards realising Papuan visions of a peaceful and prosperous society that is socially just, ecologically and culturally sustainable, and politically and economically empowered.
Australia: Australia categorically rejected Papuan independence Sunday saying it could not lead to a viable nation and would "completely rupture" ties with Indonesia were Canberra to weigh in.
An ineffectual caretaker governor appointed in July 2011 has left the provincial government in limbo, with elections repeatedly postponed as Papuan politicians challenge each other in court.
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Five West Papuan nurses who were arrested and interrogated over a number of days in March 2011 now face criminal charges of incitement and disobedience.