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How Many are Indigenous West Papuans Today?

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An interesting conversation took place in the Whatsapp group Spirit of Papua. This discussion talks about Indigenous Papuan (Orang Papua Asli or OAP). In the forum, Dr. Socrates Yoman had asked, “How many indigenous Papuans are there now?”

After that, questions and other interesting statements appear in the discussion. What is the fate of Papuans living in Papua in this Republic? Is there a right strategy to change, empower, and uplift the plight of Papuans in their motherland?

How do Papuans live in the midst of rapid social change? On one side, Papuans still survive in balabu houses, in honai (traditional Papuan dwellings), and on trees. On the other hand, the flow of globalization along with the advancement of information technology and social evolution is changing intensively and full of competition.

In the midst of a situation that is no longer stagnant, how do Papuans respond to this change? How do countries place Papuans in the context of development, nationality, and statehood? How also did Papuans in the process of managing asymmetric autonomy supposedly end in 2022? Some people call Papuans dead above the abundance of their natural resources. What is the fate of Papuans in the Republic of Indonesia?

We can write more questions about Papuans according to each interpretation. However, when talking about Papuans, answering Dr. Socrates Yoman’s question regarding the current Papuans population is essential.

According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, the population in Papua Province in 2014 was 3,091,047 people. Jayapura has 272,544 inhabitants, Merauke has 213,484 inhabitants, Jayawijaya has 203,085 people, while the smallest community is owned by Supiori as many as 17,288 people.

Of these 3 million people, what is the number of Papuans? This census is necessary because it is related to the empowerment strategy of Papuans in the context of Special Autonomy.

The Regional Government of Papua in 2013 conducted a particular survey on Indigenous Papuans in Figures (Papua Original Population Profiles) using 2010 baseline data. In 2010, there was a total population of 2,780,144 people. The total population consists of Papuans 2,121,436 people and non-Papuans 658,708 people.

The population distribution of Papuans is concentrated in the Central Highlands region (96%). After that, Papuans can be found in swamp plains such as Mamberamo, Mappi, and Asmat. Non-Papuans are spread in Jayapura Kota, Merauke, Keerom, Mimika, Nabire.

What is the composition of Papuans and non-Papuans in each district/city?

From the data above, we can see that the number of non-Papuans is greater than Papuans in Jayapura Kota, Merauke, Nabire, Mimika, and Keerom while the ratio of Papuans and non-Papuans in Jayapura is almost balanced.

Using these population data as a basis, we can review regional development strategies. The strategy in question can be in the form of development according to customary, tribal, and clan territories. Ethnic-oriented development or community-based development covering the fields of education, health, and livelihoods of Papuans.

The distribution of Papuans population can be seen from the shift in political demographics. This shift will then influence local political contestation, social relations between ethnicity, ethnicity, and religion.

The data can also be used later in determining the Special Autonomy and Affirmative Policy funds for Papuans. The use of this data will help the government, development, political recruitment, ideas of local political parties, or other needs.

In the future, there will be a classic question for all of us, namely, what is the definition of the Indigenous Papuan in the present and future context amid the social change in Papua? Do people who have Papuans father and mother? Is it just Papuans father? Is it just Papuans mother? Is it from grandparents? What about non-Papuans who have lived in Papua from generation to generation that they don’t have a connection with their villages in Java, Sulawesi, Maluku or Sumatra? Are there other definitions beyond the definition of Papuans in the Opening of Law No. 21/2001?

It seems we need to make a new social interpretation of the definition of Indigenous Papuan for now and in the future.

Source:
Wanggai, Velix V. (June 21, 2017). Berapa Jumlah Orang Papua Asli? Retrieved from Portal Indonesia News: http://www.portalindonesianews .com/posts/view/2806/berapa_jumlah_orang_papua_asli, 2018.

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