Photos emerge of cannibal tribe in Indonesia that have no contact with the outside world
With boats, planes, drones, and the gift of curiosity, human beings have stretched to many corners of the globe, and have even made the first tentative steps into outer space.
From Mauritius all the way to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, we've managed to explore so much in such a relatively short time, and it's safe to say that when it comes to land mass, there are few places that are still left undiscovered. Having evolved over thousands of years and having brought those modern ideas to every society we come across, it's a jarring experience to witness a culture entirely exempt from Westernisation.
As the Korowai Tribe Papua Indonesia show, however, such an idea isn't entirely farfetched. They were discovered in the 70s (with the first encounter recorded in March 1974) by archaeologists and missionaries, not even aware of a world outside their own. Now, photos of the almost untouched tribe have emerged, and it's rather astonishing to see.
Living in treehouses and consisting of around 3,000 people, the Korowai believed that if they changed their ways, their society would be destroyed by an earthquake from their vengeful god. Their society is so well-located in the dense forests of Indonesia, they can even lose track of other members of society, and census officials conducting a 2010 survey had to walk for two weeks in order to track them down.
They were even visited in 2006 by a team of Australian journalists. Paul Raffaele became the first man to cross the pacification line separating the Korowai from the rest of society. He wanted to understand some of the customs that the concealed Indonesian tribe adopted, and he spoke about why the Korowai were cannibals, eating some of their own dead in a manner unprecedented in our society.
"For the Korowai, if someone falls out of a tree house or is killed in battle then the reason for their death is pretty obvious. But they don't understand microbes and germs (which the rain forests are rife with) so when somebody dies mysteriously to them (of a disease), they believe it is due to a khakhua, a witch man who comes from the netherworld.
A khakhua possesses the body of a man (it can never be a woman) and begins to magically eat their insides, according to logic of the Melanesian imperative you must pay back in kind. They must eat the khakhua as it ate the person who died. It is part of their revenge based justice system."
In the modern society of electronics, roads and skyscrapers, it's sometimes hard to see beyond our modern way of life, and have a look at something simpler. Nestled away in the Indonesian forest, the Korowai tribe are almost completely untouched by our Western customs, and it gives all of us an interesting look into how we might be without the lure of technology.