Amung people

The Amung (also known as Amungme, Amungm, Amui, Amuy, Hamung or Uhunduni) people are a group of about 17,700 people living in the highlands of the Central Papua province of Indonesia. Most Amungme live in Mimika and Puncak, in valleys like Noema, Tsinga, Hoeya, Bella, Alama, Aroanop, and Wa. A related group live in Beoga Valley, Puncak and they are called Damal people.[2]

Amung people
Amungme / Amuy people / Amui people / Hamung people / Uhunduni people
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Indonesia (Central Papua)
Amung language, Indonesian language
Christianity (predominantly), Animism
Related ethnic groups
Asmat people, Bauzi people, Dani people, Damal people

Their language is called Amung-kal spoken mostly in the southern regions. While in the north it is called Damal-kal. Additionally they have symbolic languages called Aro-a-kal and Tebo-a-kal. Tebo-a-kal are only spoken in sacred areas.[2]

The traditional beliefs of the Amungme people are animistic. The Amungme people did not have the idea of "gods" that are separate from nature where spirits and nature are one and the same.[3] They see themselves as the eldest child of God Nagawan Into, hence conqueror and ruler of the world Amungsa.[2]

They practice shifting agriculture, supplementing their livelihood by hunting and gathering. The Amungme are very tied to their ancestral land and consider the surrounding mountains to be sacred.

This has led to friction with the Indonesian government and Freeport-McMoRan, which is eager to exploit the vast mineral deposits contained there. Major changes in the Amungme of the highlands and Kamoro of the lowlands lifestyle have been brought about by the Grasberg mine, situated in the heart of Amungme territory and owned by Freeport-McMoRan, the region's largest single employer. Extensive gold and copper mining have altered the landscape, and the presence of the mine and its infrastructure has attracted numerous other economic migrants from regions in Indonesia including other Papuans, some of whom have tried to settle on traditional Amungme lands. This has caused land dispute regarding customary land rights between the Amungme people against Freeport mining company in Timika.[4] In the last 35 years, the Amungme have seen their sacred mountain destroyed by the Freeport mine, and watched as their relatives are killed caught in the conflict of Indonesian soldiers and Free Papua Movement rebels, while the Kamoro have more than 200,000 tons of mining waste pumped into their rivers each day.[5] All these factors have created complex social and political stresses, and led to somewhat frequent protests and/or social conflicts, some of which have been violently suppressed by the Indonesian police or military.[6]

See also


  1. "Amung in Indonesia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  2. "Papua - PDF". Scribd. 2021-08-05. Retrieved 2022-10-25.
  3. Craig A. James (2010). The Religion Virus. John Hunt Publishing. ISBN 978-1-8469-4272-3.
  4. August Kafiar; Tom Beanal (2000). PT. Freeport Indonesia Dan Masyarakat Adat Suku Amungme. Forum Lorentz.
  5. Jeremy Seabrook (2004). Consuming Cultures: Globalization And Local Lives. New Internationalist. ISBN 1-9044-5608-1.
  6. Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University; United Nations. Global Compact Office, Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, United Nations. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008). Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide. United Nations Publications. ISBN 978-0-9752-4425-8.
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