Mentaweians (Mentaweier, Orang Mantawei, Poggy-Islander) inhabit the Mentawei (Mentawai) Islands (Siberut, Sipura, North Pagai, and Utara Selatan) and the islands of Nias and Enggano off the west coast of Sumatra. In 1966, Mentaweians numbered about 20,000. Their language has not been studied extensively, but it is believed to be related to the other languages of western Indonesia.

The traditional social organization recognized patrilineal clans, clan communities, and centralized clan houses ( urna ). With widespread conversion to Christianity, beginning in the 1950s, these traditional cultural features have largely disappeared. In the past women raised taro (the main crop) and tubers and gathered shellfish and small fish. Men fished and hunted. More recently, the government and missionaries have introduced more permanent agriculture, rice being the major crop.

See also Nias


Nooy-Palm, C. H. M. (1968). "The Culture of the Pagai Islands and Sipora, Mentawei." Tropical Man 1:152-241.

Wallace, Anthony F. C. (1951). "Mentaweian Social Organization." American Anthropologist 53:370-375.

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