Dani - History and Cultural Relations

The western half of the island of New Guinea, where the Dani live, was part of the Netherlands East Indies until 1949. With the independence of the rest of Indonesia, the Dutch held on to Netherlands New Guinea until it was transferred to Indonesia in 1963 via a United Nations Temporary Executive Authority. It is now the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. Even as the Javanese component of the population is being increased through the resettlement program ( Transmigrasi ), a small Free Papua movement continues to demand independence from Indonesia. But neither the new settlements nor the insurgents have had any direct effect on the Dani. No archaeology has been done in the Dani area. Some Dani groups were contacted briefly by expeditions prior to World War II, but the first permanent outside settlements were established by Western Christian missionaries in the 1950s. By 1960, the Dutch government was carrying out its program of pacification and development in the Grand Valley. This has been continued and intensified by the Indonesian government since 1962.

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