Identification. The Kapauku live in the central highlands of western New Guinea, now Irian Jaya. Although they are generally treated as a single cultural group, there are variations in dialect and in social and cultural practice across Kapauku territory. The name "Kapauku" was given them by neighboring groups to the south, and the Moni Papuans, their neighbors to the north, call them "Ekari," but they call themselves "Me," which means "the people."
Location. The Kapauku occupy an ecologically diverse Region of the west-central highlands, between 135°25′ and 137° E and 3°25′ and 4° 10′ S. Most of the region is above 1,500 meters, with three large lakes (Paniai, Tage, and Tigi), and five vegetation zones, including much tropical rain forest. Rainfall is plentiful and the average daily temperature ranges from 20° C to 60° C.
Demography. In the 1960s, the Kapauku population was estimated at about 45,000; today they number about 100,000.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Kapauku language (Ekagi) is classified within the Ekagi-Wodani-Moni Family of Papuan languages.