Mimika - Orientation

Identification. The Mimika people are named after the Mimika River in the central district of Irian Jaya Province of Indonesia (formerly Netherlands, or Dutch, New Guinea). "Kamoro" means "living person" as opposed to "ghosts." There is no native name for the area, but as wènata, "real human beings," they contrast themselves with "not-real Persons" such as the adjacent Asmat and Kapauku.

Location. The area is located between 4° and 6° S and 134°59′ to 136° 19′ E, bounded by the Utakwa River in the east and the shores of Etna Bay in the west. The people inhabit the lowlands traversed by some sixty swamp and Mountain rivers and creeks. The southeast monsoons bring rains that last from June to mid-September, but wet and dry seasons are not clearly demarcated.

Demography. A population of approximately 8,600 (1955) lives in about thirty villages. Since 1962, Indonesian migrants have also settled in the area.

linguistic Affiliation. The Kamoro language, of which six to eight dialects have been identified, is a member of the Asmat-Kamoro Family of Non-Austronesian languages.

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