Dani people or Ndani, are the indigenous people who live in central highlands of western New Guinea, Wamena, Papua province. Other similar tribe who living around are Yali and Lani people. Yali tribe is one of the tribes who inhabited the southern part, between the border of Wamena and Merauke, while the Lani tribe inhabiting the western part of the Dani tribe. All three tribes have their own characteristics in terms of culture, customs, and language.
The existence of Dani people was first discovered in 1938 by American guy, Richard Archold that notice for something special between the area and the indigenous. Dani People are live in Baliem Valey, and the area is the most fertile part of the highland covering the west of the New Guinea Island, Papua. Baliem Valley lies about 1800 m above the sea level, and it is surrounded by a crest of mountians some of which reach up to 4500 m. There are even some fish in the Baliem River which flows through the valley.
After the entrance of civilization into Wamena, the influence of European Missionaries made this area become the base Protestant mission in Hetegima Wamena, in 1955. After the Dutch build Wamena city, Catholic religion was become entrance the societies.
The appearance of Dani people are more or less similar with Asmat people or other tribe who inhabit Papua Island, the men wore Koteka or such a cover for their penis which made by yellow kunden. While the women wore the clothes made by grass and live in Honai-honai, which is a huts with thatch or reeds.
Even they are hold Catholic religion, Dani people are still held their ceremonial tradition that live among their ancient heritage. Dani people are more likely to be called as Parim people. Dani people have great respect for their ancestors. This reverence usually done through the ceremony the party pig.
Before holding Catholic religion, the early concept of their believe was called as Atou, which is the concept of the power of the ancestors that inherited patrilineally or to the men heir. Those powers are include of, strength to maintain the garden, the power to heal illness and refused reinforcements and enrich the soil strength.
Moreover, in order to give respect to the ancestors, Dani people create a symbol that celled as Kaneka. Also, they have Kaneka Hagasir, which is the religion ceremonial to enrich the family and the ceremony to start and to ended the war.
In Dani’s culture, yams and pigs are the most important thing within their society. Yam is being used to be a bartering tool and become important thing for dowries. Likewise the pig, is playing the important role for some ceremonies. Another thing which brought fame to the Dani tribe are the several hundred years old ”smoked” mummies of famous tribesmen.
Overall, the Baliem and The Dani is the magnificent themselves