Yali people, is the other Papuan tribe who inhabited the southern part of the border Wamena and Merauke. Their major towns for living are Angguruk and Kosarek, and which are isolated by challenging geography. The major access to their territory is by air. Their territory is known collectively as Yalim. The Yali speak a language that is similar to that of the Dani, although it has distinct differences. The language is in the Ngalik-Nduga subfamily. Since it is more difficult to get there, the Yali are much less visited than the Dani.
This tribe has similar way of life like Dani Tribe, but people tend to be “shorter”. The Yali tribesmen wear their “koteka”, the penis gourd, straight to front instead of straight up like the Dani do.
Yali tribe make their homes in the highlands. The Yali people live in the Jayawijaya mountain range of Irian Jaya. This is stunning rugged terrain, with rivers carving narrow gorges and steep-sided valleys. As a result of the spectacular and mountainous landscape, the Yali People did not come into contact with the modern world until the 1960’s and 70’s when the missionaries began penetrating these remote regions.
Like many isolated peoples, the Yali have maintained a fascinating and wonderful lifestyle that is sure to capture the imagination of even the most seasoned of travelers. The Yali are a subsistence people, they hunting from the surrounding rainforests, harvesting sweet potato and other crops around their homeland. The Yali also raise pigs, which have a central function in religious and communal life. As we know before, that pig, more or less become the important cattle for the community in much tribe in Indonesia.
The Yali people live in wooden huts with roofs made of tree-bark or palm leaves, which are grouped into small villages. Women and men live separately. Women have their own houses, and men live in community houses (honai). The Yalis are categorized as dwarf people, the mature man in not taller than 150cm. But, for sure, they are very respected by their enemies.
Papuan Yali tribe belonged to the most dreaded cannibals of the western part of the New Guinea Island. The only reason the Yalis to be the dreaded tribe is because they are really destroying their enemies. They eat their enemies and they grind their enemies bone into dust and throwing away to the valley. This to avoid the enemies’s family get revenge to them.
Characteristically, like any other Papuan tribe, The Yali is similar to The Dani or The Asmat. The men wear traditional big “rattan” skirts and kotekas. The skirts are composed of large number of separate approximately 5 mm wide strips of rattan, which are coiled around the body like a tire. These “tires” are connected on several places. The result is a kind of skirt. This skirt covers the body of Yalis from breasts down to knees. The front of this skirt is supported by a koteka, a “penis tube” made of wooden fruit of a bottle plant.
Yali women wear traditional small and short skirts made of grass. Their breasts are left bare, similarly as in the rest of Papuan tribes. The skirts merely cover their genitals. They consist of two parts, the front one and the rear one. A small string encircles their waists, and the rear part of the skirt is usually worn beneath their butts. A part of their dress is also a bag woven from threads made of orchid fibers. The bag, whether full or empty, it covers the women’s back and butt. Often it ends down at their knees. The skirt consists of four layers. The first layer is given to girls, when they reach approximately four years of age. One layer is added every four years. As soon as the number of layers reaches four, it means that the girl is mature and she can marry.