Kei Islands (or Kei) in Indonesia is located in the southeastern part of the Maluku Islands, part of Maluku province. Locals call these islands as Nuhu Evav (“Evav Islands”) or Evav Land (“Evav State”), but it knows as Kei or Kai by the residents’ outer islands. “Kai” is actually the title of the colonial Dutch East Indies, and it is still written in old sources book. The archipelago is located in the south of the Bird’s Head Peninsula of Irian Jaya, west of the Aru Islands, and in the northeastern Tanimbar Islands.
Kai archipelago consisting of several islands, which are Kei Besar or Nuhu Yuut or Nusteen, Small Kei or Nuhu Roa or Nusyanat, Tanimbar Kei or Tnebar Evav, Kei Dulah or Du, Dulah Sea or Du Roa, Kuur, Taam, Tayandu or Tahayad.
Tom Goodman with Duyikan expedition team from the University of Hawaii was one of the few foreign scientists who examined ancient cave Ohoidertavun that located at an altitude of about 15 meters above sea level in the small Kei. In the vicinity of this ancient cave, there is stone wall that been discovered along 200 meters of the engraved beautifully with a variety of drawings and paintings / ancient writings. The ancient paintings that lined the walls of the cave Ohoidertavun describe diverse society in the past in relation to the surrounding nature like the sun, moon, and stars, as well as boats for transportation, living fauna and flora, even painting the mask.
At the site also depicted the happy dance painting as an expression of gratitude, which was focused more on the religious life. The existence of the painting on the wall of the Ohoidertavun cave, it actually express the high culture of Indonesia on thousands of years ago which has similar specifications to paintings of Papuans and Australia indigenous.
The Kei Islanders have almost no written history. Instead they have a Tom-Tad, the oral stories of the objects along with certain legacy as guarantor of the genuine history. Most of the fairy tale is spiced by symbols, but it generally believed by the local inhabitants.
There are three Austronesian family languages that spoken in the Kai Islands; Language Kei (Veveu Evav) is the most widely used, Language Banda (Veveu Wadan) that used in the village of Banda Eli (Wadan El) and Banda-Elat (Wadan Elat) in the West and Northeast Kei Besar Island. Kei language does not have its own writing system. The Dutch catholic missionary language writes the words Kai with a form of variations in the Roman alphabet.
Kei Islands is given by productive and abundant reefs, and it surrounded by the sea. Like most people of Maluku, the livelihood of the Kei is a combination of the activities of planting, hunting, and fishing in the waters around the coast. Moreover, the tradition and genuine culture in Kei is still be done until present time. By those traditions, it makes Kai becomes the most genuine tribe of the island in Indonesia.
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