A society connected to nature
The Mentawai people, also called flower-Men, live on a small archipelago located in the Indian Ocean off Sumatra. The largest of those islands, Pulau Siberut, count forty thousand people and five thousand of them live isolated in the heart of the forest. Indeed, part of this people continues to live in almost self-sufficiency in connection with the nature that surrounds them.
Even if acculturation is no longer forced as under the Soeharto dictatorship (1970-1998), assimilation to Indonesian culture continues more insidiously. Houses are offered to families living in the most remote villages, the school propagates a nationalist discourse and religion is " mandatory". Despite this, the millennial rites persist. Let’s go to the remote villages of Ugai and Attabai, in the centre of the island, to meet the daily life of these families connected to the spirits of the forest and celebrated by the shamans.
+ photographs of Mentawai - Full text available on request.