With SOUNDPRINT producer Moira Rankin and reporter Vicki Monks, we travel to one of the most inaccessible parts of Indonesia, the mountainous area of Irian Jaya, which shares a peninsula with Papua, New Guinea. Here in Irian, development is forcing some of the most rapid cultural, environmental and social changes occurring in any part of the world. As tribal peoples leave the Stone Age and leapfrog into the 20th century, tourist dollars turn tribal rituals into kitsch. To capitalize on vast natural resources, the government is building roads to connect the interior to the coastline. Thousands of immigrants from Indonesia's other islands are crowding in, hoping for a share of the new economic pie. And in the middle of the development, the government is experimenting with a revolutionary program to engage indigenous peoples in the preservation of their land.
Irian Jaya Tribal Art
Irian Jaya is a very old civilization with carbon dating of remnants found on camp sites suggesting human habitation for the last 25,000 years. It also has some of the most developed and beautiful tribal art in Oceania, some examples of which can be found on this website.
The First and Original Online Library West Papua, Irian Jaya
Politics, history and other information about Irian Jaya/West Papua.
Britannica: Irian Jaya
Encyclopaedia Britannica's article on Irian Jaya.
Find out more about Irian Jaya...
Irian Jaya: The Timeless Domain
by: Julie Campbell 1991
This book is a photographic account of the author's interaction with the people of Irian Jaya.
Irian Jaya under the Gun: Indonesian Economic Development Versus West Papuan Nationalism
by: Jim Elmsie 2002
This book examines the roots of the conflict between West Papua/Irian Jaya community and the Indonesian government and military.