Mentawai culture type is expected to spread throughout Indonesia in the past, but has been influenced by other cultures who come from outside the region such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Until now Mentawai culture is relatively pristine because of the isolation and has not been much influenced by other cultures. The Mentawai Peoples believe that all things, men, plants and animals are supposed to have spirits. Spirit can separate from the body and roaming freely. If the harmony between spirit and body are not maintained, then the spirit will leave and can cause disease. The concept of trust is valid in the daily life of people everyday activities that are inconsistent with customary and beliefs it can disrupt the balance and harmony of spirit in nature.

The Mentawaian are traditionally organized as patrineal groups and the social life centered around the UMA, a communal long house which held a clan of people related through a common ancestor. The UMA vary in size between 30 to 80 members divided in main family units, referred to as LALEP.


Religious ceremony known as punen, puliaijat or lia should be done in conjunction with human activities so as to reduce interference. The ceremony was led by the sikerei who can communicate with the spirit and soul are not visible to ordinary people. Spirit beings who are still living and the dead will be given a presentation that provided by many members of the tribe. Custom house (uma) decorated, pork is served and held dances (turuk) to please the spirit so that they will restore harmony. During the events are held, then the system is taboo or tabu (kekei) must be running and there were also various restrictions on various daily activities.Traditional beliefs and taboos in particular that is the social control of people and regulate forest use are wise and prudent in thousands of years. However, now these cultures fade away. The population grew rapidly and natural resources are exploited without regard to the traditional rules that affect the decline in carrying capacity of the environment which was a focus for the life of the Mentawai people.

In doing hunting, making canoes, penetrated / open land to farm or build a uma then usually performed jointly by all members of the uma and the division of labor is divided over the sexes. Each family in a uma bring food (chicken, sago, etc.) which is then collected and eaten together by all members of the uma after completed the activity / ceremony.

Welcome and visit Mentawai at Siberut , trek to the jungle, learn about the way of life of the Mentawai, bark traditional cloth processing, processing sago and other activities as the Mentawai have one of the earth’s most fascinating and best preserved indigenous cultures. E-mail us for any further info about our Cultural or make your trip!!