The Mentawai live in the traditional dwelling called UMA which is a longhouse and is made by weaving bamboo strips together to make walls and thatching the roofs with grass, the floor is raised on stilts and is made of wood planks. The traditional clothing for men is a loin cloth and they are adorned with necklaces and flowers in their hair and ears. Women wear the same thing except they wear a piece of cloth wound around the waist. Women wear small sleeveless vests and they sharpen their teeth (indicating that they were grown). Tattooing is done with a needle and wood which is hammered on the needle.

Men hunt wild pigs, deer and primates. Women and children gather wild yams and other wild food. Small animals are hunted by women. The Mentawai keep pigs, dogs,monkeys and sometimes chickens as pets. Mentawai have their own language which belongs to the Austronesian language family


For thousands of years, life on the Mentawai Islands evolved in relative isolation from the rest of the world. Many unique plant and animals species are found there. In similar fashion, the culture of the Mentawai people developed with little influence from the outside world. Lacking trade connections with people living in other areas, the Mentawai people had to rely on the resources available in their local environment to meet their basic needs and provide the basis for development of unique cultural patterns of belief and behavior. The Mentawai population is estimated to be about 86,500. The people are characterized by their heavy spirituality, Food staples of the Siberut is sago (Metroxylon sago), banana and taro. Other foods such as fruits, honey and mixed mushrooms from the forest or planted in the fields. Protein sources such as deer, monkeys and birds obtained by using the arrows to hunt and fish fished from pond or river.

umaThe Mentawai Peoples believe that all things, men, plants and animals are supposed to have spirits or soul and it’s call SIMAGRE…