Meet the Alfur people

Written by AWI. Posted in Hotels Update

Meet the Alfur people

A traditional people of Sulawesi and the Maluku islands.

In the olden days and during the time of the Portuguese seaborne empire the Alfur, (also known as Alfurs, Alfuros, Alfures, Alifuru or Alfoeren) was used to describe the non-Muslim and non-Christian peoples living in inaccessible areas of the interior in the eastern part South East Asia.

The term also referred to certain lands and their inhabitants that were considered "wild", "untamed" or "pagan", and described the peoples in the Maluku islands (Halmahera, Seram, and Buru among others) and nearby areas of northern and central Sulawesi. Until the 1900s even Papuans were also often called "Alfur".

Shortly after the turn of the 20th century the term “Alfur” practically disappeared from Dutch administrative and academic writings.

Today, following increased awareness and respect for indigenous peoples and their ways the term “Alfur” is used without derogatory meaning. In present-day publications like guidebooks "Alfur" is included as a generic name for the indigenous people living in forest areas of the larger islands of the Maluku.

Known in the old days for headhunting, the Alfur abandoned this custom in the 1940s. However, they maintain the way of life of their ancestors adhering to their traditional self-sufficient ways in matters of social organisation, food, and dress. The women often wear a characteristic funnel-shaped basket like a backpack. They usually have little contact with the more urbanised society of the coastal towns, which includes the transmigrasi settlers.

Source: Wikipedia

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