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Mentawai

The Siberut Island lies 100 kilometers off the west coast of Sumatra. Its inhabitants, the Mentawai, came here 3000 years ago and developed their own distinct culture and society, preserved from the outside world until after the Second World War. Today, the Indonesian government, bowing to commercial pressures, has introduced transmigrational settlements to the area. Little by little, the forest is being cleared of its precious wood. Many Mentawai groups are already living in government villages. Some clans, each numbering between 20 to 50 individuals, still cling tenaciously to their traditional lifestyle and animistic beliefs. But for how long?