Explore the cutting-finger-tradition among Indonesian tribe members
In Dani tribe in Indonesia, when a loved one in the family passes away, their family will express their grief by cutting off one of their fingers.
Cutting off fingers is a cultural trait of Dani tribe in Papua Indonesia which has been passed for many generations.
When one of family member passes away, tribe members will hold a funeral and mourn by cutting off the top half of one of their fingers upon attending a funeral. They will also smear ashes and clay across their faces to show their grief. Victims of this cruel ritual are usually women, especially old women in the tribe.
According to the belief of Dani tribe, if the deceased were a powerful person while living, their soul would be equally powerful. They would linger in the village and sabotage the livings life.
Before amputation, they will tie a string tightly around the finger for 30 minutes, allowing it to go numb. Often it is a close family member—sibling or parent—who cuts the finger. After removal, the open sores are cauterized, both to prevent bleeding and in order to form new-callused fingertips. After that, the removed finger is burned and buried in a special place in the tribe.
Finger cutting is said to be symbolic of the pain suffered after losing a loved one. The one to carry the ritual is often a close family member, sibling or parent. In another “weird” ritual of the tribe, the mothers cut off fingers of their own children so they would live longer.
The Dani is a primitive tribe residing in an extremely remote area of Papua Province. They live in a town named Wamena, located amidst the Cyclops Mountains, the only way for people to access this area is by plane.
The population of the Dani is 250.000 approximately which is one of the crowdest tribes in Papua province. The tribe is also known for hunting heads of their enemy.