If we are talking about Melanesia and West Papua, the most frequent question would be about the central or the source of area where the race originally came from. This word currently has become a popular topic. Mostly because of its ties with West Papua. Many people are discussing and debating about the West Papua’s root and its ties that are separated from Indonesia. Is this true?
Melanesia is a part of the Mongoloid race, as written in many history books as well as in general knowledge. Yet new facts have emerged after an archaeologist said that most of the people in Indonesia have Melanesian’s ancestry. Moreover, most of the Melanesian race in the world are found in Indonesia, which is approximately 80% of the population.
Professor Harry Truman Simanjuntak, a senior archeologist from the National Archaeological Research Center, and the co-author of “Diaspora Melanesia in The Archipelago” said that the center of the Melanesian race is divided into three regions. The center of Melanesia have from time to time develops in the archipelago, west Melanesia, and Australia. West Melanesia, especially in the big islands, are scattered in Papua and Papua New Guinea. We have one family, history and culture that still lives on even until today. For example, thousands of years ago, there’s already been interactions between them (when observed from the relics or archaeological evidence). Relics found in Papua New Guinea have spread to Maluku, North Maluku, and the area around it.
According to him, the development of the Melanesian race in Australia had already existed and developed since 50000-60000 years ago. The evidence had been found in Papua around 45,000 years ago. Since the second half of the Upper Pleistocene period, the dynamics of the Melanesian populations have started in the archipelago and the Pacific region. It continued until the end of the ice age period at ca. 12,000 BP caused the sea level rise and expanded the spread of population and geography of dwellings. The new population was classed by experts as the Australomelanesian Race which enriched the culture of the precursors with their cave dwelling patterns, foraging, the use of new equipment, the development of art and the conception of belief system.
Furthermore, the arrival of the Mongoloid race at ca. 4000 BP through the western (South East Asia) and the eastern path (Taiwan) of migration path had resulted in interracial interactions, whether the mixing of cultures and biological. On the other hand, the second meeting of this race makes Australomelanesian population, that is better known as Melanesian, slowly moved to the east of Indonesia.
Until finally, at the time of independence, the two races that inhabit this archipelago was united in the Republic of Indonesia and have created the biological and cultural linkages up to this day. Melanesians in our archipelago, can be traced through the findings which shown the similarities and even, some traditions that have became typical of the archipelago as “nginang” which still survives until today.
Seeing these facts, it is impossible to separate Indonesia as a whole with the Melanesian descendants. Trying to find or root out these heritage would be chopping off a huge block of the Indonesian population. It is only reasonable to say that Melanesians are us, the Indonesians.