Amungme

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The Amungme are a group of about 13,000 people living in the highlands of the Papua province of Indonesia.

They practice shifting agriculture, supplementing their livelihood by hunting and gathering. The Amungme are very tied to their ancestral land and consider the surrounding mountains to be sacred.

This has led to friction with the Indonesian government, which is eager to exploit the vast mineral deposits contained there. Major changes in the Amungme lifestyle have been brought about by the Grasberg mine, situated in the heart of Amungme territory and owned by Freeport-McMoRan, the region's largest single employer. Extensive gold and copper mining have altered the landscape, and the presence of the mine and its infrastructure has attracted numerous other economic migrants from western Indonesia as well as other Papuans, some of whom have tried to settle on traditional Amungme lands. All these factors have created in complex social and political stresses, and led to somewhat frequent protests and/or social conflicts, some of which have been violently suppressed by the Indonesian police or military.

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