Indigenous Peoples

Down to Earth No 43, November 1999

After many years of peaceful process and unsuccessful negotiations, Dayaks communities in Central Kalimantan have moved back on to their traditional mining sites. This direct action was taken as a last resort to defend rights consistently denied by the Indonesian government and by the mining company which took over their lands.

Down to Earth No 43, November 1999

AMAN, the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago, was created as a result of the Indigenous Congress held in Jakarta in March. Since then, this first national indigenous peoples' organisation has begun to make its presence felt in a number of ways.

Regional meetings of AMAN have been held in several places between July and September.

Down to Earth No 43, November 1999


The push for an independent West Papua is gaining strength: mass protests met the government's decision to split the territory into three provinces and the vote in East Timor fuelled demands for independence.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

The 1999 Congress was the result of a three year period of planning and organising involving indigenous peoples' groups and local and national NGOs which had supported indigenous communities' fight for their rights over a number of years.

By the mid-1990s there were an increasing number of opportunities for indigenous peoples to express their own views at

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

The indigeous coastal communities of Aceh have a well-developed traditional system to manage and protect their coastal and marine resources. Strong traditional institutions control access to fishing rights. The head bears the title of Phang Laot or 'Admiral'.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

As over 200 participants of the first Indigenous People's Congress in Indonesia prepared to leave Jakarta, they were asked to express their thoughts on the event. The response was overwhelmingly positive, despite certain reservations. These are some of their opinions.

"I feel honoured to have taken part in the Congress. "
Agustina K.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

At the Congress, delegates drew up work plans for AMAN based on priorities identified in earlier discussions. Their draft programme was presented in a plenary session and the following plan of action agreed. As five sub-groups had worked independently there is some overlap between sections.