Indigenous Peoples

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.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

Two indigenous delegates describe the threats to their communities in South Sumatra

Pak Supriyadi was forced to move to Panglero, near the River Semanggis in Musi Rawas district when his village was taken by over by plantations.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

Although only 20 of the 208 Congress delegates were women, this small contingent made a much greater impact than these numbers suggest. Women from Kalimantan, Sumba, Timor, Sulawesi, North Sumatra and and West Papua who had never met before banded together and challenged other participants to recognise their place in indigenous societies and their values, problems and solutions.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

This Special Issue of Down to Earth reports on the first ever Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago, held in Jakarta in March 1999, and the progress of a new alliance of Indigenous Peoples -AMAN- established at that event. It draws largely on Congress materials and statements from AMAN.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

The Indigenous Peoples' Congress was held only a few weeks after one hundred West Papuan representatives came to Jakarta as part of a long-awaited 'National Dialogue' to discuss the future of their homeland. President Habibie offered nothing. So it was not surprising that the Congress' Papuan contingent was in no mood for compromise. They were united in their message: 'Merdeka' - independence.