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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Studies

Li, Tanya M. 2001. Masyarakat Adat, Difference, and the Limits of Recognition in Indonesia's Forest Zone. Modern Asian Studies, no. 35(3):645-676. 

Abstract:We will not recognize the Nation, if the Nation does not recognize us’ This statement was made by AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara), the Alliance of Indigenous People of the Archipelago, at their inaugural congress in Jakarta, March 1999. The congress was organized by a consortium of Jakarta-based NGOs, and funded by international donors (USAID, CUSO, and OXFAM among others). Building upon a process of mobilization that began with the International Year of Indigenous People in 1993, the Congress marked the formal entry of masyarakat adat (literally, people who adhere to customary ways) as one of several groups staking claims and seeking to redefine its place in the Indonesian nation as the political scene opened up after Suharto's long and repressive rule. AMAN and its supporters assert cultural distinctiveness as the grounds for securing rights to territories and resources threatened by forestry, plantation and mining interests backed by police and military intimidation. Their attempt to place the problems of masyarakat adat on the political agenda has been remarkably successful. While seven years ago the head of the national land agency declared that the category masyarakat adat, which had some significance in colonial law, was defunct or withering away (Kisbandono 18/02/93), the term now appears ever more frequently in the discourse of activists, parliamentarians, media, and government officials dealing with forest and land issues.

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