Fighting for ecological justice

Recognition of Indigenous Women’s Knowledge on International Day of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations (UN) highlights the role of women in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge by adopting it as the theme for the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. However, the term “traditional knowledge” contains problems.

“Not traditional knowledge… Indigenous women’s knowledge,” said Olvi Octavianita Tumbelaka, Campaigner for Kaoem Telapak.

Olvy, also part of the indigenous peoples of Benuaq, said the word “traditional” was politically inappropriate. “In the context of the Indonesian language, the meaning of the word “traditional” is random,” She said.

Olvy Octavianita Tumbelaka, Kaoem Telapak Campaigner

Olvy believes Indigenous Women’s knowledge is more powerful than people imagine. “This is a political statement about how they often marginalize indigenous women’s knowledge. As a result, women’s contribution to managing their ancestral land rights so that it can be sustainable vanish,” She said.

Furthermore, Olvy explained that the impact of this denial of women’s experiences had quite profound effects. “In decision-making on ancestral areas, they do not include women, even though the women have managed the ancestral lands to be sustainable,” She said.

Through the 1974 Marriage Law, they massively squeezed Indigenous Women’s position. In the regulation, the state narrates that the head of the family is a man. People will see this regulation’s impact on converting ancestral land into plantation estates. “When a husband, father, or son becomes the head of the family … if there are deals with the company, they do not include the voices from women,” said Olvy.

For Olvy, indigenous women must speak up and ensure the recognition of Indigenous Women’s rights in the Indigenous Peoples community, from the village to the international level. “In terms of indigenous peoples communities, land management is our right, admit it,” said Olvy.

Two Indigenous Women of Gisim Village, Sorong Regency, Papua Barat Province
Photographer : Andi Lekto

23 Desember 1994, Majelis Umum PBB menerbitkan Resolusi 49/214, yang isinya menetapkan hari peringatan untuk kelompok masyarakat adat secara internasional pada tanggal 9 Agustus. Penetapan tanggal itu berdasarkan pada hari pertama pertemuan kelompok kerja masyarakat adat pada Subkomisi Promosi dan Perlindungan Hak Asasi Manusia pada tahun 1982.


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