2.6. Integrating Fragmented Earth: A Smooth Transition to Compromise Traditional and Administrative Way in Organizing Land


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Muhammad Damm (Universitas Indonesia)
Feby Hendola (Universitas Pembangunan Jaya)

Abstract

In Austronesia society, the notion of precedence is critical to understand their relationship with land. Land belongs to a certain group as defined by local histories of ancestral origins or group migrations. Derivative of this notion is the collective ownership by which everyone has right to harness what is produced by land, yet no one owns the land. Legal and administrative systems of modern nation-states, on the other hand, recognize individual ownership upon land. With the advance of development programs, local people are slowly compromising these two conceptions. Every group surely has its own mechanism in going through this process. With case study took place in Huaulu at Seram Island and Takpala at Alor Island, this article aims to understand how local people, especially in Eastern Indonesia, conceive new system in organizing land brought by state’s modernization agenda while keep maintaining their own traditional conception of land belonging. This article argues that while administrative system causes fragmentation over land by dividing it based on individual ownership, exercise of indigenous spatial and cultural practices are maintaining its integrity. Local people’s mobility outward and inward their village preserve their land integrity. It provides a basis for smooth transition in adapting new system of land organization. As for Huaulu, they move outward to hunt or to farm and back inward to fulfil their social and cultural obligations in village meetings and rituals. Whereas for Takpala, their movement back to their village is driven by tourism. Every time they have visitors, they need to live up their village by performing many cultural practices.

Keywords: emplacement; land ownership; mobility; precedence; spatial practices.