How Can Indonesia’s Indigenous Wisdom Save the Forest?

The indigenous group of Dayak Iban, West Kalimantan, have a commitment to protect the forest as their source of livelihood. In the midst of the climate crisis and for their efforts to manage and protect their forests sustainably, the community was awarded an Equator Prize 2019 together with 22 other local and indigenous communities across

Sari Widiati

Into The Heart of The Ancestral Lands of The Punan

Kapuas Hulu regency covers a large area of 29,842sqm (Bali, for example, is just 5,000sqm) with some of the world’s most abundant biodiversity and oldest rainforest. Photos by David Metcalf/NOWJAKARTA “Batu! Batu!”, the man on the bow yelled as our wooden boat ploughed through the turbulent rapids. He was gesturing frantically to the driver to steer us

Makassar: A Living Maritime Heritage of Island Traders

There is a modern port in Makassar, but the harbour of Paotere is where the Portuguese and Dutch sailing ships moored centuries ago.  Photos courtesy of David Metcalf/NOWJAKARTA Walking towards a long line of tall traditional pinisi boats in the historic Paotere Harbour in Makassar, I caught whiffs of freshly cut timber. I watched strong, sinewy sailors

Into the Wilds – West Kalimantan

Photos by David Metcalf/NOWJAKARTA Sitting on a woven mat, I listened as a Dayak Simpang elder explained, “Our history and our story are told through the old songs.” I was in Ketapang Regency, around four hours from Pontianak, the gateway city to West Kalimantan. I sat captivated as he continued, “We moved a long time

Seram Island – Meeting the Nuaulu Tribe

Seram Island in Maluku Province of Indonesia is steeped in tradition. Deep in its mountains and along its coast, several indigenous tribes still hunt with long wooden spears and adhere to their old ways of life. The largest island in the Maluku archipelago, Seram is known affectionately as the Nusa Ina (Mother Island) and is considered the

Suku Sawang Orang Belitung Island

Belitung Island emerges gracefully out of the Java Sea inviting curiosity and exploration. It does not disappoint. It is unquestionably a place of extraordinary and untouched beauty. The beaches are chalky white, and are touted to be some of the most exquisite in South East Asia. Huge granite boulders rise out of the sea, forming

Venturing Into the Wild at Sebangau National Park

I started my trek in the Sabangau National Park, Central Kalimantan under a veil of darkness.  The earthy smell of the peat bog forest rose sharply to greet me as I held my torch steady so as not to trip and fall into the organic black water swamp that lay on either side. I was

The Wana Wanderers of Sulawesi

There is only one way to meet the Wana tribe. You must walk into their rugged territory. Arrangements should be made in advance because the Wana are wanderers and their territory is vast. They pack up and move when the village council decides the time is right based on agricultural crop cycles. Because of this,

A Perfect Escape: The Ayung Spa and Lunch Experience

Inspired by the goddess of life and fertility, Dewi Sri, the spa at the Ayung Resort embodies all that Bali represents. Drawing on the vitality of the Ayung River below it and the surrounding tropical forest, the Dewi Sri Spa is a secluded escape for those in need of quiet refreshment and rejuvenation. Now, with

Culture, Colour And A Global Gathering At Gawai Festival

I stood with my blowpipe at the ready. “Gather strength from your core and aim high,” Agus advised. “We are excited to have an Australian team enter the competition and best of luck to you”, he added with a broad smile. With all my might I blew from my stomach as instructed and hit the

Sacred Swings and Ancient Ways at Usaba Sambah Ceremony

Karangasem Regency in East Bali is an area of intense beauty dominated by Bali’s highest and most sacred volcano. Mt Agung’s 3,142-metre peak, and its dramatic foothills and valleys shaped by centuries of lava flows, combine to create a landscape unrivalled anywhere in Bali. The great mother temple of Besakih sits perched against this wondrous

A Journey Into the Heart of Ma’Anyan Country

“We believe that the human body is inhabited by a life giving spirit. We call this an amirue. When a person dies, his or her spirit becomes an adiau, just for the time of its journey to the place where the amirue resides. During the nine days of the Ijame ceremony we help the adiau

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