The Wisdom of the Indigenous People of Moa Caring for the Forest

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

Large, lush trees cover the mountain peaks of Moa Village, South Kulawi District, Sigi Regency, Central Sulawesi (Central Sulawesi). That is part of the customary forest where human activity is strictly prohibited. The Topo Uma Indigenous Community calls their forest wanangkiki.

Daud Rori, Mayor of the Topo Uma Indigenous Community Customary Institution, said that the wanangkiki forest is prohibited from being cleared for fields or gardens. If opened, he said, according to traditional knowledge it could cause drought.

Long before there was Moa Village, the Topo Uma Community had long run the customary governance system. The existence of traditional institutions originates from the need for living together with the community in the Topo Uma Community. Customary institutions that regulate a series of ordinances in human relations in living life.

The Topo Uma Indigenous Community, one of the indigenous Kulawi tribes or commonly called the Moa Indigenous People, has the same culture as the Uma ethnicity in general.

Philosophically in Kulawi, it is known as hintuwu (which regulates the relationship between humans and humans), katuwuan (regulates the relationship between humans and nature) and petukua (regulates the relationship with the creator).

“Wanangkiki is a form of katuwua,” said Daud, early last July.

Mongabay visited Moa Village through the Estungkara media field vision program from the Partnership. The southernmost village in South Kulawi is located in the mountains with an altitude of 700-1200 meters above sea level and an area of ​​91.60 square km.

The distance is about 24 km from Gimpu, the capital city of South Kulawi District which is the entrance to Moa Village, and 120 km from the center of Palu City.

The mode of transportation to Moa Village is only motorbikes due to its remote geographical location in the hills bordering the Lore Lindu National Park (TNLL).

It takes about three hours from Gimpu on a motorbike with caution and full alertness to follow the trail on the edge of a steep ravine on the outskirts of the TNLL. At the bottom of the ravine stretches the Koro (Lariang) River, the longest river in Sulawesi, which flows swiftly between large boulders.

When we arrived at Moa Village, all the tiredness of the journey paid off. Life is still traditional and the natural scenery is very beautiful, making tiredness disappear instantly.

Plus, this village with a population of 474 people and 114 families is surrounded by forest, making the air very fresh, far from pollution. Moreover, all residents use the energy of a waterwheel power plant that was built independently for lighting at night.

Because the geographical location is quite remote and difficult to access, especially because the surrounding forest area is a national park, infrastructure and public service facilities in Moa Village are minimal, including health and education services.

In addition to limited facilities, medical personnel and educators are also not sufficient to be able to serve the needs of all residents. Elementary school new educational facilities.

Forest governance _

For the Moa Indigenous People, the forest is the lifeblood and source of life for generations. They have a strong emotional and cultural bond with the forest.

About 97% of the Moa indigenous people work as farmers by growing cacao, corn and coffee. There are also field rice, candlenut and secondary crops.

Planting and care systems do not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Daud said, they manage the forest with local wisdom. They divide forests into several levels or categories (zones). Yes, ongaa , for residential or housing areas, public school facilities, houses of worship, sports facilities and others. There are olidaa for paddy fields or rice cultivation, and raising ducks.

There’s ampa , for mixed garden use, a combination of perennials and seasonal crops. Usually, he said, in Pampa food crops such as cassava, sweet potato, vegetables, as well as seasoning-producing plants such as onions, peppers and tomatoes. There are also fruit trees, cocoa, wood, pandanus and plants for craft materials.

” Pampa is a traditional zoning of the Moa Indigenous People, management and utilization authority belongs to women,” said Daud.

The land for Pampa was chosen relatively close to settlements. Pampa is a ‘second kitchen’ for women, where they grow various kinds of plants to meet their family’s food needs .

There ‘s Pocholat . This area is for perennial gardens with the key crop cocoa. There are also pokopias for perennial gardens with coffee as a key crop. Cacao and coffee cultivation, he said, uses an intercropping pattern with mixed fruit crops, various types of wood for household use and wood as raw material for clothing.

There is also Lamara , he said, which is a location for grazing buffalo and cows. Generally the location is in the form of old secondary forest (omatua), but it is possible in primary forest ( ponulu ).

In the vicinity of Lamara , a source of drinking water ( kana ) and a wallowing place for livestock ( potampoa ) must be provided . There is also Bonea , he said, which is a field of rice, corn , vegetables and spices. Every month this field also produces mushrooms that grow wild.

Then zone ilingkia , is a former farm that is less than one year old, the surface of the land is covered with short-lived herbaceous plants, reeds, and a few bushes.

Often, a certain part of the land in lingkia is used to grow seasonal crops such as vegetables, rica (cayenne pepper) and other complementary herbs.

There is also ma Bou , which is a former farm between 1-2 years old. Here, he said, it was dominated by reeds and the surface of the ground began to grow woody plants in the form of bushes, bushes and small saplings.

After 3-10 years, the area is known as ma ete with the land starting to grow many small woody trees (poles), replacing shrubs and shrubs. When it is over 10 years old, the area is called old ma N which has large saplings and starts to form tree strata.

” Oma ou, ma ete , and ma Tua can still be cleared for agricultural lands such as paddy fields but must go through the customary deliberation process moromu ),” said Daud .

There is still more, the Pahawa Pongko zone , which is a former garden forest that has been abandoned for more than 25 years. Pahawa Pongko ,  almost like secondary forest semi primary forest (Peponurua). The trees have grown big.

Daud said, if you cut down trees in this area you have to use a place to set your feet made of wood. The footprint must also be quite high off the ground in order to cut properly.

There is also Ko’olo, a forbidden forest due to ecological considerations such as watersheds, springs, hot springs containing sulfur, a special drinking area for buffaloes, or cliffs that are prone to landslides. Also, historic sites or ancient sites, as well as sacred places that have spiritual and cultural values.

There is also something called Ponulu, which is primary forest, far from settlements or agricultural land. It can be a place to hunt and take rattan, medicinal wood, resin, medicines and other forest products.

According to Daud, at any time Ponulu could switch to agricultural lands. However, he said, it had to go through a customary and ritual deliberation process called motonaa or asking for a sign.

In the motonaa ritual , said Daud, an elder will stick a machete into a tree in the ponulu area. After three days the new machete can be seen again. If the machete that is stuck does not fall to the ground then clearing of fields can be done in that place. If the machete falls to the ground then it is a sign of prohibition or no activity is allowed there.

“For the Indigenous People of Moa to believe that violating the taboo will result in disaster, even what they try in that place does not produce results,” he said.

Furthermore, there is Wana, a large forest area with dense forest cover or also known as jungle forest or wilderness.

This wana is located far from settlements or from agricultural lands and is only used as a place for hunting, taking resin (gaharu), rattan, and medicinal plants on a limited scale. This area is forbidden to open fields because it becomes a buffer for water availability.

Then, wanangkiki, is an upper mountain forest located on a high mountain peak away from human settlements. In this area, he said, trees with hard trunks, stunted size grow. Trunks, branches, tree leaves and the forest floor covered in moss.

Daud said all trees there were strictly forbidden to cut down.

Ownership rights _

Moa Village has abundant natural resources. In managing this wealth, the Moa Indigenous People divide into two categories of ownership rights. There are shared ownership rights (collective rights or communal rights) which in the To Kulawi Uma language are called Huaka to i Moa .

“What includes joint ownership rights are land and all natural resources in customary territories, namely, Wana, Ponulu, Peponurua, rivers and everything contained therein,” said Agustin Mpadjama, a Moa Indigenous Women’s figure.

He said that this joint ownership right could not be traded, leased (contracted) to anyone, especially outside parties who were not the Moa Community.

This joint ownership right is limited to the utilization regulated by the customary institution of Moa Village. He said, all activities in this joint ownership right must have permission from customary institutions.

In this ownership right there is a family or individual ownership right which in uma language is called eponurua . This is forest in the mountains and plains.

According to him, eponurua is a secondary forest which is mixed with primary forest because some of it has been under human activity or has been processed into fields.

He said, for the Moa Community,   eponurua was prepared for gardens and rice fields.

“At this level or category of peponurua it is also used to take wood and rattan as household needs. Some also take forest pandan to make mats, as well as medicines for health care,” he said while saying that some take fragrance, umbut and melinjo leaves for vegetables.

Overall, the area of ​​Moa Village is 91.60 km², the majority of which are included in the Lore Lindu National Park (TNLL) and protected forest.

Besides that, there are secondary forests in areas closer to community settlements. This forest is usually owned or controlled by individuals or families, because it was formed from former clearing of fields (bonea). The secondary forest, he said, for the Topo Uma Indigenous people is referred to as oma .

ma is land or land that is being rested. This term is different from abandoned land, because the rest period is part of the integral shifting cultivation method applied by the Moa people.

For the Moa people, he said, if the land is not rested after harvest, it will cause the soil to become critical. This shifting cultivation method is a farming heritage from the ancestors of the Moa people.

Not surprisingly, he said, the landscape of Moa Village is also filled with empty fields in the form of dry fields. Some are still dominated by weeds, some have been combined with weeds and shrubs.

“This form is called balingkia, which is the initial stage of an oma. Also the transition to forest formation after bonea,” said Tina Ngata or the mother of the village.

In the management of natural resources, the Moa indigenous people make rules of prohibition and sanctions against those who violate the customs.

The documentation of customary law is assisted by the Karsa Institute, an NGO that has been assisting the Moa Community for about a decade.

Rules for natural management are also made formal for the benefit of proposing customary forests to the state.

“It is also not permissible to take or cut wood for commercial purposes. When there are people who want to manage resin and agarwood in the Moa customary forest, they must obtain permission from the adat institution,” said Eliyanus Surabi from the Karsa Institute who is also a Moa adat youth.

Not only that, people are also not allowed to mine gold without permission from traditional institutions, and forbid taking rattan by chopping wood where rattan grows in circles.

Communities are also strictly prohibited from clearing land for cultivation and plantations for coffee, cocoa, vanilla plants in their own way or illegally.

Eliyanus said that logging for any purpose on a slope of 50 degrees and below 50 meters from a watershed (DAS) is also strictly prohibited.

Other prohibitions also apply to taking firewood in large quantities such as party needs without permission from the Moa customary board.

Even taking wood for home remedies cannot cut down wood with a diameter of under 50 cm. The Moa people are also prohibited from selling or transferring land, land, forests, especially Ponorua, to anyone and whatever the basis for their considerations, without permission from the Moa traditional institution.

It is also not permissible to catch rare animals in the forest, such as anoa (lupu), deer (dolodo) or deer (ruha). It is also strictly forbidden to catch rare birds in the forest, such as maleo (molo), Sulawesi hornbill (alo), Sulawesi eagle (lowe), and other birds with snares, mines, firearms, air guns, sharp weapons and poisoned materials.

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