Help The Salakirat Clan to build a new Long House

Support the construction of a traditional house and contribute to preserve the culture of the indigenous inhabitants of the Mentawai islands

Project visual Help The Salakirat Clan to build a new Long House
Successful
26
Backers
05/08/2019
End date
€1,525
Out of €1,500
102 %

Help The Salakirat Clan to build a new Long House

Context

The Mentawaian are an ethnic group living in the equatorial forest of the Mentawai Islands, a small archipelago located off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Descendants of the first migration wave from Taiwan, they have lived in relative isolation for hundreds of years, developing a unique and singular culture, based on an animistic world view.

The successive arrival of Dutch and Japanese colonizers followed (after Indonesia's independance) by indonesian officials from the minstry of social affairs, have contributed to the progressive erosion of Mentawaian culture. Forced conversion, resettlement politics,prohibition of traditional religion and rituals, persecution of local shamans and the ban of cultural display and expression such as tattoo have all contributed to the decline of   Mentawaian traditions

Today, only a handful of clans are struggling to preserve their culture in the face of contemporary change and the onslaught of missionaries on all sides.

Aim of the project

Traditionally, members of a same family live together in a long house locally known as Uma. The Uma is the place where members of a same clan gather during ritual and shamanic activities. For this reason, it is considered a pillar of the identity of the Mentawai people. The Uma is where the Bakat Katsaila can be found, a kind of altar that guarantees good health and prosperity for the clan and is at the center of all rituals.

Today, there are only a few Uma left on the island and most of the Mentawaians have been relocated in vilages where the clans have split and people live in individual houses.

Help the Salakirat clan to build a new Uma and preserve their culture. Victims of an epidemic that has decimated their pigs, they need about 1500 euros to reconstitute a new livestock that will be used to pay people who will help them build their new house and organize the many animistic rituals that punctuate the construction


A smaller version of a traditional Uma


The current Uma of the Salakirat Clan

 

Meet the Salakirat

The Salakirat clan is one of the clans who has refused the modernization programs put in place by the Indonesian government. For several decades, they have tried to preserve their way of life and pass it on to new generations.


Aman Manja, the head of the clan


His wife, Bai Manja


And his sisters, Kakui...


...and Lili


Aman Sasali, the younger brother


And his wife, Bai Sasali,with two of their children, Reren and Marianti


Teteu, the mother, with her grand son, Lamat


Aman Manja performing an animistic ritual


People coming together to pull some new canoes through the forest

The Project Holder

As a former anthropologist, I lived for one year (2007-2008) in a Uma, alongside members of the Salakirat clan before, before quitting academia and devoting myself to permaculture and organic farming.

During a recent stay in Siberut, my adoptive family asked me to help them build a new Uma, theirs being in a state of disrepair. As I do not have the financial means to cover the costs incurred on my own, I appeal to your generosity to help me complete this project.

 

 

Allocation of funds

The money collected will be used to buy around 15 pigs (about 60 euros per pig), building material (nails, chainsaw rental, petrol) as well as chickens, sugar, tea, coffee and cigarettes, which will all be used as a counterparts for those who will help build the Uma (Total cost for the construction, as estimated by the Salakirat clan, is of 25.000.000 rph or about 1.500 euros).

Indeed, the construction of a Uma is a long process that requires the help of many people. Additional labor is required to get the timber in the jungle, cut it down and carry it on muddy and steep slopes, collect the materials that will be used to make the hundreds of palm-leaf panels used for the roof, to prepare the building site etc ... all with rudimentary tools.

People called to help should be fed in return and will return with bamboos filled with pork meat for their families.

The Salakirat clan having lost all their pigs during an epidemic, they need your help to reconstitute their livestock as well as to buy all necessary items that will allow them to carry out their project. In case donations exceed the target, remaining funds will be integrally donated to the Indigenous Education Foundation (https://www.iefprograms.org) to help them conduct their projects in Siberut.

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